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MARKETING TIPS FROM THE ELECTION – PART I

November 9, 2012

It’s finally over!  President Obama won the election by a razor-thin margin. Although you may not be spending two billion dollars on your marketing campaigns, I think there are six key marketing lessons from this election that you can apply to your business. Here are the first three:

Know who is buying your product. When this nation elected its first president, voters (buyers) were all white male property owners. Today, voters are much more likely to be renters, black, Asian, Hispanic, young and old, and female. I don’t need to review the massive demographic shifts that shaped the outcome of this election (every news organization has already done this). But the question for you is: How well do you know your potential customer?  The longer a business is successful, the more entrenched they become in believing the same people are buying. A big mistake. Your market is always changing and what your customer values is changing too.  And by the way, it’s also not a good idea to disparage 47% of your potential customer base by telling them they are basically lazy, good for nothing slackers.

Don’t let others define you. Before Romney had the money to defend himself, the Obama campaign spent $100 million in unanswered attack ads from May through July. If you allow your competitor to define you, you’ll spend too much money re-defining (re-introducing) your product to your customer, instead of talking about the “benefits” of your product. A good offense is always better than a good defense in advertising.

Don’t believe in conventional wisdom. Conventional political strategy says you start a campaign slowly with a positive message and save money for the final push. As I just pointed out, President Obama’s campaign manager Jim Messina shaped voters’ impressions with a ton of negative ads early on, way before Romney had the money to respond. As you head into 2013, don’t simply repeat what you did this year, following your own conventional wisdom. Challenge your team to explore new ideas and approaches.

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