Press Release

The Parable Group Lands Key Partnership

Inspire Hub and The Parable Group

The Parable Group has announced an exclusive partnership with InspireHUB Inc., the first company to combine best-practices engagement training with a proprietary engagement mobile and tablet app platform for churches and non-profits. The long-term marketing deal enables InspireHUB to fully leverage The Parable Group’s strength in digital marketing, advanced market knowledge, trusted expertise, and delivery in the digital space to reach churches and Christian non-profits across the US.

“Churches know that embracing technology is something that can strengthen their engagement and communications with their members. Yet, many have struggled to successfully keep up due in part to costs and lack of training. We are honored to connect churches and non-profits with InspireHUB’s affordable and effective app and training system to improve their relationships, enhance their discipleship and increase their fundraising,” said Steve Potratz, CEO of The Parable Group.

The InspireHUB Mobile Engagement Platform incorporates a simple system specifically designed for non-techy organizations and is based on human-behavior research and proven engagement best-practices. The enterprise-grade platform drives the most powerful method ever for mission-based engagement and is a one stop shop for churches and organizations looking to be equipped with the latest engagement best-practices and understanding on how to leverage those techniques through mobile apps. InspireHUB aims to resolve issues for churches and worthy causes by providing real world insights that educates leadership so they can make knowledgeable decisions. Current users include Mandela Kids, The Special Olympics as well as churches and non-profits in the US, Canada and Australia.

“We are excited to be teaming with The Parable Group for marketing, consultation and lead generation initiatives,” said Donald Clark, CEO of InspireHUB, Inc. “We’ve built a cutting edge, 21st century technology to facilitate a 2000 year-old mission uniting over 2 billion people worldwide—and we’ve found like-minded innovators at The Parable Group.”

The Parable Group Expands Team; Bryce Richardson Joins As Email And Customer Specialist

Bryce Richardson - The Parable Group

San Luis Obispo-based marketing agency, The Parable Group, announced today that Bryce Richardson has joined their team as Email and Customer Specialist. Bryce has a 6-year background in marketing and digital services with specialties in project management, statistical analysis, email coding/delivery, list segmentation and web design.

Bryce joins The Parable Group most recently from Henry Madison Research, Inc. where he managed the IT & Digital Marketing departments. In his new role, Bryce will serve on the Business Intelligence team and champion email services, drip campaigns, email appends, and will be instrumental in segmenting and managing robust consumer email lists.

Steve Potratz, President of The Parable Group commented, “I’m excited about the future of our email marketing solutions and the responsive mobile technologies we offer clients. Having sent 25 million emails to Christian consumers over the last 12 months, we are thrilled to have Bryce on our team to take our email delivery and analysis to even greater heights for the Christian retailers and brands we serve.”

Nearly three quarters of Americans, 72%, say that email is their favored conduit of communication with companies they do business with, according to a recent survey by MarketingSherpa. 61% say they like to receive promotional emails on a weekly basis, and some said they’d welcome even greater frequency.

“It’s not surprising that consumers continue to be receptive to email,” said Richardson. “Email can transform monologue into dialogue. It enables brands to build genuine relationships. Ultimately, people don’t buy from companies, people buy from people.”

The Parable Group targeted emails continue to excel in every metric and grow in demand year-over-year. The Parable Group forecasts targeted emails will greatly increase in volume in Q4 compared to last year. In addition, they anticipate tremendous growth in the number of email names they manage by the year end.

“I couldn’t have asked for a better opportunity and I am so excited to be a part of such an innovative and growth-oriented company,” said Richardson. “As a member of the business intelligence team, my goal will be to fortify the reputation of The Parable Group as the foremost leader in email marketing reaching and engaging the Christian consumer.”

The Parable Group And Westbow Press Announce Writing Contest Winner

Aspiring Authors - Congrats William Thornton

The Parable Group, a leading retail and marketing services provider, and WestBow Press, the self-publishing division of Thomas Nelson and Zondervan, the world’s largest Christian publisher, today announced William Thorton as the Grand Prize winner of the 2015 Aspiring Authors Writing Contest. Thorton’s manuscript, Set Your Fields on Fire, was selected from several hundred entrants. His winning novel will be self-published through WestBow Press and reviewed for possible traditional publication by Thomas Nelson and Zondervan.

In addition, upon publication, Thorton will receive a free marketing package from The Parable Group to promote the prize-winning book in catalogs and in bookstores across the nation.

Thornton, a newspaper reporter living in Southside, Alabama, entered the contest after seeing a promotional tweet. Set Your Fields on Fire is a comic novel about a group of “mystery worshippers” – a firm hired to evaluate a church’s services and ministries – and the lengths to which they will go to do their jobs. Alex Alterman and his group of committed zealots descend on a Florida church at the same time as others, all interested in whether the church will survive their scrutiny. How long before they crack under their own pressure?

“We are very pleased with the quality of the finalists for this year’s Aspiring Authors Writing Contest,” said Pete Nikolai, Publisher of WestBow Press and Director of Publishing Services for HarperCollins Christian Publishing, the parent company of WestBow Press. “The reach of The Parable Group and their partner stores provided a great opportunity for hundreds of writers to make their dream come true. We congratulate William Thorton for writing such a great story and encourage all the entrants to keep writing and sharing their stories with the world.”

Additional winners included First-Place winner, Gretchen Rodriguez, who will receive a free Pro Format publishing package for her book, Aegis. Second-Place winner, Rhonda Brunea, will receive a free Essential Access publishing package for her book, In the Dim of Grimmelings. The complete list of finalists can be found here.

The Aspiring Authors Writing Contest was open to authors who were at least 18 years of age and had written an unpublished manuscript.

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WestBow Press is a strategic supported self-publishing alliance between HarperCollins Christian Publishing, the world’s leading Christian publisher, and Author Solutions, LLC, the world leader in supported self-publishing. Titles published through WestBow Press are evaluated for sales potential and considered for publication through Thomas Nelson and Zondervan. For more information, visit www.westbowpress.com or call (866)-928-1240. For WestBow Press news, click “Like” at www.facebook.com/WestBowPress and follow @westbowpress on Twitter.

The Parable Group & Westbow Press Announce Top 10 Writing Contest Finalists

Aspiring Authors Winners

The Parable Group, a leading retail and marketing services provider, and WestBow Press, the self-publishing division of Thomas Nelson and Zondervan, announced the top 10 finalists for the 2015 Aspiring Authors Writing Contest on Sunday, June 28th, during The Parable Group All Partner Store Meeting at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando before the International Christian Retail Show.

“We are very pleased with the quality of the finalists for this year’s Aspiring Authors Writing Contest,” said Pete Nikolai, Publisher of WestBow Press and Director of Publishing Services for HarperCollins Christian Publishing. “The reach of The Parable Group and their partner stores provided a great opportunity for hundreds of writers to make their dream come true. We’re looking forward to publishing and distributing the winner.”

The Aspiring Authors Writing Contest received ample attention, garnering hundreds of hopeful author participants from all over the country. Nearly every registered store had participating writers. The complete list of the 10 finalists and book titles can be found at
www.westbowpress.com/parable/winners/.

The grand prize-winning book of the Aspiring Authors Writing Contest will be self-published through WestBow Press and reviewed for possible traditional publication by Thomas Nelson and Zondervan. Additionally, upon publication, the grand prize winner will receive a free marketing package from The Parable Group to promote the prize-winning book in catalogs and in bookstores across the nation.

The Aspiring Authors Writing Contest was open to authors who were at least 18 years of age and had written an unpublished manuscript.
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WestBow Press is a strategic supported self-publishing alliance between HarperCollins Christian Publishing, the world’s leading Christian publisher, and Author Solutions, LLC, the world leader in supported self-publishing. Titles published through WestBow Press are evaluated for sales potential and considered for publication through Thomas Nelson and Zondervan. For more information, visit www.westbowpress.com or call (866)-928-1240. For WestBow Press news, click “Like” at www.facebook.com/WestBowPress and follow @westbowpress on Twitter.

The Parable Group Celebrates 30-Year Milestone

The Parable Christian Store 1980s

The Parable Group opened in fall of 1985, in the back room of a Christian bookstore in downtown San Luis Obispo, California. At the time, The Parable Group had two part-time employees, one of which was Steve Potratz.

Steve and his wife Laurie created a simple flyer for their independent Christian retail store called The Parable. It impressed a fellow store owner so much that he asked Steve to print a few for his customers, and the idea of an independent marketing group was born. On a foundation of catalogs, The Parable Group was the first group of its kind to strategically market on behalf of independent Christian retailers.

The business has endured: The Parable Group is celebrating its 30-year anniversary in 2015.

Today, under Potratz’s leadership, The Parable Group serves 179 independent Christian retailers and 120+ faith-based product and service providers with customized advertising, innovative marketing and digital solutions that reach and engage the Christian consumer on their behalf.

Over those three decades, The Parable Group has employed hundreds of people. Many former employees have graduated to leadership at companies such as Thomas Nelson, Zondervan, David C. Cook, Tyndale House Publishers, B&H, Capitol Christian, Living on the Edge, PureFlix, Gap, Nike and LinkedIn.

Former employee, Cheryl Kerwin, now Senior Marketing Manager at Tyndale House Publishers says, “Throughout my 30+ years in the CBA industry, I have been fortunate enough to work for leaders who not only were good business minds, but had a heart and passion for ministry. Parable taught me how to make sure we had our retailer’s best interest in mind when working with vendors to develop promotions for products that were going to make a difference in the consumers’ lives. Now I am able to better understand what type of products and promotions retailers need in order to minister to the spiritual needs of people and I have Parable to thank for that.”

“God orchestrated the last thirty years,” Potratz says. “He faithfully brought us the right people at the right time to help develop the business and impact millions of lives with the products and services that we’ve marketed for stores and vendors. I’ll continue to trust Him as we continue to deliver life-changing content to the Christian consumer.”

The Parable Group has since sent over 388 million catalogs and 64 million emails to Christian consumers. They’ve also reached and engaged Christian consumers through newspaper inserts, television commercials, radio ads, targeted shared mail, postcards, social media campaigns, online display advertising and pre-roll video ads. Their multi-channel approach to marketing provides retailers and brands with customized solutions to fit their unique needs.

“At the end of the day, The Parable Group is about connecting people to Christ-centered products that change lives,” Potratz says. ”That’s what’s kept me going for the last three decades, and it’s what will drive The Parable Group for the next thirty years.”

The Parable Group plans to commemorate their 30th anniversary in several ways throughout 2015. For starters, in the coming months they will be recognizing retailers who have also been in business for at least 30 years.

The Parable Group is also asking their vendors, retailers and industry partners to share their favorite memories of working together. Send comments to sally.ross@parable.com. Comments will be collected in a vault, with one pulled out each month. Each month’s winner will receive a $30 Visa gift card.