From now until the elections in November, you and I will become inundated with campaign 2018 from candidates for local, regional, state, and national offices (from U.S. Senator to local school boards). We will be receiving many thousands of marketing messages to attract votes and funding. Our mailboxes will start overflowing with campaign literature. Our inboxes will get clogged with emails from candidates and their supporters. Social media will be filled with “Likes” from our “Friends.” News stories on TV, radio, and newspapers will crowd out less important news. Media advertising will explode. Observing the process is like taking a master’s class on business strategy and tactics.
Political campaigns don’t miss a trick. They speak of mission and vision. They appeal to our core fears, concerns, ambitions, and beliefs. They study opponents to create differentiated positions and attempt to extol the virtues of fundamentally unique viewpoints. They personalize their messages to meet the needs of their audiences. They “wordsmith” speeches and ads to gain votes in their favor.
To enhance their image, their message, and their attractiveness to the electorate, candidates employ many marketing professionals. Speechwriters, copywriters, voice coaches, acting coaches, advertising and public relations agencies, social media experts, media advisors, wardrobe consultants, makeup artists, hair stylists, demographers, statisticians, and consultants make up the marketing army that workto get out the winning word to the right people at the right time. After all, the candidates are selling a product (themselves) and a service (governing from a particular point of view) and need to attract more votes than their opponent to win.
Is this any different than marketing a business, the products and services a business sells? Of course not.
From an academic standpoint it’s much the same strategy and tactics – appeal to those who aren’t aware, get them to see, hear, listen to your message, stimulate them to understand and embrace, then evangelize for you. A campaign is the point where image, message, vision, differentiation converge and are just as important in commerce as in an election.
As citizens we vote at our polling place with our ballot just as when we shop at a store or on line as customers we vote with our wallets. No matter, when voting or making a purchase we are responding consciously or subconsciously to the marketing that has been sent to us and we’ve absorbed. The message is clear. No matter what you are selling, market better to win!