Events in Europe, India, and the U.S. build worldwide unity.
CBA MarketSquare events support global connectivity and encourage Christian product providers around the world to overcome unique business challenges and cultural differences through communication and interaction.
“At CBA, we aim to provide opportunities, encouragement, and training to Christian product providers all over the world,” says Curtis Riskey, CBA president. “MarketSquare is designed to connect those with international business and ministry interests with others who have similar purpose.”
CBA MarketSquare events include MarketSquare Europe, MarketSquare International during the UNITE convention, and MarketSquare India.
MARKETSQUARE EUROPE EXPANDS GOSPEL REACH
The fourth annual MarketSquare Europe, formerly MarketSquare Budapest, brought together publishers and retailers working hard to expand the reach of Christian literature through local publishing and distribution.
Hosted April 16-18 at Budapest’s modest Benzcur Hotel, the event included two busy days of rights and licensing sales and a full day of training on marketing and contracting, plus a panel discussion on the future of Christian publishing. About 70 people attended, coming from several Eastern and Western European countries and as far away as South Korea, Africa, South America, and Scandinavia.
CBA hosted the event in cooperation with CLC International, a network of 160 Christian stores in 48 countries that has begun its own publishing and distribution initiatives. At a CLC dinner, CLC European Regional Director Gary Chamberlin said the ministry’s mission is to bring people to Jesus Christ and also help them mature in Christ through literature.
Referencing Patrick Johnstone, author of Operation World, Chamberlin quoted Johnstone’s observation about Christian literature’s effectiveness.
Johnstone said, “The power of Christian literature should not be underestimated. Some reckon that over half of evangelical Christians attribute their own conversion, at least in part, to Christian literature.”
Cooperation was a main theme through-out the conference. Daryl Wearring, CLC UK marketing VP, outlined how retail and publishing in the UK are challenged by many of the same issues other regions of the world are seeing, specifically the need for retail to be more of a place for interaction and experiences, not just buying. Marketing increasingly is about connecting with people through technology to bring them into the interactive experience of the store, he said.
Publishers are continuing to sell direct to consumers, he said, and offered counter strategies and tactics for both retailers and publishers to increase reach through social media and email marketing.
Key areas for both groups are increasing reach to connect with more people, ensuring relevance by better targeting customers to offer meaningful products and information, and seeking resonance by working with community influencers who understand and are in tune with the people they’re trying to serve.
Paramount among all the presenters and issues was building and keeping relationships.
“The danger of digital is it’s replacing relationships,” warned William Mackenzie, head of Christian Focus Publishing. Con-necting people with the Gospel is still the first mission, and Christian literature is a powerful way to do that as long as Christ is first in it, he said.
CBA will host the 5th annual Market- Square Europe event March 18-20, 2019 at a new location in Krakow, Poland.
MARKETSQUARE INTERNATIONAL CONNECTS PRODUCT PROVIDERS
At UNITE 2018, CBA’s annual international convention, MarketSquare International is a destination area on the main exhibit floor. Designed for international business, exhibitors within this area are either based outside the United States or conduct international business. Attendees will be able to quickly find global business connections focusing on Christian products and resources.
UNITE attracts a wide range of both exhibitors and attendees from around the world, and MarketSquare is not limited to rights and licensing sales. Products, services, and other international oppor-tunities can be found in UNITE’s MarketSquare destination area. The area is designed for more discussion-oriented interactions rather than simply product displays.
Because MarketSquare is part of UNITE 2018, participants enjoy additional opportunities to network with colleagues from the U.S. and around the world. UNITE also offers an array of training designed for retailers in any location. Basic training and advanced workshops take place throughout the convention.