Gimmicks Gone Wild

On April 17, 2012

Gimmicks Gone Wild

I am watching leaders try to increase attendance, sales, marketing results and everything else through gimmicks.  I can talk about gimmicky people because I’m a recovering gimmic-aholic.

What is a gimmick? 

Wikipedia says: a gimmick is a unique or quirky special feature that makes something “stand out” from its contemporaries. However, the special feature is typically thought to be of little relevance or use. Thus, a gimmick is a special feature for the sake of having a special feature.

When I worked on staff at a church we tried to do gimmicks to get people to show up for church.

When I first started my company, I wanted to launch large so I used marketing gimmicks.

Here is what I didn’t realize…

Gimmicks will get you KNOWN & gimmicks will get you GONE! 

The problem with using gimmicks for growth is that you will grow the crowd & lose your core.  Your current core members or customers aren’t impressed by doing shocking stuff to get more people to show up or sign up.


Very few people would say, “YES. Our strategy for growth is gimmick based.”

Gimmick based leaders are blind to the fact that they are gimmicky.  When I lead through gimmicks, I would have said stuff like, “We will do anything to reach more people”.  People were saying, “Casey, this is gimmicky.” And I would say, “No, it’s not… this will work and help create growth”.

If you have to use disclaimers or defend yourself about being gimmicky, you are a gimmick based leader.

A Few Facts About Gimmicks

1. Gimmicks beget gimmicks 

If you are a gimmick based leader you will keep having to one-up your last gimmick and you will end up being perceived as desperate for growth.  This will ultimately undermined your credibility with your core.  The “Jerry Springer Show” is a perfect example of gimmick based leadership.  When it started, it wasn’t crazy at all.  To create ratings, Jerry Springer pushed the envelope and created a circus on television.

Are you becoming like Jerry Springer in your church or business?

2. Gimmicks cost you

Whatever you gain in growth you lose in credibility.  The next time you want to use a gimmick to make a point or create growth, count the cost.  The best way to grow is to have REALLY excited core of people that are sharing your message with others.

3. Gimmicks work. Be careful

The problem with gimmicks is that they work.  Don’t let the short term success of more sales or attendance lure you into believing that method is a healthy way to grow.

I believe gimmicks have gone wild in church & in the business world.  Do you?

What are some of the gimmicks you have seen recently? What do you think about using gimmicks to grow? 

  • By caseygraham  6 Comments   


    Posted by George Anderson on
    • Apr 18 2012
    Reference: Gimmicks Hey Buddy--I am proud of you and so thankful you are one of my boys best friends. He needs you. I appreciate the article. Gimmicks are simply a lie. Whatever the environment we must be "straight-up." In the early 80's, I was introduced to the phrase "point of integrity." If we can not be men and women of integrity, always needing gimmicks to survive, let's quit.
      Posted by caseygraham on
      • Apr 18 2012
      George, I agree. Gimmicks are ridiculous these days. Let's just be real people!
    Posted by Marshall Walker on
    • Apr 18 2012
    I appreciate the good word of advice. Especially for those of us marketing to churches!
      Posted by caseygraham on
      • Apr 18 2012
      Thanks Marshall. What do you do for Dave Ramsey?
    Posted by Gregg Potts on
    • Apr 18 2012
    I agree completely. My wife & I were talking about this before Easter. It seems that worship has become a production and each week's production has to be better than last week.

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