What Politics Can Teach Us About Marketing
1. Messages that don’t reverberate with your audience open the door to your competitors
In Politics: This is reflected in the increasing number of voters leaving the major parties and registering as “independents.”
In the Market: This is reflected by the increasing difficulty of creating and maintaining customer satisfaction, brand loyalty, and ROI.
No matter how big the advertising budget, no matter how often the slogans are repeated, no matter how much the competition is denigrated, if the message has lost its ability to resonate with your audience – or to reflect their reality on the ground – you lose customers, market share, and profits.
2. It’s getting harder to control the message
In Politics: The 24 hour news cycle, multiple cable news channels, talk radio, and an ever-growing number of political blogs and viral emails make it almost impossible to successfully “spin” bad news, correct errors, or diminish unfavorable reporting.
In the Market: Social media, blogs, email, and instant messaging make it almost impossible to control a product review or your company image. Word of mouth has been amplified a hundred-fold. And it is accessible 24/7.
Worse, in both business and politics, mixed messages have become the fodder of bloggers and pundits.
3. Marketing is getting harder
With an evolving marketplace of increasingly sophisticated customers – both political and in business – the old tried and true PR practices and principles have lost their effectiveness. With ever-multiplying mechanisms for getting information, and the blurred line between fact and opinion, politicians and corporate marketers who rely on the lessons of the past do so at their peril.
So what to do? Let’s get back to basics:
Speak with a consistent voice. What you are saying on your blog or YouTube posting, for example, should be consistent with all the other ways you interact with customers and prospects.
Align your messages with the reality your customers see.
Live up to the commitments you make – or imply – to your customers. Empty slogans are worse than useless. They destroy your credibility – for today, and for tomorrow.
And, by the way, these basic marketing concepts work for both politics and business.