Monday, June 06, 2005

Purposeful Marketing

I just finished reading Tim Challies' well-researched description of the marketing strategy behind Rick Warren's Purpose Driven Life and urge you to make time to do so yourself.
Tim calls the marketing technique (known as "pyromarketing") "brilliant" because it takes advantage of the following factors in the church:
1. Naivete. This approach dupes Christians into becoming marketers, not for a book, but for a marketing approach, and ultimately for a profit-driven corporation. This marketing approach is supposed to work as easily with any product as with what is a supposedly-biblical book. There is nothing inherently Christian about the approach and it has no biblical basis.
2. Ignorance. This approach also benefited from the ignorance of evangelical Christians, that they were not able to see beyond the marketing and see a book that was, in many places, clearly unbiblical and which said little that had not already been said before, either by Christian or secular writers. Were
Christians properly-educated in the Scriptures, this approach would fall flat.

3. Pragmatism. This approach is, at its heart, pragmatic. This is the charge that has long been levelled at the Church Growth Movement, that success becomes the ultimate arbiter of truth rather than the Word of God. In a sense all marketing is pragmatic, especially when it is designed to sell a product.
This is not a caustic, "sour grapes" piece. It's a detailed look at the intersection of commercialism and Christian publishing including quotes from the head of the marketing team working with Zondervan. Regardless of where you fall on the continuum of reactions to Rick Warren, I hope you'll read it.

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