"Look at the parallels between religion and marketing, and it's almost identical. People become attached to a religion in the same way someone takes on a brand," said Mara Epstein, author of "Brands of Faith," and associate professor of media studies at Queens College. She and others contend that it is marketing, and our consumerist society, that has given people the idea they have a divine right to choose whatever they like -- and to treat faiths just like they'd treat any other brands, switching religions or choosing to have none.Many denominations are looking to market their brands, using television and new social media websites (like this), targeting specifically the "nones" in the younger generations. The article concludes with the following discussion:
Marketing alone isn't to blame for religions' faltering -- an influx of new religion choices via immigration, the rise of the megachurch and widespread criticism of organized religion all play a role -- but marketing is increasingly the tool of choice for religions seeking to reverse the trend.
Ultimately, the question is: Can marketing work for any religion?
"Marketing is sort of a necessary evil. It's part of our culture at this point, and if faiths want to be part of the culture, they're going to have to do marketing, or they'll get lost in the conversation," Ms. Epstein said.
As a general idea, I'm okay with it, as I've said before:
I also do appreciate using [new strategies] to communicate your religious message and try to bring people into your religious community.... Church attendance is dwindling, and meeting people where they are at ... is a perfectly legitimate strategy to develop and draw in the next generation of religious adherents.Anything is better than the mysterious, annoying knock-on-the-door marketing strategy.