Sunday, August 24, 2008

10 Lessons to learn from Political Marketing

I look at the longest Presidential in U.S. history with two perspectives, personal and professional.

As a student of marketing, teacher of marketing and professional marketer, I have a few observations to pass along that can help you market yourself and your business:

  1. Victories are won one battle at a time. Hillary Clinton was the presumptive nominee when this battle began. The first contest in Iowa was won by the new kid on the block. Obama had 38%, Edwards 30%, and Clinton 29%. On the Republican side Huckabee had 35% followed by Romney, Thompson and McCain. 5 days later the New Hampshire Primary had Clinton and McCain on top.
  2. Focus on your Strengths. Both Obama and McCain were non-traditional. Obama stressed his youth and lack of "Washington-insider status". McCain highlighted his war record as a POW and as a maverick in Washington.
  3. Be Prepared for Attacks from your Competition. Consumers always have a choice to do business with you, or with someone else. Some of your competitors will stress why they are a better choice than you. If you know your competition, you will be better prepared to position yourself to your customers.
  4. Your customers are Smarter than you give them credit for. Many of the people that voted in the primaries did their homework before they voted. With the Internet, people are checking you out too!
  5. Your customers are not as Smart as you give them credit for. Well, how else do you explain the rumors, ignorance and that many of the electorate still believe about the candidates? And your customers, no matter how much branding you do, will not really pay attention until they need your product or service.
  6. You need to develop a brand and do a branding campaign. Even though your new customers may not spend money with you until months (or years). Top of Mind Awareness will help you stand out in a crowded field of choices.
  7. Embrace technology. Obama used it repeatedly. Your customers are using it. You MUST use it.
  8. Your customers matter more than you do. It's the classic question, "What's In It For Me?" that voters and customers want to know.
  9. Feelings matter. People want to buy from businesses that they feel good about. Candidates have been working their butts off to touch the voters hearts and arouse passion. You should too.
  10. Admit your mistake, apologize and move forward. Stubbornness creates ill will. Making things right creates good will.

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