August 2018

Get It Local. Today! to Launch September 1

As you may know, we’ve spent the last 10-12 months working on the web-based Get It Local. Today! program alongside the folks at Covenant Group. Together we’ve been enrolling retail store participants, listening to publisher feedback, and tweaking the platform in response. We’re delighted to announce that Get It Local. Today! is going live on September 1st.

The platform offers shoppers receiving promotional emails from publishers, or shopping on publisher websites, the option of buying products at local Christian stores as an alternative to Amazon and big-box retailers.

Thank you for your interest, encouragement and support of this initiative through our development stage.  Hundreds of retailers have signed up for the program—and virtually every publisher we have spoken with has been overwhelmingly supportive and excited about it.

Since this platform represents a true nationwide and industry-wide store network, here’s what we’re asking publishers to do as they support the program:

  • Feature the Get It Local. Today! buy link on all consumer-facing websites on which they offer retailer (online or brick & mortar) buy links.
  • TOP (or priority) placement above other retail entities since our link features a nationwide network of retailers, not a single retail operation.
  • Include one of our Get It Local. Today! buy links in as many of the following promotional placements as possible:
    • Consumer e-blasts
    • Websites of authors they publish with
    • Blogs and social media promotions
    • Print ads
    • Encourage their authors to reference “” in media interviews
  • Feature Get It Local. Today! in any consumer-facing print ads where they normally feature retailer logos, and also that they encourage their publicists and authors to reference “” in any media interviews they conduct.

This initiative is all about helping those interested in Christian publications find them in the most complete and helpful sources available in their immediate area.

If you’re not already signed up for Get It Local. Today!, it’s not too late—plus, it’s free! It only takes about five minutes to give permission for your store to be listed and set up for data reporting to let customers know the product is in stock at your store.

Sign up now at:


New Customer Mapping Tool on ParableConnect

In our continuing mission to help store owners serve their customers as efficiently as possible, we launched a new tool at UNITE.

The ParableConnect website now includes census-tract (CT) data for each store. This data is general consumer info, based on the areas where each store’s customers live. We’ve pulled a few things out of the CT data that highlight key features of the community around each store.

One goal with this info is to help the store owner understand their potential customer base. You’ll see an example below which shows demographic information that we pulled from the CT data.

This store’s customers do not necessarily average 42-years old. However, looking at the areas where their customers live, the average community member is 42.

Some of this information is just fun to look at, but there are also takeaways that a few retailers are looking to implement. For example, when looking at these numbers at UNITE, a couple stores were surprised at how high their Spanish-speaking population was. As a result, they decided to go home and look at increasing the size of their Spanish category.

The second part of this new ParableConnect tool features a visual map of where each store’s customers live. The images below show the heat map which allows store owners to see the density of their customer base throughout their area. Light blue is fewer customers, deep red is a lot of customers.

The plus and minus buttons in the top left let them zoom in and out of the map to see either more or less detail. And they can move the map around by clicking and dragging.

It was fun to watch retailers as they explored different areas of their community and discovered pockets of customers they didn’t know existed. One manager who used their local “clipper” magazine to reach new customers found an outlying city full of existing customers. When they returned home they were going to find a way to get into the “clipper” magazine in that city as soon as possible. Their reasoning was that if they already had a bunch of customers driving to their store from that area, there are probably a lot more who would as well.

Our purpose is to continually provide tools that enable owners to create more opportunities to grow their business. So we’re looking forward to hearing more stories like this.


Join us at CPE Nashville Next Month

The Christian Products Expo is just four weeks away (Sept. 9th-11th). Bob Munce has graciously invited our team to take part in CPE this year, and we look forward to a great event together. Steve Potratz, Erik Ernstrom, and I will be attending the event, and we would be delighted to see you there.  
Here are the details you need: 

At The Parable Group, we are committed to serving you with data-driven marketing to help you grow your business and connect with Christian consumers. As the new President of the company, Steve has passed the torch of leadership to me, and I have thoroughly enjoyed meeting many of you. I would be honored to meet you at the show. I love the mission of this industry and believe there is a great future for Christian retailing ahead of us. 

Please let us know if you will be attending CPE. We enjoy hearing from our retail friends; let us know what’s on your mind and how we can serve you! 

I’m looking forward to connecting with each one of you.

Potratz Selects New Leader of The Parable Group

After nearly five decades in Christian retailing and consumer marketing, Steve Potratz has selected a new leader for The Parable Group, the multi-service Christian marketing agency based in San Luis Obispo, CA. Effective August 1st, 2018, Greg Squires and Steve Potratz have entered into a definitive purchase agreement, where Squires will become the owner-operator for the business.

“I am thrilled to pass the torch to Greg,” said Potratz, founder and former president of The Parable Group. “When we began meeting over 5 years ago, I recognized he had the potential to be a leader in this industry. God has providentially been preparing Greg with his vocational experience in independent retail, brand and digital marketing, software technology, and agency management. He loves the church, cares deeply about the local retailer, and has a breadth of understanding of the digital landscape. He is undoubtedly the right person for this job.”

After earning an Industrial Engineering degree from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, Greg Squires served in a variety of roles including digital agency leadership, executive account management, and executive marketing responsibilities in retail and distribution technology companies. Notably, he spent 10 years serving independent retailers by implementing local product search and retail-integrated ecommerce solutions for manufacturers and retailers.

“Steve Potratz has built a remarkable company,” Squires says, “with talented staff who do exceptional work for clients who value the services offered. Steve leaves a legacy of innovation, having pioneered data-driven marketing programs in this industry for decades. I plan to build upon this legacy, to continue to serve our stores, vendors, and ministry partners—and provide fresh and measurable ways to connect with Christian audiences through direct mail, data intelligence, digital marketing, email and social media.

Potratz will remain in a support role with The Parable Group for years to come, providing advice to Squires as he takes on leadership of the company. Squires added, “I am fortunate to have Steve as a business mentor and friend. His industry insights and innovative ideas, coupled with my energy to execute, will offer clients and partners more value as we move forward.”

“Greg has spent the last 15 years searching for a Kingdom impact company to serve with,” said Potratz, “and he has found what he is looking for. Following recent conversations with retailers, I believe the future is bright for Christian retail. I’m delighted that Greg and The Parable Group team are poised to serve the industry for years to come.”