So that’s what we’re doing here…

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….

3 thoughts on “So that’s what we’re doing here…

  1. Lisa Williams

    Thomas Jefferson didn’t make any money writing the Declaration of Independence. Was that “a hobby”?
    Of course not (by their fruits you shall know them).

    There are lots of people out there who devote serious time and energy to things outside the formal economy, and some of them achieve levels of expertise that are world class.

    Paul Miller and Charles Leadbeater did a great long essay called “The Pro-Am Revolution” about just this phenomenon.
    It’s good and you can download it for free here.

    Look for the link that says “download full text” (they do also sell it in book form via Amazon).

  2. Administrator

    Thanks for the comment, Lisa. Our culture has become so obssessed with making money that we forget that we used to have room in our lives for civic duties and avocations. So now we have to talk about a “hobby economy” — a term which I have decided I like for its unconscious narrowmindedness and unintended irony.

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