Is marketing biblical?
By Ryan McReynolds with Gina Butz
Marketing is associated with business greed and money, what the King James calls “filthy lucre” (1 Timothy 3:3). At a more visceral level, the word “marketing” triggers anger at the old interruption model: Pop ups, spam, junk mail, commercials; we hate them all.
BUT DOES MARKETING HAVE A PLACE IN THE GREAT COMMISSION?
“And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.’” (Matt 28:18-20, ESV)
WHAT IS MARKETING?
It is “the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large. – American Marketing Association 2013
Marketing consists of 4 stages:
Let’s look at how those four stages are present in these verses:
This executes a strategy to create Awareness of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. Jesus was the first travel agent. Even today, 40% of Americans never move out of their home town. In the ancient world, almost no one would travel. The only way to create awareness of Jesus was for His followers to go.
Show and convince them of the value of Jesus and ask them to follow. In marketing, this is called Cultivation.
Jesus explicitly commanded us to do a specific action to measure a distinct public behavior to clarify objectively that someone has indeed become a disciple. In marketing, this is called Conversion.
TEACHING THEM TO OBSERVE ALL THAT I HAVE COMMANDED YOU:
We tend to think of the word “teaching” in this verse as explaining concepts or ideas, but Jesus taught with his life. His students lived with him to learn not just his ideas but his behaviors. What happens when you follow Jesus and ask others to follow Him with you (discipleship)? They experience Delight.
INTO ALL NATIONS:
Nations are people groups. People Groups are distinguished by traits. What do you call the practices of distinguishing the traits of various groups in order to communicate something of value to them? Marketing. In fact, “persona” is a marketing term for a summary of traits that describe a “nation.” We define nations by traits, not geography.
There are many different types of marketing: events, movements, opportunities etc. But for those of us who are trying to build God’s kingdom, they all come down to one thing: giving people a chance to know and follow Jesus.
“How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news” (Romans 10:15, ESV). Our beautiful feet are no longer physical. We run with digital feet to non-physical marketplaces to bring the good news to those who don’t know or follow Jesus. We use keys on keyboards and wireless mice to preach the good news and fulfill Jesus’ marketing plan, the Great Commission.