The Greatest Marketing Tool Ever Written
By Bernard Beck
Hamilton Books, 2010, 136 pages
Reviewed by Israel Drazin - March 14, 2011
Whether people are convinced that the Bible was revealed to the Israelites by God some four thousand years ago or think it was composed by humans over a period of time and finally compiled and edited around 400 BCE, they can enjoy this thought-provoking book. Bernard Beck, a marketing consultant for fifteen years, asks: what made the ancient Bible such an enduring book that people of widely different faiths still find it relevant, meaningful, and inspiring?
He suggests that the Bible uses sharp and effective marketing techniques, techniques recommended today by top marketing authorities. He states: "The way marketing communications are presented is very important in determining their effectiveness…. Ideally the message should (attract) attention, hold interest, arouse desire, and elicit action." He shows how the Bible does this and how it convinces readers that its laws are rational.
The Bible is the first law code that includes narratives. The narratives are crafted to convey the desired messages. Readers are attracted to the biblical characters and relate to them because they "are intellectual, and have the appearance of wealth and/or success." Abraham is a perfect leader because, beside these attributes, he, like most Bible readers, is also vulnerable. He is a person to whom they can and want to relate. The stories draw readers' interest. The first biblical drama, the Garden of Eden, is a "most effective potboiler – sex, intrigue, and violence." And after capturing the readers' interest, the narrative offers a message. The story of Abraham draws readers who relate to him, toward the moral of the tale: they become "convinced of the strength and goodness of God."
Beck shows how the stories and laws are presented in an effective order that encourages acceptance. For example, the first biblical laws are rules that are relatively easy to accept and add a feeling of enjoyment, such as the Sabbath. It is no surprise that the Ten Commandments, an early set of rules, make no harsh demands on daily life.
In summary, Beck offers his readers a novel approach to how the Bible should be understood. Whether one agrees in whole or in part, readers will gain much from this thought-provoking presentation.