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What We Can Learn From The Election Campaigns

I read an excellent post this morning that was written by Uriah Av-Ron on critical things to do in digital marketing – for that matter marketing in general. Whoever you supported in the presidential election I think you will agree that Senator, now President-Elect Obama ran a very good campaign, connected with his key supporters and raised a record amount of money for his campaign

Mr. Av-Ron offers 5 suggestions.

  1. Maintain a consistent brand message
  2. Use Social Networking and other means to talk to your customers and allow them to talk to you
  3. Address customer pains – keep in short, relevant and consistent
  4. Seek out new market opportunities
  5. Implement strategy with tactics – all tactics must tie back to an overall strategy

Have a plan. Change it slightly if and when you need to but maintain an overall plan, measure the results and stick to it.

I copied the entire article below.

Until next time – All the best!



What We Can Learn From The Election Campaigns
by Uriah Av-Ron, Thursday, Nov 13, 2008 7:32 AM ET

As a U.S. citizen, I am inspired by this election process which culminated in President-elect Barack Obama’s historic victory. And as a publicist working in digital marketing, I found a lot of valuable learning experiences from his campaign that are extremely relevant to online marketers.

1. Maintain a consistent brand message
In this election year, when a campaign could edit and upload a video to YouTube in less than an hour, Obama showed a level of consistency of message that is unprecedented. Though the Obama team did respond to challenges and opportunities from Sen. John McCain’s campaign, the overlying message of change was consistent throughout.
This consistency was accentuated in the final month of the campaign by McCain’s inconsistency following the financial crisis on Wall Street. First McCain stopped his campaign to take care of the crisis, and then flip-flopped by participating in the first debate a week before Congressional bailout plan was passed. Even Obama’s even-tempered disposition during the three presidential debates stood in stark contrast to McCain’s tempo, facial expressions and pacing.
In reviewing some of Obama’s initial online videos uploaded onto YouTube from early 2007 and 2008. The messaging theme of “change” was already evident in these early videos.
By maintaining a consistent message, Obama also managed to deflect some of the challenges to his campaign, including his lack of executive experience and his association with William Ayres.
As marketers, we all too often have the urge to change something — a tagline, ad creative, a messaging point — with something newer. But as we can learn from the Obama’s campaign, in this case, change isn’t necessarily a good thing.

2. Use of Social Networking
We keep hearing that social networking websites are only good for branding campaigns, yet Obama raised much of his $600 million war chest using social networking. That’s quite a result for an ad vehicle that’s not supposed to generate results.
I suspect the secret here is in inspiring passion. The challenge for most marketers is that the products or services we are marketing don’t inspire passion among the masses. But even if our products or services don’t inspire passion, we can all find a way to tie our products or services to ideas that do inspire passion. For example, for a client in online publishing, I’m pitching a charity drive where monies are raised and donated to support literacy. A component of this effort should involve having my client’s employees become personally involved in a literacy outreach. There is nothing like the inspiration derived from helping a little boy or girl learn to read.
But a charity campaign is only one way. There are many ways to inspire passion in our customers and communities. And as good marketers, it’s up to us to figure out ways to inspire passion.

3. Address customer pains
I watched Obama’s response to President George W. Bush’s State of the Union Address from January of this year on YouTube where he referred to a sagging economy and problems in the banking system. Though Obama didn’t make the economy the main issue of his campaign before September, he clearly understood the importance of economy in the election. And of course, Americans were ripe for change.
In contrast, McCain focused on a range of issues including Iraq and earmarks, which did not resonate with enough Americans.
So when was the last time you spoke with one of your customers? I have learned some of my best marketing lessons from conversations with customers. Marketers should speak at least once per week (if not more) with customers.

4. Seek out new market opportunities
The two main ways to increase sales are to (a) increase your share of the market, and (b) to look for new markets where you can increase your sales. But how many of us expected to see Indiana in the list of markets Obama would pursue?
One of the reasons cited for the Obama campaign’s primary victory over Senator Hillary Clinton is the presence of an Obama organization in almost every state. Obama used this organizational advantage to win most of the primaries held immediately after Super Tuesday. He then took the lead in the delegate race and never looked back.
Again in the national election, Obama had strong organizational networks in place in a number of states that had voted for President George W. Bush in 2004, including Virginia, Indiana, Florida and North Carolina. These efforts enabled registering millions of voters and encouraging them to get out and vote.
So how can marketers tap into new markets? There are no easy answers here, but it takes an open mind that’s willing to look in unconventional places and through partnerships that enable opening new market opportunities.

5. Implement strategy with tactics
In difficult economic times, there is a tendency to forgo strategy and focus on tactics. But the best tactics are an extension and implementation of a properly defined strategy.
Obama focused on a consistent message centered on a strategy of change and utilized defensive tactics to marginalize McCain’s challenges in the face of his own messaging.
In the final month and a half of the campaign, McCain focused exclusively on a range of changing tactics in attempt to improve his poll numbers.
Specifically in the current economic climate, digital marketers need to define strategies that will carry them through the next couple of years and develop tactical plans that will enable them to deliver according to the strategy.
In his concession speech, McCain showed his dignity and humility which have characterized the bipartisan spirit of his tenure in the U.S. Senate. Just maybe, that tone, tempo and messaging, minus a Wall Street crisis, could have brought about a different result.
Av-Ron is the founder/partner of www.oasis-pr.com, an Internet & technology-focused PR agency.

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