Tag Archives: marketing

Name That Commandment IIb

Yesterday I made simplistic remarks about our capitalist economic system, especially the principle of supply and demand.  Fortunately a reader, a professor of economics, gave me a gracious critique of my explanation. She wrote,

I’m not sure if it is society today or human nature which creates the demand for more.    Hobbes contended people operate based on self interest while Locke didn’t believe this was always true.  . . .  The law of demand and supply are not causal models as much as they are descriptive models or this is simply what we observe in the world.  It is true that suppliers only supply what people want but it isn’t true that they have unlimited powers to make this happen as the many failed products and services can attest.

My critique is not on capitalism per se. God made us with wants and desires that are not evil in themselves.  I appreciate how the market allows us to enjoy an amazing amount of products: from Guatemalan mangos to Korean cell phones. I appreciate how the market can reward hard work.

My critique is on the pervasive nature of marketing and advertising.   I am not against all advertising.  My father worked as a newspaper advertising salesperson most of his life.    I like to know when a new product can enhance my life or where I can find a favorite product at a cheaper price.   What I struggle with is the constant barrage of messages that seem to tell me that my life story is incomplete or empty unless I have this product.   Coca Cola has been doing this in its television commercials for years.

In the novel, The Gospel According to Larry, 17 year-old Josh Swenson starts a website that attacks the consumer waste that he sees.  Josh decides to have only 75 possessions, counting all clothes, school supplies, recreational equipment, and software. He has an exact list of how many possessions he has. If he wants a new CD or book he has to sell an old one or trade for it. This means every purchase is a major decision and he takes it seriously.  The novel helped me reflect on the wants and needs of my life.

You show me the path of life.
In your presence there is fullness of joy.
Psalm 16:11

Do you think our culture overemphasizes consumption?

Lord Jesus, teach me to be a good steward of my material blessings.

Marketer for the Ages

Seth Godin is a marketing author whose blog I read regularly.  Today he wrote regarding worldviews:

In All Marketers Tell Stories, I argue that most organizations shouldn’t try to change the worldview of the audience they’re marketing to.

Worldview is a term popularized by George Lakoff. It’s the set of expectations and biases that color the way each of us see the world (before the marketer ever arrives on the scene). The worldview of a 45 year old wine-loving investment banker is very different from that of a fraternity brother. One might see a $100 bottle of burgundy as both a bargain and a must-have, while the other might see the very same bottle of wine as an insane waste of money.

It’s extremely expensive, time consuming and difficult to change someone’s worldview. The guys at Opus One shouldn’t spend a lot of time marketing expensive wine to fraternities because it’s not efficient. Sell nuts to squirrels, don’t try to persuade dolphins that nuts are delicious.

There’s an exception to this rule, and that’s the necessity of changing worldviews if you want to become a giant brand, a world changer, a marketer for the ages. Starbucks changed the way a significant part of the world thought about spending $4 for a cup of coffee.

Another exception is Jesus Christ.  He came to transform the way we look at and live in the world.  Sometimes our problem is that we want to fit Jesus into some niche in our lives, “Jesus, just fix this problem I have and then leave me alone.”  We want Jesus to rescue us from a difficult circumstance and then quietly step back from the foreground, but he comes to the Lord and Master of our house.   Jesus truly came to  be the “marketer for the ages” that changes the story by which we live. 

 Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed – that exhilarating finish in and with God – he could put up with anything along the way: cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. ( Hebrews 12:2 The Message)

How have you tried to adapt Jesus to your life rather than allowing him to rule?

Lord Jesus, be LORD today in my life.