The Youth Cartel

Freebies for registering early – The Summit

This week we opened registration for The Summit. This is our brand new, TED-like, national youth ministry event. [Here’s the announcement]

And, as excited as I am about The Summit, this post isn’t really about the event itself so much as it’s about the type of ministry organization we want to be.

Here is a phrase from the announcement:

We have lots of freebies to reward you for registering early. Why? Because we think early adopters should get the most rewarded. (Duh!)

You might not know this but that is an upside down methodology within the marketing world. For instance, I get regular emails from Southwest Airlines offering me great deals from San Diego to the places I visit most often. But why is Southwest offering me those special prices? Because the market isn’t buying them at their regular fare price, so they’ve discounted them to try to entice me to buy low. And it works! I’ve actually booked trips I wouldn’t have booked simply because the flight cost was so low!

But, for me at least, I would like to think about The Youth Cartel as the type of organization who rewards our most loyal folks with the best possible deal. We’ve done it in some small ways by offering pre-order specials on books and curriculum and gotten a great response.

For The Summit — we’ve ramped that WAY UP to make it so that the people who register first get the absolutely best deal on price & rewards. Our early bird price is valid all the way through August but if you register in May you’re going to get all sorts of stuff for free that people who register in September won’t get. (Or will have to pay for.)

  • An invite to our private Friday night after party
  • A vote for who gets to speak in the soapbox session
  • Video downloads of every session
  • One registration to a pre-event session
  • Entered in a raffle to win things like… free lodging, car rental, and other fun stuff we’ll dream up.
  • MP3 downloads of every session
And then, as we get closer to the event these rewards start to go away. So folks who register now get the best possible deal and those who wait get a little less.

So that’s my theory. What do you think? Is it a crazy theory? Do you think it’s better to go the traditional way and discount stuff when it doesn’t sell?

And… are you planning to attend The Summit? We’re hearing from youth workers all over who are planning to come, which is rad! Are you registered yet? If not, what are you waiting for?


William Shakespeare on Marketing


Kid’s Attention Valued at $1.12 Trillion Annually

My kids can tell me about all the latest Disney movies. And they can rattle off the specs of just about every toy that they want. Worse yet? They are armed with lines that tell me all about why buying that toy is good for them and the deal they will get if they buy it online by a specific date.

The culprit? Savvy marketers are hitting them where I’m not looking. Sites that I’ve deemed safe for them to play on are now rewarding them for watching well-placed ads. My own kids are earning Webkinz bucks by watching trailers for movies. It’s not just Webkinz, it’s all of them.

On the table? Getting kids to influence their parents spending habits.

$1.12 trillion. That’s the amount that kids influenced last year in overall family spending, says James McNeal, a kid marketing consultant and author of Kids as Consumers: A Handbook of Marketing to Children. “Up to age 16, kids are determining most expenditures in the household,” he says. “This is very attractive to marketers.” 

Marketing to Kids Gets More Savvy with Technology, USA Today, August 15th 2011. – Read the rest

What does this have to do with youth ministry? Absolutely everything. I’m not saying you need to market your ministry to your students. But I am saying that you need to know that there are others out there marketing to your students in ways that are more savvy and more influential than your flyer and stage announcement.

Your retreat, your camp, your mission trip… things like that are competing for the same $1.12 trillion. Sad. But true.

Tip for Webkinz parents: Go into your kids account and turn off third-party ads.

Question: Should the government regulate advertising to children?