Oh man! This should not be a secret, but unfortunately it is! In the last 5 years of having worked with and consulting Catholic groups on marketing, we have a learned a thing or two, but perhaps THE single biggest insight we’ve gained is what we call the “90/10 Rule”.
Before we explain the 90/10 rule, let me ask you a question… what do you think the largest group of religious people in the country is?
You may (or may not) be surprised to know that it is Catholics who identify as Catholics, but who do NOT attend Church nor have an encounter/discipleship with Jesus. This is a staggering and crushing realization… but also a huge opportunity for evangelization.
To put it in simple terms, this is like finding an enormous group of people market who identify as bike riders, but don’t ride their bikes. But you never forget how to ride a bike, and you certainly can’t remove the indelible marks of Baptism. They haven’t forgotten they are who they are, but faith just isn’t an everyday priority.
Any secular brands would pay millions to have a market prepped for them where this is the case. Purely in business terms, THIS IS HUGE!
So what is the “90/10 Rule” and why does it apply to Catholic marketers? It is when groups only “preach to the choir” or the 10% of active Catholics and miss out on reaching the far greater 90% of Catholics.
This is the #1 reason that ministries have plateaued in growth in our experience. They were communicating with the 10% (choir) only. They are answering questions that most people aren’t asking. The words they chose, the messages, and the way it was communicated was for Catholics who by in large had an encounter/discipleship with Christ. They were doing a great job at retaining the “choir”, but had not developed ways to stir a longing for Christ in the 90%.
So what are the 90% looking for? What do they need to “stir a longing” for Christ? It’s relatively obvious… just look at the culture!
- We know families are fractured and want answers.
- We know pornography represents about 60% of traffic on the internet
- We know a lot of women suffer from abortion related trauma.
- We know people suffer from loneliness and alienation
- We know people feel fundamentally unfulfilled by what the secular world can offer them
These people are the 90%. These are the the great uncultivated vineyards that Catholic ministries must begin to tend if we are to truly be “workers in the Lord’s vineyards”. The harvest is plentiful, and the laborers are few, but applying careful thought and wiser strategy to your marketing plan, you can grow your ministry and reach the 90%.