As I noted on November 9, Seth Goodin is my favorite marketing guru at the moment, and now I’ve started reading his blog. In a post from November 30 titled “Welcome to the Hobby Economy,” Goodin tells us why he keeps a blog:
Economists don’t know what to do about it.
It’s hard to measure, hard to quantify and a little odd to explain.
More and more people are spending more and more time (and money) on pursuits that have no payoff other than satisfaction.
“Why should you have a blog?” they ask. “How are you going to make any money?”…
Of course, economists don’t really worry about this. They understand perfectly well that economics is able to easily explain that human beings pursue things that satisfy them.
“Hobby economy” sounds a little pejorative. Still, I think it’s a good concept that could also be applied to religion. Most human beings pursue religion because it satisfies them. You don’t have to make money at it. I happen to make money doing religion (although if I went back to sales, I could make a lot more money than I do now), but I do things like keep this blog, which brings in no money at all.
When we think about marketing religion, all too often we only think about hiring an ad agency and developing a major media campaign. That’s thinking of religion in terms of the business model of marketing. If we start thinking about religion in terms of the hobby economy, how would we do marketing? We’d invite people to join the regular meetings of our hobby group. We’d do things like keep a blog to promote our hobby, or have conferences to entice new people into our hobby. Any time anyone asked about our hobby we’d talk about it with passion and enthusiasm.
Not that we should abandon the ad agencies and the major media campaigns. Not that religion really fits into the “hobby economy” model. But it’s getting me thinking about marketing in new ways….