Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Marketing and Politics

Maybe you're a political junkie, maybe you find politics boring or distasteful. If you have any interest in effective marketing, politics is something you need to pay attention to. Why? It's the ultimate marketing competition. You not only have to influence people to choose your product over several others, you have to influence them to make that choice on a specific date, and you only get one shot at it.

Presidential politics is the Olympics of marketing. Imagine if you had only one day to sell your product and it only came around once every four years. Not only that, but you're facing competition and only one of you can secure the sale. The rest wait another four years or leave the competition.

From a marketing perspective, you'll gain more valuable insights by watching each candidate and looking for what they're doing right, regardless of your political leanings. Are they connecting with their target audience? Why? How? What venues are they having success with? How are they using the news media to advance their campaign?

Barak Obama is having great success recently. Part of that may stem from his constant use of the word "we" rather than "I" or "me". His supporters are made to feel like they are a part of the movement. It remains to be seen how this will play with independents, libertarians and Republicans. But for the audience he's addressing right now, it's a winner.

This is one example of how it pays to know your audience. Of course you don't want to go too far in specifically appealing to a portion of the market, if it's going to turn off the general audience. If you were marketing a niche product, it would be a different story, but the President has to appeal to general audiences.

There is no "shoe-in" this time around. Campaigns and candidates will have to develop and execute excellent marketing strategies to succeed. Watch and learn.

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