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September 21, 2004

That good old timey religion…

Ok, it is not tomorrow, but several days later.

Imagine that you are trying to convince people to change religion. You have your Christians, Jews, Muslim, Buddhist, etc. and you want to convince them to move to some new religion. Let’s call your new religion “Netology”.

The first thing that you decide is that instead of trying to convert everyone to Netology, you will just look for the “influencers” in the community. Those individuals that others look to for council and guidance. These are the “architects” of faith for the people.

Every architect, of course, already has a religion (or no religion at all) and each has some very specific reasons why they believe in what they believe. They might think that their religion is best because it yields salvation sooner, it has lower tithes, or it is compatible with other spiritual pursuits. Everyone has a reason they believe.

What is the marketing strategy?

1. Identify the architects.
Not necessarily as easy as it sounds, since these individuals may hide in the guise of others. They may be influential but low visibility. They sometimes just don’t want to be found since every new religion targets them for evangelism.

2. Identify the pivot points for the architects.
What convinces someone to make a change like this? Is it the promise of a better heaven? The appeal of a faster response time to prayer? Find the pivot point and push. The pivot point, of course, is different for each architect.

3. Document your success.
There is no substitute for showing the lame man walking or the blind child seeing. Show the world the amazing power of your particular religion to cure their ills.

4. Have great collateral.
Collateral material of all types is essentially a way to be there when you are not there. From the web to printed materials to video and demos, collateral serves an important purpose. For some religions there is just one good book that seems to get the job done. For other, things are a little more complex. But, they all have their collateral and you need to have it too.

5. Celebrity spokespeople!
Getting those relevant spokespeople lined up behind you is critical to success. Maybe a famous architect decides to make a film about his particular passion for Netology. People believe people that are like them more than people that are not like them, except in blind faith to the famous. Leverage both opportunities.

6. Beware of competition.
You are not the only new religion on the block (and some of the other, more established religions are not going to give up the ghost without a fight). There is a new-age thing called “Linology” that is promising salvation without penance, and many of the kids are turning to that. The architects of faith are looking for something, anything, to carry them and their people forward. Another solution for salvation might sneak in behind you.

If you have ever been to a church, mosque, temple, shul, etc. you know that preaching to the faithful is also important. Don’t lose sight of those that have already come into your camp in an effort to find the newbies. Continue to deliver salvation to the folks that brought you to the dance in the first place.

Now, do all this fast, cheap, and with pressure from all sides. Be successful or be thrown to the lions (to borrow an image from the Romans).

Welcome to my world.

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