When Bible Software Marketing Crosses a Theological Line

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Feb 1 2015 11:33 PM

Abram K-J:

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

And you know this how? My experience with a college strongly supported by Sears, while admitted very old new, would belie this statement.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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David Roberts | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Feb 2 2015 12:13 AM

Rich DeRuiter:

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.

I totally agree with you and disagree at the same time.

I agree because personally I totally loathe the nanny state worldview where one group of adults treats other adults like immature children.

Do we really want to condescend to other adults like they're weak out of control drug addicts with no self control or personal responsibility?

Yet Biblical we know are our brother's keepers, especially of fellow Christians.

We've all heard sermons on 1 Corinthians 8:9

The sad fact is there really is severely broken people in the world who need others to help them,

but how many of these severely broken people are Logos customers? Seriously?

Is that really the argument? That some people in massive debt are so addicted to Logos, that they're going to make their families suffer just to buy a new base package? 

I would suspect what would be far more likely is people who don't manage their finances well will often buy things not foreseeing that they're not in a position to buy those products.

That would be far more common that addiction in my opinion, though I'd love to hear others' thoughts on it.

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David Roberts | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Feb 2 2015 12:16 AM

Paul Lee:

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. 

How do you do that?

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JohnB | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Feb 2 2015 12:41 AM

Rich DeRuiter:
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.

My thoughts entirely.

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Feb 2 2015 1:15 AM

Rich DeRuiter:
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.

Well, given the number of adults in this thread who can't control their tongues ... come on, name calling in a discussion which per its title belongs on christiandiscourse; per its logic implies that the Logos base package should include

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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Veli Voipio | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Feb 2 2015 1:54 AM

My goal is to stay savvy and healthy as long as possible. One month in a nursing home may cost 5000 dollars here. If I spend 100 dollars for a book and read it, I'll postpone my entry to the nursing home for one month. Thus I save 4900 dollars every time when I add a book to my Logos library.

Another issue is that I may sell it after 20 years and get some money or just donate it to a 3rd world student and be happy.

Gold package, and original language material and ancient text material, SIL and UBS books, discourse Hebrew OT and Greek NT. PC with Windows 8.1

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Jack Caviness | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Feb 2 2015 3:43 AM

Paul Lee:
they are behaving more like an aggressive profit seeking company rather than a Christian organization

There may be organizations that are run by Christians, but there is not such thing as a "Christian organization".

Logos is a for-profit business that is run by professing Christians. If they do not make a profit, we have no resources to purchase.

Here in the States we have a name for a non-aggressive for profit company. It is usually called unprofitable of even bankrupt.

Posts 353
Virgil Buttram | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Feb 2 2015 4:52 AM

I think that what some are missing is the distinction between a ministry and a business. Faithlife is a business, not a ministry, and should be evaluated as a business, not held to the standards of a ministry.

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Brian W. Davidson | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Feb 2 2015 5:00 AM

Denise was being a jerk, and that is all I was pointing out. Maybe I should have used that word instead. Wasn't trying to name call, but simply point out that you can disagree without being a jerk. I'm done with this thread. 

Posts 321
Rene Atchley | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Feb 2 2015 5:00 AM

Jack Caviness:

Paul Lee:
they are behaving more like an aggressive profit seeking company rather than a Christian organization

There may be organizations that are run by Christians, but there is not such thing as a "Christian organization".

Logos is a for-profit business that is run by professing Christians. If they do not make a profit, we have no resources to purchase.

Here in the States we have a name for a non-aggressive for profit company. It is usually called unprofitable of even bankrupt.

With this in the mind the greatest contribution of this business maybe the endless marketing campaign that never lets you forget just how limited your 3k library is.

Posts 64
Hermann Fritz | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Feb 2 2015 5:52 AM
Many times I have read through controversies in the forum. 
What I have seen here , has often left a sad impression. It reminds me of a Christian sports car driver I criticized
a few years ago because he was driving too fast in a residential area with kids.
I was friendly but clear in the matter, but he was aggressive
and did not accept the criticism.
Dear friends, we are all responsible to God, who is love.
I am convinced, HE wants to be the standard in every forum where Christians meet with their
discussants. I try to practice it in my daily life.
If we follow 1. Corithians 13, we all will have good guidelines for a controversial discussion.
So let us turn back. It would make me no pleasure to stay away from such debates entirely
because I would have to fear the sarcasm of brothers and sisters ...
Yes, we are adults. But are we also mature in Christ? After reading some of these posts,
I doubt it.

May our good God help and bless us.
Hermann
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Denise | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Feb 2 2015 6:01 AM

Well, Brian, you're making progress.  You're out of your junior high days and now into female vocabulary.  I would opine that the OP should have stuck with his blog and garner the wondrous traffic you mention.


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HJ. van der Wal | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Feb 2 2015 6:01 AM

Hermann, thank you for your post.

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Francis | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Feb 2 2015 6:12 AM

Delete.

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Paul | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Feb 2 2015 6:26 AM

Jack Caviness:

There may be organizations that are run by Christians, but there is not such thing as a "Christian organization".

Logos is a for-profit business that is run by professing Christians. If they do not make a profit, we have no resources to purchase.

Here in the States we have a name for a non-aggressive for profit company. It is usually called unprofitable of even bankrupt.

You are correct. I have learned that Logos is not a parachurch organization (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parachurch_organization) which places discipleship and missional responsibility over that of Mammon. It is so sad that selling Bible and theological works is no different from selling a latte or an IPad. 

I understand Logos need to make a profit to sustain its operation. However, overaggressiveness can be detrimental to its long term viability. There is a list of overaggressive companies that has forgotten their customers in the pursuit of profit. The list includes Lehman Brothers, Sunbeam, Arthur Anderson, Countrywide Financial. China is also very also aggressive too; and see what happened to her environment. Don't let materialistic pollution seep into our source of living water. 

"Greed is good", according to Gordon Gekko. Jesus warned, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions”. Who is right? 

Enrollment to seminaries and attendance to churches have unfortunately been decreasing. Potential customer base for Logos is constrained by this demographic reality. Two of the traditions that Logos try to market to- Lutheran and Anglicans- also suffer from significant attendance decline. Expanding into different traditions would likely have resulted in minimal increase in customer's base.  Logos tried to finance their expansion by extracting more sales from the existing customer base. In the meantime, other software companies are getting their act together.  These companies tend to focus more on the evangelical audience (which has suffered less attendance decline than mainline congregations), and they are able to offer better deals due to lower cost structure. The technological gap between the software engines of the new competitors and Logos has decreased.

Perhaps the following example is representative of Logos consumer behavior: I wanted to read Carson's Matthew commentary in the Expositor's Commentary but I wasn't interested in the rest of the volumes. The only option in Logos is to buy the whole set; and that's how I started branching out into other software programs. Later on, I wanted to read NIVAC volumes on the minor prophets: and I was able to get the whole set for less than $250 instead of Logos price. After I use these other programs, I realize that if I don't mind the minor inconvenience of using a combination of softwares, I will have access of the books I want at a substantial discount. Logos need to stop people like me from using multiple platforms by offering more competitive pricing. If Logos wants to be aggressive, the first thing they need to have to do is to lower their cost in doing business so that they can hold the competitors in check. Once their customers start diversifying their software engines, it will have long term consequence to its future growth prospect and viability. They will make more money in the long term if customers stay in Logos eco-system.

One day, after buying more and more books in Logos, I have an epiphany: "Knowledge puffs up while love builds up." Reading more books will not make me a better Christian if it all ends up in the head.  I want Logos to thrive; if they fail, it would be a real headache to access my books.  

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Abram K-J | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Feb 2 2015 7:25 AM

I completely agree with those who have said it’s the responsibility of the purchaser to wade through whatever marketing. No one has to do anything, we are all adults who can make our own decisions, etc.

But that doesn’t let Faithlife of the hook for how they market. It’s not as if they have no control over their messaging.

Business or not, “Christian organization” or not (if there is such a thing), Logos delivers Bible study products, so if, for example, one takes a biblical worldview to speak against the promotion of accumulating debt or a hoarder’s mentality, then my original points stand.

And if you want to take theology out of the question (not possible—but let’s pretend for a moment it is), how about evaluating Logos according to their own mission to “serve the church”? Constantly and aggressively encouraging churchgoers and pastors to deepen debt (with payment plans) does not do that. Note well: I wasn’t criticizing having a payment plan option—I’m saying the continual and aggressive mentioning of those payment plans (especially as an objection to, “But I really don’t have the money”) is what’s the matter. I believe that Logos really needs to tone that down.

And remember—my complaint is not about being for-profit, about spending money on marketing, but about Faithlife’s approach that specifically seeks to tear down common-sense and even the values-based reasons people have for not buying.

When I beta tested Logos 6 I thought: This is a cutting-edge approach (esp. the Interactives) that could be the future of Bible software that every other software tries to get on board with. But I suspect that, if they haven't already, Faithlife will discover this particular marketing approach to be counter-productive.

I simply have higher expectations for this organization.

I think Rene Atchley put it well: “…the endless marketing campaign that never lets you forget just how limited your 3k library is.”

Does anyone defending Logos here really not find that to be problematic?

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

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Lynden Williams | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Feb 2 2015 7:41 AM

Abram K-J:
I think Rene Atchley put it well: “…the endless marketing campaign that never lets you forget just how limited your 3k library is.”

Does anyone defending Logos here really not find that to be problematic?

No.

The way they tag the books (particularly since L6) it is easier for me to find the information in my library without even knowing what I have.

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

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Deacon Steve | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Feb 2 2015 7:41 AM

Abram K-J:

I completely agree with those who have said it’s the responsibility of the purchaser to wade through whatever marketing. No one has to do anything, we are all adults who can make our own decisions, etc.

          Yes

Abram K-J:

I think Rene Atchley put it well: “…the endless marketing campaign that never lets you forget just how limited your 3k library is.”

Does anyone defending Logos here really not find that to be problematic?

          I'm not 100% sure but I don't believe Rene is an employee of Faithlife, also that Rene's comments represent Faithlife's position.

          Maybe just turning off the marketing e-mails would be the best approach.

          Smile

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Veli Voipio | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Feb 2 2015 7:55 AM

From European viewpoint some American churches are sort of aggressively marketing and also raising considerable money. Maybe FL is just part of their culture?

Another issue is that often a critical person reveals more about himself/herself than of the target of criticism

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Rich DeRuiter | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Feb 2 2015 8:07 AM

Abram K-J:
Does anyone defending Logos here really not find that to be problematic?

I'm not defending Logos so much as suggesting that people who can't handle assertive advertising are the ones with the problem. Attacking the advertiser puts the shoe on the wrong foot. (IMHO, of course)

Abram K-J:
Business or not, “Christian organization” or not (if there is such a thing), Logos delivers Bible study products, so if, for example, one takes a biblical worldview to speak against the promotion of accumulating debt or a hoarder’s mentality, then my original points stand

I got the same email you did and respond to it quite differently. The 6 reasons are valid reasons for people who do have the financial capability to purchase more and would benefit from doing so. I hear these arguments against upgrading from pastors who do have generous book budgets (I'm not one of them). Logos' responses to those arguments seems like reasonable ones to me.

The point about payment plans can get people over their heads in debt, but they can also help someone who has a monthly book budget and needs to spread out the cost. Not everyone knows this is an option. I have used this option once or twice. It helped me purchase a resource (a commentary series) on sale, that I knew I would find helpful, but didn't have the money for at the time of the sale.

Abram K-J:
And remember—my complaint is not about being for-profit, about spending money on marketing, but about Faithlife’s approach that specifically seeks to tear down common-sense and even the values-based reasons people have for not buying

I don't see Faithlife tearing down anything, except a few bad arguments that don't necessarily apply (given one's particular situation). They don't discuss good reasons for not upgrading, but would you expect them to do that? I have my reasons for not upgrading beyond what I already did. These arguments do not persuade me, because they don't apply to my reasons for not purchasing more.

If a common sense and/or value-based approach can't stand up to advertising (of all things), it needs to be rebuilt on a firmer foundation. It's my job to manage my budget. It's Logos' job to increase sales. It's not my job help to do Logos' job (i.e., buy more, just because they tell me to). Nor is it Logos' job to do mine (live within my budget).

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

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