Decoding the New Consumer Mind
While the focus on this book is on shopping and marketing, the world it describes and the changes it talks about affect churches every day. We live in a new world, and the changes I’ve seen during my lifetime alone have been huge. But in thinking about change, we sometimes miss a key point: It isn’t just that technology has changed but that using technology has changed us.
There were several things I made note of that apply to the church, or can be applied by the church. Yarrow says, “It’s a paradox of our age that, although we have more “friends” than ever, we increasingly feel unheard, unseen, disconnected, or alone.” To me, this implies that the church that can build a real community and incorporate people quickly into it has a tremendous opportunity. People are longing for what that church offers.
Yarrow also points out that “Today’s consumers want to feel more in control; they want to feel seen and valued for more than their money; they’re looking for brands and retailers that facilitate a sense of connection with others; and they want shopping to be easier and more enjoyable.” Each of those things has significant implications for church life.
The desire and expectation for more control implies that people will want to join the leadership more quickly than in previous years. This will be a challenge because releasing people too quickly can be disastrous; however, if you make them wait too long, you also risk losing them. Effective leadership is a skill that leaders need to learn.
The desire for shopping to be easier and more enjoyable also carries over into what people expect of churches. While I don’t think we should pander to people’s desires, we can’t ignore their expectations, either. Many of us will need to simplify what we do—maybe even by doing less—and focus on doing it well.
So what are your takeaways? How do you think the new consumer mind will affect what you do?