Bill Wallo has a very good post/essay on the both the marketing of Purpose Driven Life and the controversy surrounding Greg Stielstra’s book Pyro Marketing being held up by the PDL folk. From his Conclusions:
Well, first of all, it has to be said that I can’t see any legitimate reason for Warren to hold up publication of Stielstra’s book. It is arguably a metaphor for the way people actually behave in regard to products they feel passionate about, and no matter what the “template” might be, passionate consumers are an integral part of the equation. Whether Warren wants PDL to be associated with “marketing” or not, it is clearly legitimate for Stielstra and others to extrapolate whatever principles they want from his success. Perhaps Warren ought to simply be happy that Stielstra chose to regard his empassioned consumers as “glowing coals” and not, as Wipperfurth does, like religious cultists sipping Kool-Aid.
However, I think we also need to be very careful in characterizing the success of PDL as the “result” of marketing, as if it were the marketing, rather than the individual consumers involved, which was truly responsible for what went on here. What Stielstra is suggesting is that companies ought to avoid traditional splashy advertising and try to connect with the people who are actually interested in their product; doing so is not manipulation but rather a fairly honest admission.