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One Marketing Advantage Christianity Has That Islam Doesn't

In chapter 10 of my forthcoming book, Muslim Mechanics, I address two business concepts: the Product Life Cycle and the Market-share/Product-growth matrix. The purpose of both business concepts is to examine a product and determine where it stands concerning consumers that use it and competitors that try to take business away. Both ideas together will help us evaluate how different religions react to current trends and what strategies might be employed to make faith more virile and robust to the consumer.


I did use the word "consumer." According to Dictionary.com, a consumer is "one that consumes." Another definition is "a person or organization that uses a commodity or service." We usually identify a consumer as a person or an organization that consumes a product or a service, but how do you devour enlightenment and salvation? It is a means to which people fill a need in their lives, much like those other needs on Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. In a fundamental sense, people are consumers of religion. They find a religion or are born into a belief that they are attracted to, and they commit their time, resources, and allegiance. The world's major religions have all tried to grow by converting others. Christianity is no different. In Matthew 28, verse 19, Christ said: "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations…."


From the Product Life Cycle, we can see that Christianity and Islam are "mature" institutions whose growth matches worldwide population demographics. Islam has sped by Christianity in development in the last three decades, but Christianity has a much larger congregational base. Demographics show Islam has a younger population with higher fertility, while Christianity has an older, more educated, and wealthier base. The Market-share/Product-growth matrix shows Islam with a slightly higher growth rate but a smaller base than Christianity. Consequently, many of the same growth strategies apply to both religions. Both religions use market penetration strategies to look for new converts in both current and new locations. They also use market modification strategies such as creating new products such as schools (madrasas) and health services that push their religion.


To illustrate the concept of advantage, one edge Christianity has over Islam is marketing the Bible. Let me explain. The Bible, in contrast to the Qur'an, has the unique quality of being easily translatable and understandable. Consider that the complete Bible translates into 683 languages and the New Testament into 1,534 native tongues. In contrast, the complete book of the Qur'an has been translated into only 47 idioms and selected verses into 114 languages. The strength of the Qur'an is in recitation in the original Arabic.


However, a substantial advantage for Christianity has materialized in the last two decades. To summarize, the Wall Street Journal did an article the last week of 2021 titled "Churches target new members, with help from big data." You can do an internet search for a company called Gloo that analyzes data to help churches reach people most likely to be open to their messages. Gloo has about 30,000 customers, a lot of them churches. The story in the WSJ describes a congregation in Kansas City, KS using Gloo to target people in financial distress and another church in Dallas-Ft.Worth targeting people with marital difficulties. People with marital and financial problems usually need help finding the correct answers to their problems. For the most part, Christianity can help. The key for the church is to identify people who need their services and present them in a way that is receptive to the person in need.


Two statistics quoted on the Gloo website indicate:

51% of US adults believe the church isn't at all essential and

59% of millennials feel the church is irrelevant.


Christianity in the US is at a saturation level. It doesn't seem to be growing significantly and may be declining. Gloo research suggests that local churches focus on the wrong message and maybe on the wrong clientele. For example, a church is an organization that services multiple groups of people. One group of people is those who give generously and expect results. A church that can not show positive results from the tithes received is not deserving of more money. If the church can deliver results from the funds received, more people will provide even more. Another group is those seeking to better themselves through classes and training. Offering people opportunities and missions allows them to express their talents through classroom certification and real-world experience.


What is big data?

Data generated from census surveys, retail stores sales, and government statistics, both locally and nationally, are the types of sources that make up big data. This kind of information can indicate trends and problems near and far. Big data will enable churches to be more efficient, meet the needs of people who need assistance, and become a relevant organization for people helping people.


This is an advantage for Christianity because Christianity has a wealthier base and is located in more developed countries where big data can be collected and used. Big data can pinpoint problems where churches need to be. Big data can sound impersonal, but it's like the headlights on a car at night. Using big data, a church can identify people's problems and where their people need to be to do the most good.

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