I'll dip into the topic of religion as great marketing with a reference to an incredible view of marketing within the evangelical tradition in this Business Week article, Earthly Empires: How evangelical churches are borrowing from the business playbook. Believers and non-believers have to stand in awe of the success of the so-called "megachurches" at achieving their mission. The article asserts,
"Their runaway success is modeled unabashedly on business. They borrow tools ranging from niche marketing to MBA hiring to lift their share of U.S. churchgoers."Even if Business Week has a particular slant, direct comments from Church leaders carry a similar tale. Thinking about market segmentation, Martin King, a spokesman for the Southern Baptists' North American Mission Board remarks,
"We have cowboy churches for people working on ranches, country music churches, even several motorcycle churches aimed at bikers."And Pastor Joel Osteen, whose Lakewood Church is buying a former NBA arena to create a 16,000-person high-tech church, says,
"Other churches have not kept up, and they lose people by not changing with the times."And what about the "product?" In a world of stress, pressure, and timelines layered with companies trying to deliver services to ease customers' busy lives, how can it not be inspiring to read about a customer, er, congregant saying,
"When I walk out of a [Lakewood Church] service, I feel completely relieved of any stress I walked in with."