The Marketing of Objectivism

I've wondered why Evangelicals have been so successful lately. I believe part of the answer lies in their change in marketing techniques : http://www.churchsolutionsmag.com/articles/655/655_651Feat3.html

There are two key things they are doing:
1. Using technology to identify, attract, and maintain customers
2. Establishing niche markets for different personalities and life styles to gather in a social environment

What we find is that the evangelicals are so successful because the have adopted a business focus toward their congregation. They realize they are providing a service - the service of creating a feel good social environment for learning and growth. A little music, some self-reflection, a couple of inspiring Bible verses, and viola - a success service. I've spent enough of my childhood years going to church (shudder) to know why this works. The social element is a huge key to success. In high school, I had a great deal of difficulty staying convinced that God was real (hmm... I wonder why?). Every six months or so, I would attend another youth retreat or youth conference and suddenly my religious convictions were magnified. But the only reason I would go to these conferences was to hang out with the other kids (especially the really hot girls) some of which I knew and were friends with.

So how does all of this relate to objectivism? I think it should be fairly obvious. There is a reason why so many local objectivist clubs have sprung up throughout the world. The desire to share a common link with other liked minded individuals is very strong. But many local objectivist clubs are small and lack a means of growing and attracting members. Most do not realize the true service they provide nor how to effectively market that service to others.

Objectivism can be a successfully marketed product as the Nathaniel Branden Institute showed us. And while I applaud the Ayn Rand Institute's efforts, they focus heavily on education, not on the social element. If what Peikoff said recently is true, that there are probably thousands of objectivists, if not tens of thousands. And if we consider that millions of people have read Rand's books and are generally favorable to her ideas, the market is huge.

But it will require a different kind of business or organization than the traditional local objectivist club. The sale of Objectivism to the masses cannot be done as a fully integrated philosophy, as it is much to difficult for most people to assimilate in full. It must be done through a series of self-help, self-enrichment, and social enrichment programs. It must compete head to head with the churches, but do so through principled programs consistent with objectivism. Some local clubs, such as the Front Range Objectivist, have experienced strong growth because they meet many of these needs. What I envision is even bigger. The challenge is to maintain the founding integrity, while providing a service to the general populace.

The challenge is necessary in order to win the cultural war against Christianity. People will need something to replace their traditions. Just as Christianity had to replace pagan holidays (Christmas and Easter) to be successful, so must this new vision replace some of the traditions of Christianity. Perhaps an idea such as the Fellowship of Reason could succeed if guided by Objectivist principles.

I open up this idea for discussion.

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1 comment:

  1. Personally, I'd join such a group. I'm part of a local Objectivist club now and while it has a decently large following, there is no way we can ever hope to compete with churches. I think you've nailed the problem on the head with this post and I'm interested in hearing from you in the future if you do get such a group going.