Christian Retailing

Aim at a small target Print Email
Written by Dr. Steve Greene   
Wednesday, 21 March 2018 09:38 AM America/New_York

Dr Greene webStore owners often ask, “What media work best for attracting customers to my store?”

This seems like a good question. It may be good, but it is the wrong question to ask.

Retailers must think of their stores as a product or service. What need does the product fill in the target market? And who needs the product?

So the first question a store owner must ask, ask and continue to ask is “Who is my customer?” Here are a few corollary questions:

How would I describe my regulars?

How are they different from people who buy from competitors?

In what ways are my customers alike?

Why do customers return to my store?

The answers to these questions form the essence of annual marketing plans. The questions point the way to finding our ideal customers. We must determine which products are in demand in your market.

A loyal customer base is rarely achieved by accident. We attract customers by design. This is the essence of a target market. A target market is not a random group of people who visit your store.

A target market is not a mass market. We cannot profitably operate a store that offers everything for everyone. Specialists do better than generalists. Bigger is not better. Better is better.

Your store improves as we better understand the needs of a well-defined target market. There is a common denominator among your best customers. Keep searching for it as your store grows.

It is much more productive to develop a quality advertising campaign for a smaller, well-defined target audience than a broad one. Marketing is more affordable. Your budget becomes more effective. Your best brand evangelists emerge from small circles.

You must also take care that your store doesn’t become a commodity store. I’ve seen way too many neon-lit “Book Store” signs. Surely, our industry can do better.

Chicken is a commodity. We know from research that shoppers list “chicken” on their grocery list, but not a brand. Chicken is chicken. There is no perceived difference between one chicken and another. There is no brand awareness, brand loyalty or brand insistence.

Your store needs customer awareness, loyalty and insistence.

Amazon took a significant share from the book market because stores allowed themselves to make the trip to Commodity City. A bookstore became a place to buy books. “Come one, come all.”

At the exact moment in retail history when we needed a revolution bolstered by different and compelling operations, many stores dug in their heels and denied the existence of a monster in the deep. The monster is real—and feeds on chicken.

The manner in which you address a customer’s felt need is your point of differentiation. Your operations and marketing message separate you from a pack of commodity options.

What is it you do best? How do you help people meet their needs? Do you have certain solutions that are better for specific groups?

Do you communicate your points of difference or your aging inventory? Tell your target market what you do best.

Select your ideal target market from several possible segments. Think about your best customers and consider this list of possible points of store segmentation:

What is their lifestyle—what do they do on weekends?

Where are your customers located in your geographical area? Are you affected by drive patterns and egress issues? (If these issues are difficult for your customers, and they still get to you, it’s a good sign your store is meeting needs.)

What is the cost to reach various market segments?

Do your customers respond to benefits offered? What benefit seems to matter most?

Notice I don’t recommend targeting on the basis of demographics. We need predictors rather than descriptors.

From your segmentation analysis, select one target segment. What group of similar customers can you reach and generate the most profit? This is much different than selecting the largest population size.

Focus your marketing efforts on a homogenous customer base. Spend less money in an attempt to reach a broader market.

Deliver a targeted experience. Some experiences cannot be delivered online.

‘God and Donald Trump’ explores spiritual aspects of his miracle victory Print Email
Written by Christine D. Johnson   
Tuesday, 18 July 2017 01:56 PM America/New_York

GodAndDonaldTrump-webDonald Trump is six months into the U.S. presidency, and opinions about his job thus far certainly fall all along the spectrum of approval or disapproval. One fact that can’t be overlooked is that President Trump has embraced the guidance of Christians who helped elect him.

A new book from Charisma Media CEO Stephen E. Strang, who strongly backed Trump in the election, will consider how the president’s faith has perhaps grown and strengthened in office. God and Donald Trump (FrontLine/Charisma House), to be released Nov. 7, seeks to help readers understand who Trump is, what he really believes, where his vision for America will lead the country and where God is in all of this.

“With pundits asking, ‘How did he win?’ my new book explores whether there was a supernatural element involved,” Strang said. “Christian leaders prophesied before the election that God had raised up Trump to lead the nation through a time of crisis. But could this billionaire reality-TV star actually convince the voters he was for real? And if so, what is God doing, now not only in Donald’s Trump’s life, but also in the nation?”

Trump is an enigma—a brash self-promoter, casino owner and man of the world. Yet he is also a devoted husband and father who has surrounded himself with men and women of faith and has made religion a key component of his image. Strang’s God and Donald Trump will explore:

● How family and childhood influences shaped Trump’s character and worldview
● How openness to evangelical leaders helped build his commitment to religious liberty
● How his election as president was predicted years before by charismatic prophets
● How he captured the largest evangelical vote in history and won the Electoral College
● What he really believes and how those beliefs helped shape his campaign promises

God and Donald Trump is a powerful first-person account of one of the most contentious elections in American history, with exclusive interviews and insightful commentary from the men and women who were there.

After interviewing Trump, Strang, an award-winning journalist, founder of Charisma magazine and successful businessman, was involved with other Christian leaders who campaigned for Trump’s election. Strang also attended the 2017 election-night victory party in New York because he believed the prophetic ministers who said Trump would win.

Marketing executive Lucy Diaz Kurz rejoins Charisma House Print Email
Written by Althea Thompson   
Tuesday, 18 July 2017 11:48 AM America/New_York

LucyDiazKurzLucy Diaz Kurz has rejoined the Charisma House book group after a seven-year interval.

Kurz relaunches her career at the publishing house as vice president of marketing, a title she held from August 2004 to September 2010. In this role, she will oversee strategic marketing efforts for all book imprints, including Charisma House, FrontLine, Siloam and Passio.

As the most industry-awarded Hispanic woman in the Christian bookseller market with many gold, platinum and New York Times best-seller distinctions, Kurz has represented hundreds of artists and authors and thousands of products.

“We couldn’t find a better fit for this role than Lucy,” said Marcos Perez, publisher and executive vice president of Charisma House. “Her industry experience and marketing expertise will help to transform and restrategize our book marketing efforts.”

Kurz’s widespread years of professional experience include successful roles as senior vice president of business development/consulting for Synergy Crosslinx Holding LLC, president of development at Gospo Centric and B-Rite Music, president at Lucy Diaz Kurz Consulting, vice president of marketing and corporate officer and vice president of special projects for Integrity Inc.

“With an impressive track record in the industry such as Lucy’s, we expect great things to come,” said Steve Strang, founder and CEO of Charisma Media. “Most importantly, she brings biblical knowledge to the role, which is paramount to achieving our mission as a company.”

With her successful completion of studies in two global networks providing qualification to teach in more than 1,300 international Bible schools worldwide through Rhema Bible Training Center and DOMATA School of Ministry, Kurz brings a wealth of biblical expertise to Charisma House, which is the publisher of the Modern English Version Bible translation.

Charisma House has published 13 New York Times best-sellers, including The Harbinger, The Mystery of the Shemitah and The Book of Mysteries by Jonathan Cahn; Fasting by Jentezen Franklin; 23 Minutes in Hell by Bill Wiese; and The Seven Pillars of Health by Don Colbert, M.D.

Logos Bookstores announces 2017 award winners Print Email
Written by Taylor Berglund   
Friday, 30 June 2017 12:03 PM America/New_York

present-over-perfectThe Association of Logos Bookstores announced this year’s Books, Author and Representatives of the Year. The awards, presented at Unite 2017 in Cincinnati, Ohio, honor outstanding work in the Christian publishing and retailing fields.

Each spring, members of the Association of Logos Bookstores nominate and then select Books of the Year winners in seven different categories, as well as an Author of the Year whose body of work exemplifies the power of books to change lives forever. Finally, Christian retail store managers nominate 22 outstanding field and inside representatives, who are honored for their service to the stores.

Executive director Becky Gorczyca was proud to honor 2017’s winners.

"We consider it a privilege each year to acknowledge, encourage and thank these other participants in our shared mission in Christian retailing," Gorczyca said.

Anne Graham Lotz received the award for Author of the Year. The seven Books of the Year were James K. Smith’s You Are What You Love (Brazos Press/Baker Publishing House) for Theology, Doctrine and Reference; Sharon Garlough Brown’s Barefoot (InterVarsity Press) for Fiction; Ann Voskamp’s The Broken Way (Zondervan) for Spirituality and Devotion; Priscilla Shirer and Gina Detwiler’s The Prince Warriors (LifeWay) for Youth; Shauna Niequist’s Present Over Perfect (Zondervan) for Christian Living; George McDonald and Ruth Sanderson’s The Golden Key (Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.) for Children’s Picture Books; and Makato Fujimure’s Silence and Beauty (InterVarsity Press) for Christianity/Culture.

The 17 representatives honored for their work were Gary Sipes (B&H), Connie Hall (Crossway), Steven Bartch (David C Cook), Robert Splinter (Group Publishing), Dean Cook (HarperCollins), Regina Hughes (HarperCollins), Gary Comeforo (HarperCollins), Jeff Miller (HarperCollins), Jerry Gortmaker (Noble Marketing), Lane Davis (Noble), Ryan Garrett (Noble), Ted Terry (Noble), Harley Rollins (Rollins Pilot), Trevor Rollins (Rollins Pilot), Mary Lou Alexander (Spring Arbor), Dave Salzmann (Tyndale) and Troy Baker (Tyndale).

Exhibitors mostly positive about quieter Unite 2017 Print Email
Written by Christine D. Johnson   
Friday, 30 June 2017 10:34 AM America/New_York

Unite2017-showfloorCBA's Unite 2017 in Cincinnati had an intentionally smaller footprint but saved money for the Christian retail association. The exhibitors seemed mostly pleased, although they acknowledged there were fewer retailers who attended. The international booths were also set up in a separate exhibit area, which led to some complaints, but the international business was generally good, according to exhibitors.

Dicksons’ Stephanie Flinn, vice president of product development, brought to their booth gifts appropriate for the season that retailers would be buying now. With a smaller show floor this year, exhibitors reduced their booth space.

Flinn also noted that she had some “great conversations” with internationals, which is a major focus of the show.

Craig Cable of Group Publishing also said his company had “lots of great discussions and meetings” at Unite.

Brian Adkins, founder and CEO of Scripture Candy, had a good order-writing show.

“We were also exposed here to the Empowered Life group that bought 15 stores [from Family Christian Stores]. … That within itself makes the show," Adkins said.

Sister Antonia Cleverly connected with customers at the booth for Paraclete Press, which hasn’t been at CBA’s show for more than 10 years. The publisher returned this year, she said, because of its selection of titles appropriate to the evangelical market. Paraclete is also strengthening its publishing on the ecumenical side.
“We’re trying to talk with other distributors and also we had some rights appointments, so it’s a good opportunity for us to do some other connections, not just bookstores,” Sr. Antonia said.

“I would say we had moderate expectations, and they were met,” she added.

Designer Mindy Kinnier, who owns gift company Rooted Ink with her two sisters, is exhibiting at Unite for the first time. The young company is new to Christian retail, but has an inventory that should appeal to Christian stores. Rooted Ink focuses on prayer journals, including some for children and youth, and also sells sermon notebooks and Scripture prints.

“We had a few Christian bookstores contact us just through our website, so we thought we’d come and get some exposure here,” said Kinnier, whose parents owned a Christian bookstore in Orange County, California, for 28 years.

Karen Ganovsky, founder and owner of Neckglasses/NeckBlessings, had a positive outlook on Unite 2017 and is looking forward to the convention in Nashville, where it will be for the next two years.

“The response has been fabulous and positively uplifting,” Ganovsky said. “We placed more orders than anticipated and have met so many warm and welcoming people. We are very happy we chose to exhibit at Unite 2017.”