Why Mega Churches Are Marketing Phenoms
Dean H. Hamer has written a thoughtful book entitled "The God Gene: How Faith Is Hardwired Into Our Genes." Hamer is a behavioral geneticist a the National Cancer Institute, and this book is a follow-up to his 1998 book, "Living With Our Genes." What is interesting from a marketing point of view is that according to Hamer, we all have a so-called "God Gene" in our DNA, some more so than others. We access that gene, VMAT2, through transcendence of our "reality" through ritual, meditation, yoga, etc. And that, he says, is what mega churches have caught on to simply by creating an emotional aspect to their appeal for members. Through music, multi-media, less structured services, not talking in "God-speak" and letting the flow of the moment be a part of their services, among other tactics, they allow their worship to be "fun" so that the worshipers get into a spiritual frame of mind and thus "feel" God.
Obviously there are naysayers about Hamer's research and thesis, but it certainly merits looking into and understanding the power of marketing and how it impacts everything we do. If as Professor Gerald Zaltman of Harvard Business School states in his book "How Customers Think" that 95% of what we process in experiences takes place in the subconscious and that sensory and emotional components have more influence on how we perceive an experience, then no wonder the new churches who have let go of the traditional religiosity and structure, are indeed marketers par excellence in their quest for souls.
The key learning here is that experience does drive our decision process and marketers know that. Now your local church knows that, too, and that's why it's important to see what they do in terms of breaking the bonds of traditional approaches to get their message across and bring in the multitudes. If you want to see more in practice, just look at the evangelists on TV who are constantly using the medium to line heaven with souls and their coffers with gold.