Long-term or Short-term: Pick one
Terms that were not very much used in the Jewish community just a few short years ago, let alone in the field of Jewish education.
So what happened?
Well, the reality is that people are not flocking in droves to ‘join’ synagogues, or sign up/pay for Jewish education experiences.
David Bryfman, Director of the New Center for Collaborative Leadership, gave a talk about the downside of offering “free” in the Jewish marketplace.
“Free” is a great short-term sales pitch, but tends to devalue what you’re trying to ultimately sell.
And what we’re selling is hard enough.
“If you are selling tomorrow, be very careful not to pitch people who are only interested in buying things that are about today. It’s virtually impossible to sell financial planning or safety or the long-term impacts of the environment to a consumer or a voter who is relentlessly focused on what might be fun right now.”
What we’re selling to Jewish teens and their parents, is about the future. Yes, some of our programming is about now, but most of what we do in the way of Jewish identity-building, leadership development, critical thinking, college readiness…is about later.
So, his point here is what we must take to heart:
“Before a marketer or organization can sell something that works in the future, she must sell the market on the very notion that the future matters (bold typeface mine). The cultural schism is deep, and it’s not clear that simple marketing techniques are going to do much to change it.”
How do we navigate through this, and market effectively to Jewish parents or teenagers?
Will scare tactics work? Perhaps. But only if the resulting long-term effect matters.
Any ideas for how to sell tomorrow today?