Monday, May 01, 2006

Living in a marketing world

Lately I've been meditating on Jesus of Nazareth's manifesto, aka the sermon on the mount. This morning a phrase caught my attention: "Where your treasure is, there your heart is also."

Where is my treasure?

Like most folks in the USA I live in a marketing world, a world that treasures things, experiences, security. etc. Looking around the room where I write this I can see well over 100 things that were made and marketed (lots of books).

At the moment I don't see what I treasure most--God and his people.

Yesterday after Plow Creek worship and our common lunch three little girls, Kora Behrens, Margret Moore, and Isa Newhouse climbed on me and my wheelchair and took a ride. I treasure the children of Plow Creek.

Lately I have been meeting with Bethany Davis, a young mother of three who moved to Plow Creek from Hawaii last August after her husband died. A stay-at-home Mom with a high school education, she is exploring where she fits in the world of work. I encouraged her to attend Evergreen Leaders recent workshop--The Listening Path--that helps people identify their talents.

During the Listening Path I ask particpants identify seven things there brain loves to do--recurring patterns of thought, feeling or behavior.

After the workshop I asked Bethany about her list of seven things her brain loves to do. Two themes emerged. Her brain loves facts and ideas and her brain loves to meet new people and to have new experiences. After we had talked a few minutes I asked her, "Have you ever considered doing marketing?" She was appalled at the idea. She saw marketing as equivalent to high pressure sales.

To give her a broader picture I gave her a couple of other examples of marketing. Kevin Behrens, a shy guy and the opposite of a high pressure, fast-talking salse person, does a great job of marketing Plow Creek Farm produce.

Kevin does everything from writing and producing the farm newsletter, taking photos, managing the farm website and during the growing season, he does the daily phone message updates. In the last couple years he has created a great relationship with Natural Direct, a new home delivery produce distributor in the western Chicago suburbs, making it possible for folks in the western suburbs to enjoy locally grown Plow Creek produce. He also creates the signs and the layout for our local self-service produce market.

Then I described to Bethany all the marketing I do for Evergreen Leaders, a nonprofit company I head that does leadership workshops and consulting to help nonprofits thrive in towns under 10,000.

As Bethany and I talked about the marketing I do for EGL Bethany kept coming up with ways to improve EGL's marketing.

"Bethany, you have a marketing brain," I said.

Last week Bethany committed to starting as a vounteer marketer for EGL. I've committed to spend time with her each week supplementing her raw talent for marketing with knowledge about how to market EGL. Also, she is going to take marketing classes at the local community college.

I treasure giving Bethany the opportunity to develop her marketing talent. One of the places I love to put my treasure is in helping people develop the talents God knit into them starting in the womb.