Promo Close-Up - The Great Date Experience

A distributor reaps the benefits of community service.

Sonya Beam has been attending the North Point Community Church in Alpharetta, GA, for 10 years, serving her congregation on many levels. At first, she didn’t see her involvement as a business opportunity, but her desire to increase her service opened up new possibilities. “It wasn’t until I started volunteering eight years ago that I connected with church staff,” says Beam, owner of The P.O.P. Shop, a Geiger company (asi/202900).

“When we suggested the flyer with an insert, it was a great jumping-off point for the rest of the creative content."

Sonya Beam, The P.O.P. Shop

A few years back, North Point’s MarriedLife ministry began a program called the Great Date Experience, a project that encourages spouses to preserve date night. Beam was more than happy to help promote the ministry’s events, pitching promotional ideas to create interest. “We’ve worked on the date projects since 2009,” she says. “The church comes to us with a date theme and then we present products that might be a good fit, keeping in mind their budget.”

In one recent collaboration with MarriedLife, The POP Shop developed a red flying disc decorated with the Great Date Experience logo in white. The flip side of the item contained a pop-out paper insert that featured two date night ideas: a perfect summer day and a hot summer night. “When we suggested the flyer with an insert, it was a great jumping-off point for the rest of the creative content,” she says. “We handled the merchandise, graphic design and fulfillment, and the client provided all of the date-night content. We even put together an iTunes playlist for the date night and worked it into the artwork as an added fun element.”

The promotion was more than just a simple giveaway – it took coordinated effort. North Point has five campuses and 30,000 members, and was looking to target about 4,000 to 5,000 married couples for its Great Date program. Church members received the unique flyers as handouts on Sunday mornings throughout the month of August, building excitement each week.

Chris Lambrecht, president of consultancy Intelligent Marketing Solutions, found the promotion to be creative, entertaining and a good choice for the ministry. “Having fun to develop awareness is always a good strategy,” he says. “It was novel enough to get both primary and secondary target audiences engaged. If a couple was in attendance, it would have been difficult not be aware that something different was going on.”

The Summer Date flyers were so different that they even captured the attention of kids who picked them up. They told organizers they would make sure that their parents went out for the event and had fun. That extra participation, North Point believes, increased the Great Date audience by 1,000. North Point spent nearly $10,000 on the promotion, but it was well worth it, as the event became the most popular date experience in three years.

Lambrecht sees even more growth potential in the future for the project. Using a few metrics tools, like surveys, could drive the Great Date Experience to hit new heights, he believes. “Another method of measurement would be to develop a special URL for this promotion and then determine how many people visited that website,” Lambrecht says.

For distributors looking to get involved in church or nonprofit business, Beam recommends becoming a long-term volunteer in an area of interest. “You will learn so much about the organization, which will lead to you serving them better as a volunteer and as a vendor if the opportunity arises,” she says.