What Marketing Strategies Can Businesses Learn From This Presidential Election?

What Marketing Strategies Can Businesses Learn From This Presidential Election?

Easy answer: none.

With the Republican and Democratic conventions upon us, and the negativity approaching new heights (depths?) between Team Obama and Team Romney – as well as their surrogates in the media – a better question might be: what marketing strategies on display in Election 2012 should businesses avoid?

Both campaigns have accused each other of broadcasting lies, taking comments out of context and engaging in selective editing. Both claim the other plays on fear and voter cynicism. A campaign can prolong a negative news cycle with a slow-footed response. The Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision has given birth to so-called super PAC’s; they’ve muddied the waters more with ads that don’t really need to be broadcast anywhere – the mainstream media guarantees exposure for them with endless stories about the outrage they’ve generated.

So where are the positive marketing lessons in all of that?

  • If you can’t say something nice…Whether it’s a political opponent or a business competitor, going negative carries big risks. It’s okay to highlight differences, but humor and verifiable facts better be involved or the blowback could be substantial.
  • Rapid response in 3..2..1.. The James Carville/George Stephanopoulos team for the 1992 Clinton campaign turned quick rebuttals into an artform. A competitors’ outlandish claim or a troll stinking up a Facebook page should merit the same fast reaction from businesses.
  • Cast a vote for technology/social media – Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign was famous for its use of text messaging (he first broke the news that Joe Biden would be his running mate to 3 million cellphone-loving supporters). When Obama asked those at his rallies to hold up their phones and text a special code, he ensured his team had access to a vast database for volunteering and donations. For businesses, it should be about seeking customer feedback on products/services, and using technology to create a 24/7 focus group.

Businesses don’t have to replicate the mistakes, divisiveness and cynicism on display in Campaign 2012. The one constant they should keep in mind for marketing purposes: voters have the power in November, but customers get to cast their ballots every day. And thanks to social media and the internet, their soap boxes are taller than ever, the megaphones louder than any campaign rally.

CI-Group, a New Jersey advertising agency, provides digital marketing and advertising consulting to Fortune 2000 companies in a wide range of industries. Founded nearly 30 years ago and based in Whitehouse, N.J., CI-Group is recognized as a top advertising agency specializing in marketing strategies, event marketing, promotions, direct marketing, digital printing, warehousing and fulfillment. Companies seeking an award-winning interactive agency that merges creative strategies with effective tactics should call 908-534-6100 or visit www.ci-group.com.

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