Bonitamedia’s Weblog

Creating a lasting impression for small business

Evangelist or Shepherd?

message from heavenAn Evangelist is one that travels from town to town and from church to church, spreading the gospel…

Interestingly enough, many people become evangelists of products, services, business and the like because of an experience so outstanding, so unique and so wonderful that they can’t help but “spread the good news”! Isn’t that what we are trying to create – evangelists and raving fans to create a level of trust and to strengthen our referral and word-of-mouth business? But how do we nurture these relationships once formed? Does it get old hearing the same message over and over again?

A FLOCK OF GOATS AND SHEEPOn the other hand, we have the shepherd, guiding the flock from infancy to maturity. The shepherd’s job is to lead, protect, educate and so on. The shepherd cares for the safety of the flock – often times putting him/herself into harms way. The flock develops a level of trust for the shepherd that is difficult to break, following wherever they are lead, under any circumstance. Maybe this is how we should be treating our customers.

Or – is there a time and place for both? Aren’t our marketing and sales efforts both evangelical and shepherd-like, depending on the situation? Most businesses want a steady stream of loyal customers they can depend on. Consistency, after all, makes planning easier (not to mention less sleepless nights!), budgeting easier and the overall business atmosphere more pleasant. The evangelist’s job is to get someone excited – to try a product once and then move on. They want to “get the ball rolling” or create the inertia in a relationship and then pass it off to the shepherd to be handled and managed.

If you are an evangelist for your business, your chances of repeat business is slim because you are great at getting the ball rolling, but no so great at keeping the momentum. If your a shepherd, you can cultivate a loyal following, but may have a hard time generating new business.

Which are you? How can you learn to put your evangelical hat on and change roles into the shepherd? Keep in mind the situation: spread the good news whenever it truly is news to the target. Nurture those relationships already familiar…


February 12, 2009 - Posted by | Business tips, Marketing in SWFL | , , , , , ,


  1. There is a time for both.

    Early in the product lifecycle you need an Evangelist to spread the word… to create the buzz… to get those early adapters on board.

    As the newness wears off, you need the sheppard to guide those who have already bought in. He guides them to the new features and applications that will make life better.

    For long-term sustainability, you need the balance of both.

    Comment by Cyndee Woolley | February 12, 2009

  2. I agree with Cyndee.

    Most of the time, being an Evangelist helps to give a more “definite” voice on a matter, But you also have to be a “sheppard” in the sense that is someone / company / industry is doing something wrong (at least from your own self-knowledge), you have to point out the faults in order for the mistake to be realized and dealt with; this ultimately helps the Evangelist to gain confidence to get the “truth” out there, instead of sounding like a person with a bias.

    I think those who are parents can relate to these two concepts and how they must work together well actually.

    Comment by justoutofhome | February 12, 2009

  3. Great points both of you! That really was the point of this post – you need to be both. But I am sure you have noticed (as I have) people that fall into the trap of always being one or the other (myself included). It’s good to be reminded of this from time to time to get back on track…


    Comment by bonitamedia | February 13, 2009

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