The Future of Religious Marketing

In the concluding chapter of Brands of Faith, Mara Einstein illustrates the “one segment of the religious market that is in the mature stage of its product life cycle,” New Age. In it’s history and decline, we see that while examples of New Age were all very heavily marketed, ultimately it was not a failure in marketing but a failure of the product itself that led to its demise. In light of this, we can see that while marketing of religion may have its downfalls, that is not all there is. Ultimately marketing is about selling the product and the way it is presented and sold to consumers is secondary to the product itself.

A clear example of the importance of the product over its marketing is AOL. It was one of the earliest providers of internet service, and it enjoyed a period of market dominance in the 1990’s. The company focused the majority of its efforts on marketing, sending out trial CD’s and various promotions to literally get America online. However, where they failed was in editorial content. All in all, it was a terrible service, and once competitors emerged and gained market share, users quickly realized this and switched to other providers. AOL is now popularly remembered not for its internet service, but for the deceptive tactics they used to try to retain unhappy subscribers. Many of us were left traumatized by the calls to their customer service agents, that made it nearly impossible to cancel service. AOL’s rise and fall is similar to the life and decline of New Age – despite their best marketing efforts, both were fundamentally bad products that ultimately could not be saved.

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