As I am on the treadmill doing my workout I happen to have CNN playing in front of me. Pretty hard to not get sucked into all of the political talk right now, as we head into the “Super Tuesday” primaries. No doubt it will be interesting to see how it all plays out, and for us in Illinois, we still have another 2 weeks to go before our own primary elections. So needless to say, the amount of marketing that the various campaigns have in play is pretty amazing.
The difference between the Presidential race and the local elections when it comes to marketing is dramatic. It seems like for the most part the contenders on the national stage are relying on personal appearances and the debates, along with a fairly strong social media presence. For state and local politicians, direct mail seems to be the much more dominant form of marketing. Yes we have a good amount of “robo” phone calls, but I am pretty sure that most everyone hangs up on these as soon as they can!
As I take a look at all of the marketing efforts by the politicians, I will make a few observations. The first one is that if you want to be successful in politics, you had better be successful at marketing too! One cannot be hesitant or laid back – you only have a limited time to make your point, so those campaigns that have their message spread across all forms of media and actually look to engage their followers will have the best chance to secure the votes. Businesses – especially small ones, should make note of this and learn that increasing their efforts, not cutting back, is what will make a difference in future growth.
There is an area where I think the politicians could do better though, and learn from some of the more recent marketing trends. For the most part, political marketing is all about them. This is “who I am, this is what I have done, this is what I will do – what I stand for!” It is very much a push form of advertising. Over the last several years, the common marketing trend has very much been to shift to a pull method – where you invite prospects to learn more about you in ways that are more friendly. This could be especially useful for a candidate to make available information on how they intend to do all the things they say they will do. Educated prospects and/or voters make your best supporters, and ones that will be willing to share your story.
The last observation is with regard to budgets. Wow… wouldn’t it be nice to have the marketing budgets that some of the politicians have? Think of how we could increase our reach with the benefit of a strong campaign. What if as a business we could develop such strong endorsements from our happy and satisfied clients that they would actually make a contribution towards a marketing campaign? Oh… wait a minute… they actually do that now when they buy our products and services! In the end, if we take care of our clients, then they will take care of us (and if you are a politician, help you get elected)!