Marketing Marketing Marketing

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“If I testify about myself, my testimony is not valid.” (John 5:31)

Easy for Jesus to say.  He could walk on water and then turn it into wine.  He could feed 5000 plus people with one Happy Meal.  Jesus could raise people from the dead.  With a show like that he could always draw a crowd.

But what about those of us who want to make it big in the religion business but haven’t mastered the special effects?  Sure, we can help the poor, love our neighbor, and do other low-profile things like that; but that isn’t going to get us much press. As marketing guru Leo Burnett said, “If you don’t get noticed, you don’t have anything.”  The trick is to get noticed, and that’s where marketing comes in.

Being a prodigious religious talent is nice, and it has its own rewards, like a justified sense of superiority and God’s flattering approval.  But those only go so far. Eventually you want a wider public, and this requires promotion.  “Doing business without advertising is like winking at a girl in the dark,” says Stuart Britt. “You know what you’re doing, but nobody else does.”  The solution is relentless self-promotion and paid endorsements.  Eventually, with enough repetition and branding, you become fixed in the constellation of public awareness.

Some might be leery of reducing religion into a commodity like deodorant soap or light beer.  Some might even think that marketing spiritual goods is somehow morally suspect.  Just what is the difference between unethical and ethical advertising? Market observer Vilhjalmur Stefansson explains: “Unethical advertising uses falsehoods to deceive the public; ethical advertising uses truth to deceive the public.”  There’s no business like show business.

Jesus has a great product—though he’s a bit inconsistent with customer service. What he needs is marketing, branding, buzz.  Jesus needs image management and endorsements targeted to demographic groups.  That we can do.  Jesus may have the salvation thing wrapped up, but we’ve got the market savvy.  He needs us, especially if he’s no longer in the miracle business.

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One Response

  1. And it’s highly unlikely the bible is going to make Oprah’s book of the month club (it’s hard to work the Obama’s onto the cover). However some of the family dramas found in the old testament would make good viewing on the Jerry Springer Show .. hhmm.

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