Provident Films - https://www.providentfilms.org/
Church Communications Facebook Group - https://www.facebook.com/groups/churchcomm/?ref=share
Well, hey, welcome back to another episode of the Church Marketing Podcast. I'm your host Matt Lombardi, and today I am joined by the one and only Kate Akers. Kate, how you doing?
I am. Well, how about you, Matt?
I'm doing really, really well. Excited to pick your brain a little bit today. So you are currently part of the marketing team. I'll let you give the official title at Provident Films, which is a subsidiary of Sony, which is faith-based films. Right? But previously you were the marketing director at Brentwood Baptist Church. A lot of folks may know out there just outside of Nashville, Tennessee. So tell us a little bit about what you're doing now and kind of what, what that role looks like.
Yeah, I oversee the marketing for Provident Films and that varies by project. Our most recent release was family camp, and so I helped to shepherd the marketing efforts of that film through its various windows from theatrical all the way to, to church licensing. So, we do help churches host movie events and we know that's a great outreach ministry for churches and we wanna help them do that.
Love it. Love it. Well, we will, without further ado, dive right into the questions today. So because of your background in obviously marketing at a huge level for some of these films, you've got tons of experience to draw on there, but then also the church experience. So first question for you, what's the best marketing hack you've seen in your time serving churches or faith organizations in general? It could be a tool, could be a system or a process. It could be a specific campaign you ran. What's the best hack you've seen?
Yeah, I, thinking back to my time at Brentwood, it definitely was developing the calendar and plans for each event and leaning into those and then iterating those plans, making sure that you look at what worked well this year, take notes immediately following those events. So that you're not, you know, getting to Christmas next year and thinking, Oh wait, what was it that I meant to do this year? Yeah, making sure you keep robust notes and are keeping plans. Kind of revisiting those plans so that you know what worked and improve on them year after year. Really the best tool is developing and honing your systems. And that always is something that you should be working on.
So, just going into the weeds a little bit with you. When you all were, say it was, let's just use Christmas for an example. So you had a great successful Christmas or maybe not so great successful Christmas, and you're looking at that retrospective, are you as a leader hopping in like, Hey, December 26th, let's go guys, Are you waiting a few days? What, what was that kinda cadence like for you?
Yeah. So we would plan months in advance. And that's the other thing, you have to be very proactive, right? You know what's coming ahead, right? You know when Easter's going to be, You see that calendar, you make sure you are moving months in advance and speaking with your ministry leaders. To kind of trigger them even, what are you going to do this year?
They, you know, ministers are busy. They have a lot on their plate. They're tending to the flock. They aren't necessarily thinking about marketing the next thing. They might not even be thinking about the next thing. So you can help them plan, but advanced planning and advance making sure that you're ahead of the game as far as time is concerned is of utmost importance.
I love it. Any advice for someone who maybe there are comms or marketing director right now for a church and they're saying, Listen Kate, I get it. I know we need to be months ahead, but you don't understand. There is a dumpster on fire in my office right now that I am trying to figure out how to put out. I don't have time for planning in advance. Any like really tactical first steps that they could take? Like are there tiny things that they can do to get started, to start getting ahead even a little?
Yes, I would say that the tyranny of the urgent needs to not be the where you're operating from most of the time. A lot of those things that feel like they're urgent really aren't. Make sure you're looking at what is really giving you the return and your energy. Some things you could just not tend to. They're not that important. And so see what's really moving the needle for you and if it's not doing anything, stop doing it. Even if somebody is in leadership is saying this, I've got to get this done, have the courage to say why? Ask why. Ask them where are they seeing the return? Because maybe there is a return that you're not seeing, but maybe they're just not aware that that is a sacred cow that they just need to let go.
Yeah. I love it. I love it. Okay. Question number two. What book, podcast, resource, website, whatever it may be, would you recommend to every church marketing, comms or creative leader? Is there one that you just fell in love with that you said, Hey, I give this to. The communications world is changing so quickly.
You know, you kind of have to stay on top of it and stay connected to groups. So I would definitely recommend the church communications Facebook group. Oh yeah. And I also have to give props to my dear friend Katie Allred. We serve together at Brentwood. Her book, Church Communications Methods and Marketing. I definitely would recommend it. It's a recent release, so I highly recommend everyone to purchase that, but then also to join that Facebook group. It's a great community. You ask for another tip on, you know, what, how to get ahead, lean into the network. There is no other industry, and I'll say that it's the church is, is kind of an industry. We should we support one another. Yeah. And so lean into that, that community. And don't be afraid to ask questions. And that group certainly serves that purpose. I love it. Shout out to Katie and Kenny. Love those folks. They're awesome. Katie's new book.
I actually have it on Amazon order right now, so it should be in the next few days. I'm excited to read it. I've heard it's great. Okay, last question. What advice would you give your early career self, Maybe 21 years old. That's what we have kind of written down for the question, but early in your career, what advice would you give yourself? If you could go back now, time machine it, Doc Brown it, go back and say, Hey, make sure you do this. What advice would you give yourself?
Yeah, it’s kind of a follow on to that, lean into asking questions of the Facebook group, but make sure that you're nurturing your network. The people that, that you know, will be important to you over the years. So make sure that you're serving them well and that you are not neglecting those relationships. Networking is important and really it's not networking, it's relationships. Just have lots of relationships. God built us for a community and lean into community.
I love it. I love it. Well, Kate, let folks know where they can connect with you. Is it LinkedIn, is it Instagram? Is it TikTok? Like where can they find you? Where they connect with you if they wanna, you know, further their network or just have conversations, ask questions, get feedback. Where would be the best place to connect with?
LinkedIn or Instagram are great places to connect with me. It's Kate Akers, so pretty simple to find me, and I'm with Providence Films, so if you add that to the search, you definitely will find me.
Awesome. Ladies and gentlemen, Kate Acres, thanks so much for the time.