When Bible Software Marketing Crosses a Theological Line

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This post has 95 Replies | 8 Followers

Posts 341
Abram K-J | Forum Activity | Posted: Sun, Feb 1 2015 3:22 PM

I want to lodge a complaint (and suggestion) with Logos/Faithlife as a company:

The post 6 Reasons That Shouldn’t Stop You from Getting Logos 6 (however unintentionally) undermines important values of sufficiency and wise financial stewardship and promotes instead harmful values of materialism and overspending--especially in its reasons #2 and #4.

I really think Logos needs to reconsider these sorts of approaches in marketing--i.e., stop advertising how it enables overspending and quit encouraging the continuous accumulation of more and more and more and more books. I see this kind of angle from Logos over and over--this particular post came to me in an email yesterday, but it's just one of many.

Whatever happened to sufficiency mentality and only spending what you have?

Of course users are free to act on those instincts--but Logos should not be encouraging its users to do otherwise.

I hope Logos weighs its messaging more carefully in the future. Or if they already are weighing it carefully, I hope they just flat out stop this kind of messaging.

So as to not make this forum post any longer, I elaborate here.

Abram K-J: Pastor, Writer, Freelance Editor, Youth Ministry Consultant
Blog: Words on the Word

Posts 1602
Deacon Steve | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Feb 1 2015 3:46 PM

Faithlife is a business.  They are using their resources to promote their product.  I didn't see anything in the post that is promoting financial irresponsibility.

I'm pretty sure you can opt out of mailing if they are offensive to you.

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Denise | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Feb 1 2015 3:49 PM

This thread seems a bit 'below the belt'.  Using a Logos site to criticize a blog while pointing to your own blog.

Chutzpah?

(And what did you expect the less than wealthy to do in the absence of a payment plan?  I thought Logos might be theologically helping them study early.)


Posts 341
Abram K-J | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Feb 1 2015 4:02 PM

Denise--not my intention to be below the belt, nor to promote my blog. The full text of what I wrote is below the line on this post, so people can skip the hyperlink and read the content--I just didn't want to start a conversation with tons of text.

Is Logos/Faithlife above reproach or something? This is a perfectly good use of the forums.

Steve, yes, I know, I know. I can unsubscribe, quit reading, etc. Saying, "That means you only pay a fraction up front, pay for the rest over time, and start using your new software right away" promotes fiscal irresponsibility, especially when it costs you more to do so, yet what is highlighted is "interest-free" (ha!).

I consider myself an invested user--and I really object (on theological grounds, which is of concern to a business run by Christians) to both of the approaches (#2 and #4) in their original post, which pop up frequently.

What do I hope to accomplish? Honestly, I'm curious to hear if others feel the same, but regardless, I hope Faithlife lays back on the "you must have more at all costs, even if you have to buy now and pay later" mentality. They're a business, but with core values that should be better informing how they market.

---------

The Logos promo/blog post has gone too far in trying to convince people to override their objections to spend more:

2. I already have enough books.

Even if you think you’ll never read through everything in your library, adding more books will make it more powerful and increase the value of the books you already own.

In other words, “If you buy more books to search, you’ll have more books to search.”

Logos: do we not already succumb enough to an insufficiency mentality in the world? I don’t have enough. I need to have more. My Bible study and teaching prep is good, but if I just had that one more commentary series, life would be awesome!

I’m as guilty of this mentality as anyone (probably more so)–and I want to fight it. Bible software marketing copy that taps into the culturally-rooted materialism that Christians are supposed to stand against? Not okay.

One other “reason” gave me pause:

4. I can’t afford a new base package.

If a base package isn’t in your budget right now, you have a couple of options.

You can take advantage of interest-free payment plans and spread out the cost over up to 24 months. That means you only pay a fraction up front, pay for the rest over time, and start using your new software right away.

Let me help with the rewrite:

If a base package isn’t in your budget right now, you have one option: don’t buy one right now.

“Our mission is to serve the church,” you say. How does enabling and even encouraging churchgoers and pastors to take on new debt serve the church?

I think it’s time for some serious evaluation of the sort of marketing mantras that (however unintentionally) undermine Kingdom values of sufficiency and wise financial stewardship and promote instead the harmful values of incessant accumulation and overspending.

Saying, “What I have is enough,” and curbing credit-card-style overspending are actually two excellent reasons not to upgrade to Logos 6.

Abram K-J: Pastor, Writer, Freelance Editor, Youth Ministry Consultant
Blog: Words on the Word

Posts 341
Abram K-J | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Feb 1 2015 4:09 PM

Denise:

(And what did you expect the less than wealthy to do in the absence of a payment plan?  I thought Logos might be theologically helping them study early.)

Um... how about not buy? The "wealthy" who can buy all at once spend less than the "less than wealthy"--whose payment plan costs them more in total.

Abram K-J: Pastor, Writer, Freelance Editor, Youth Ministry Consultant
Blog: Words on the Word

Posts 10178
Denise | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Feb 1 2015 4:34 PM

'How about not buy?'  Now that's even more below the belt.  I'll tell you why.

In my younger years, I was dirt poor.  Put myself through college working at Red Lobster.  Hard to believe.  But Sears sold me a BW TV on credit.  When I had no credit.  I was thankful for that.  Now, that was a TV.

Logos is not a TV.  If you think it's not worth it to the less well-off, but it's worth to you, then something's wrong.  Theologically wrong.  Payment plans are often the only solution.


Posts 475
Brian W. Davidson | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Feb 1 2015 5:03 PM

I don't think this post is below the belt at all. I think it makes a valid point. I love Logos, but based on my experience their marketing puts a bad taste in the mouths of many people.

Posts 570
Schumitinu | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Feb 1 2015 5:06 PM

I do agree with Abram K-J. First I just thought it is "American". And by the way, it does come across as intrusive to non-Americans to the point that they stay away. To be honest, if somebody for the first time gets introduced to Logos and for example watches the "what's new" videos and constantly gets hit by Faithlife's selling approach, it causes you (at least non-Americans) to stay away.

But as Abram points out, I don't think it is just an American selling strategy. It does undermine important Christian values. Depending on one's personality it might even further greed, wanting to have more and more books. And that is not what a Bible study software should deliver. It is not just about gaining knowledge etc. it is about an encounter with God. Now I know that we are personally responsible for how we respond to whatever comes across our ways. And I also want to point out that despite Faithlife's selling strategy their prices are more than fair, they give us great deals. But as a Christian company, being a business or not, I too would appreciate Faithlife to reconsider the way they market their products.

Posts 2467
Lee | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Feb 1 2015 5:11 PM

To me, the marketing hype had crossed a line of tastefulness a while back. I don't see that it has crossed a theological line.

Posts 10178
Denise | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Feb 1 2015 5:34 PM

Sorry, kiddos.  I've been a noisy critic of Logos marketing for a long time.

But I'd put this thread far worse.  Using someone else's platform to market your own blog.  And implying it's theologically inappropriate to use a pay plan.


Posts 341
Abram K-J | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Feb 1 2015 5:58 PM

Denise:

Using someone else's platform to market your own blog. 

I can't tell if you're baiting me or if you just didn't read my reply to you when you said this once before.

Denise:

And implying it's theologically inappropriate to use a pay plan.

I can't tell if you're baiting me or if you just didn't read anything I wrote about this. But to be clear--I'm not talking about a payment plan as such. I'm talking about (a) the aggressive marketing of a payment plan (b) which really targets the people who can least afford it (c) when this is done by a company that espouses (and sells resources that espouse) virtues like good stewardship, spend only what you have, etc.

Logos just said, "I can’t afford a new base package" is specifically not a reason to upgrade--something that "shouldn't stop you." (And they say that often.) I'm saying--payment plan or not, if you can't afford it, you can't afford it. And Logos shouldn't try to convince you otherwise. It's not appropriate.

Sears? Sure--but that's a company with (presumably) a different set of core values when it comes to worldview, perspective on money, etc.

Abram K-J: Pastor, Writer, Freelance Editor, Youth Ministry Consultant
Blog: Words on the Word

Posts 341
Abram K-J | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Feb 1 2015 6:00 PM

Schumitinu:

I do agree with Abram K-J. First I just thought it is "American". And by the way, it does come across as intrusive to non-Americans to the point that they stay away. To be honest, if somebody for the first time gets introduced to Logos and for example watches the "what's new" videos and constantly gets hit by Faithlife's selling approach, it causes you (at least non-Americans) to stay away.

But as Abram points out, I don't think it is just an American selling strategy. It does undermine important Christian values. Depending on one's personality it might even further greed, wanting to have more and more books. And that is not what a Bible study software should deliver. It is not just about gaining knowledge etc. it is about an encounter with God. Now I know that we are personally responsible for how we respond to whatever comes across our ways. And I also want to point out that despite Faithlife's selling strategy their prices are more than fair, they give us great deals. But as a Christian company, being a business or not, I too would appreciate Faithlife to reconsider the way they market their products.

A helpful perspective--and put well.

Abram K-J: Pastor, Writer, Freelance Editor, Youth Ministry Consultant
Blog: Words on the Word

Posts 475
Brian W. Davidson | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Feb 1 2015 6:01 PM

Denise:

Sorry, kiddos.  I've been a noisy critic of Logos marketing for a long time.

But I'd put this thread far worse.  Using someone else's platform to market your own blog.  And implying it's theologically inappropriate to use a pay plan.

Abram's blog gets plenty of hits. He doesn't need to market it. This is a ridiculous, unfounded accusation. You disagree with his perspective, and that's fine, but don't be a jackass.

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Rich DeRuiter | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Feb 1 2015 6:30 PM

Abram K-J:

I really think Logos needs to reconsider these sorts of approaches in marketing--i.e., stop advertising how it enables overspending and quit encouraging the continuous accumulation of more and more and more and more books. I see this kind of angle from Logos over and over--this particular post came to me in an email yesterday, but it's just one of many.

Whatever happened to sufficiency mentality and only spending what you have?

I'm sorry. Logos markets to adults. If adults can't control their spending because of assertive advertising, the problem isn't with the advertising.

 Help links: WIKI;  Logos 6 FAQ. (Phil. 2:14, NIV)

Posts 10178
Denise | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Feb 1 2015 6:41 PM

Sorry Brian, but you need to study your LXX a little more.

First, you made an unfounded assertion (his motives) to offset what you suggested was my unfounded assertion.  But you did not notice the third which was the point where you could use help from the LXX .... his unfounded assertion.  

But ignoring that, junior high boy's name calling?  You thought it worked?


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Matthew C Jones | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Feb 1 2015 7:24 PM

Brian W. Davidson:

I don't think this post is below the belt at all. I think it makes a valid point. I love Logos, but based on my experience their marketing puts a bad taste in the mouths of many people.

Is it ever the right thing to do for a church to finance a building program?  How about the OP spending his blog space correcting the theological errors of the church-at-large before he attacks a for-profit private company? Next thing you know he will be correcting  the forum posters. 

Logos 7 Collectors Edition

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Matthew C Jones | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Feb 1 2015 8:00 PM

Abram K-J:
I'm saying--payment plan or not, if you can't afford it, you can't afford it. And Logos shouldn't try to convince you otherwise. It's not appropriate.

I hope you don't have a house mortgage or a car payment.  

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Bruce Dunning | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Feb 1 2015 8:03 PM

When I read the original blog it didn't bother me although I think I see what Abram is trying to say. Certainly there is a fine line in marketing between encouraging people to make a purchase but not encouraging them to overspend. I think the responsibility is not so much with the company (Faithlife) as it is with each individual.

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Lynden Williams | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Feb 1 2015 8:33 PM

Brian W. Davidson:
Abram's blog gets plenty of hits. He doesn't need to market it. This is a ridiculous, unfounded accusation. You disagree with his perspective, and that's fine, but don't be a jackass.

Brian, there are different synonyms for a donkey. Calling someone one of them (the one you used) is very offensive to some people. It may go well if you edit your post and use a different word.

Everything ever written in Religion and Theology formatted for Logos Bible Software.Logos Youtube Channel

Posts 80
Paul | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Feb 1 2015 8:34 PM

Consumerism risks making the Bible as another product for consumption; commentaries collection can become idols if these books are for building ego instead of helping us closer to God.

In consumerism, freedom is often equated with consumer's choice; and the consumer's need are unlimited and insatiable (Craig Bartholomew. Christ and Consumerism. http://www.reformationalpublishingproject.com/pdf_books/Scanned_Books_PDF/ChristandConsumerism.pdf) As we build our collection of books, we risk being enslaved by our consumerist instinct while forgetting the kingdom's perspective. 

My collection of Logos book is not small. Each time I spent another $200 on a new commentary series, I could have given the same amount of money to my church or to a charitable organization or to someone in need. 

As much as I enjoy Logos the software, I am saddened by its aggressive tactics. I don't think this is to their benefit in the long run because the company will start losing the good will of the users. Because they are behaving more like an aggressive profit seeking company rather than a Christian organization, more and more they will be treated as such by their customers.

When I use Logos, I turn off all their ads so that I can focus on the spiritual fruit of the Word without materialistic commercial distraction. 

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