While I was away, Mike Rinder wrote a blog entry entitled “Survey: What Impinges — Results“. I’ve got a lot to say about this, so much that I’m going to split it into two blog entries.
Today, I want to talk about the significance of surveys in Scientology marketing. I know, that sounds like a boring college thesis, but I think L. Ron Hubbard’s own polices on the matter provide convincing evidence that he intended Scientology to be first and foremost a money-making venture. Read today’s entry and decide for yourself.
Next time I’ll post part two, about the results of Mike’s survey and what we as protesters can take from it. There’s a lot of good information that can help us get our own message out.
Surveys and Scientology marketing
Surveys are an integral part of Scientology. Why is a so-called religion so concerned with surveys? LRH gave the answer in an executive directive (ED) entitled “SURVEYS ARE THE KEY TO STATS”.
“You and your org[anization] are involved in exchanging valuables for valuables. You offer a valuable service in return for valuable money… So in surveying you are in actual fact seeking to know WHAT SERVICE THAT YOU CAN DO WILL PEOPLE CONSIDER VALUABLE ENOUGH TO GIVE MONEY OR VALUABLES FOR.” [Emphasis in original] — LRH
ED 161 Int, 18 December 1971, SURVEYS ARE THEY KEY TO STATS
So far, this sounds like good business sense. A bit dodgy for a religion, maybe, but fair enough. But LRH carried things further. His idea was to survey to find out what people needed, then sell them Scientology as the answer — whatever their problems were:
“The primary thing you get from your survey is a ‘button’. This is the answer that was given the most number of times to your survey question. In the case of the most recent national surveys that button is HAPPINESS. You want to get HAPPINESS across in your promo. […]
“‘Learn about HAPPINESS – Come to our intro lecture.'” — LRH
HCO PL 13 July 1972R, SURVEY BUTTONS AND PROMO
Why not just sell the philosophies of Scientology? Because LRH knew that if the average Joe were told about the actual practices, he’d think they were nuts. Better to be vague, LRH said, and conceal the craziness:
“Some student can make his whole audience depart by talking about past lives and OT states when if he explained that people often led sad lives after a family member died he might have an awed audience.” — LRH
SURVEYS ARE THE KEY TO STATS
Of course, he didn’t want to make it sound like Scientology was crazy; rather, it was the rest of the world that had gone nuts, and Scientologists that had to adjust to our wacky behavior. Again, from SURVEYS ARE THE KEY TO STATS:
“If there was ever a way to ‘win friends and influence people’, this is it. We as Scientologists are continually jolted by the primitive nature of the general populace around us. So by establishing the local Reality and Tone we can at least present ourselves and our product in such a way as to be accepted.” — LRH
Scientology marketing before “survey tech”
Even before LRH developed his “survey tech,” he was looking for ways to convince people that Scientology was the answer to their problems, regardless of what their problems actually were. In 1959, he got the idea that salesman would make great Scientology prospects:
“We should run an ad for salesmen… as follows: ;Treble your selling record – Communication is the key. Free course in how to communicate to people.’
“A salesman is a sucker for a salestalk…they’ll buy any high pressure salestalk ad about increasing sales by learning communication. It is a tailor made cynch.” — LRH
HCO Bulletin of 21 September, 1959, AN IDEA FOR PROMOTION
And salesmen weren’t the only “suckers” targeted by LRH. From HCO Bulletin of 15 September 1959, DISSEMINATION TIPS:
“The best ad to date on actual test is ‘No matter how bad your problem is, something can be done about it, phone . . .'” — LRH
Later, LRH developed his “survey tech” to better zero in on what people were looking for. You can see this in modern Scientology advertising. Last year, Scientology did a series of video ads entitled Life, You, and The Search (YouTube links). Don’t be surprised if they strike a chord, because they were written based on surveys of people like you and me.
Bring them in at all costs
With all of LRH’s ads, you’ll note that there are no answers, only the promise of an answer. The purpose of Scientology ads has always been to get prospects to come into a Scientology organization where they can be hard-sold a course or a book.
“DISSEMINATION BY MEANS OF PURVEYING A LITTLE PIECE OR SEVERAL LITTLE PIECES OF TECH (to answer questions, show how a person’s problem could be handled, show how the mind works, etc.) ENDS THE CYCLE AND TERMINATES THE REACH. DISSEMINATION BY MEANS OF “COME-ON” STRENGTHENS THE REACH AND LITERALLY PULLS THE PERSON IN.” [Emphasis in original]
“If we tell him there is something to know and don’t tell him what it is we will zip people into Div[ision] 6 [the group that markets Scientology to new prospects] and on into the org…You channel by indicating where and how to get the data – never just GIVE the data.
“Reach gets blunted or terminated once a person gets his question answered, the solution to his problem, etc… keep the prospect’s appetite for knowledge and mystery well stimulated and channel the person right along so that he will and does become an actual Scientologist.” — LRH
HCO PL 25 June 1978, COME-ON DISSEMINATION
I’ve given you a lot of information and thrown a lot of LRH quotes at you, so let’s take a moment to process.
LRH is talking about sales. Find out what people want. Run ads that pique their interest based on what they are looking for — not on the features or benefits of Scientology products. Don’t talk about what Scientology actually teaches, because they won’t believe it (and by the way, that’s their problem, not ours), but rather just get them in and sell them something. Don’t ever give them the answers, just keep stringing them along so they buy more and more and more. And when they reach the end – OT8 – tell them the only way to get the next set of answers (the as-yet unreleased OT9 and OT10) is to bring in even more people.
What other religion works that way? None that I can think of.
What businesses work that way? A hell of a lot.
And if you have any doubt as to LRH’s true intentions, check out this one final quote from the original version of SURVEYS ARE THE KEY TO STATS:
“An example is an AO [Advanced Organization] that got fat selling OT VII to old customers and neglected promotion to get new customers… So surveys of old customers and new customers have to be done.” — LRH
What legitimate religion refers to its parishioners as “customers?” None that I can think of.