V2 Marketing Communications Blog

Marketing Lessons from the Cold, Hard Campaign Trail

Written by Chris Kelley on Wed, Nov 07, 2012

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Democrat or Republican, Libertarian or Green Party, there’s one thing we can all agree upon in the wake of the 2012 election: Those Kit Kat® commercials rocked! Uniting the left and the right, the far left and the far right? Four luscious bars of chocolately goodness, coming together as one tasty election treat? Freakin’. Brilliant. (Those other spots featuring heathens chomping loudly on Kit Kats? Not so much.)

All snacking aside, there are marketing lessons we can learn from any life experience, and election time is prime time for coulda-shoulda takeaways. Here at V2, we’re no political pundits and we definitely share a mixed bag of world viewpoints! But we do know marketing, and we stand together in our endorsement of the following tips.

Know your audience. Politicians and marketing pros need to be chameleon-like, able to relate and appeal to whatever audience is right in front of them. Does this mean flip-flopping your personality when giving a presentation to a potential customer? Of course not. Clients (like voters) can spot a glad-hander miles away. But it does mean adjusting your marketing message to help build trust that you understand your prospect’s needs, can solve their problems and are, at the end of the day, just one of them. For example, would you wear a Chanel suit to a fundraiser for the local homeless shelter? Would you use lingo like “OMG!” and “Epic!” when addressing a roomful of senior citizens? Conversely, would you start a speech to Gen Y with “Well, back in my day…” We shudder to think. 

Lesson learned: Do your homework. Know your audience. And be yourself—only better.

Social media can be your best friend…or worst nightmare. So much of this political campaign played out online, and it’s only a glimpse of the techno-future to come. When it came to connecting with voters via Facebook and Twitter, most candidates did it…but a few did it exceptionally well. Social media is a powerful tool for touting the positive, its ability to spread negative publicity about a candidate—or a company—is downright devastating.

Lesson learned: Harness the power of social media to promote your business, but use it wisely and be ready to professionally rebut any unflattering PR.  

Slogan, schmogan…do a few words really matter? Apparently so, according to the marketing gurus at AdvertisingAge. They compared President Obama’s short-and-sweet campaign slogan, “Forward,” to Mitt Romney’s patriotic “Believe in America.” What they concluded was that Romney’s slogan spoke highly of him, but was ineffective in changing the public’s perception of Obama. After all, why should we believe that the POTUS doesn’t believe in America, the country that voted him into its top office? Twice? In comparison, AdAge explains that Obama’s slogan “cuts both ways,” generating the perception that America will move forward under his leadership—but backward under someone else’s.

Lesson learned: Branding matters more than you may think. Don’t cut corners; work with a professional marketing agency to do it up right.

Knowing your audience, using social media smartly and crafting the right corporate image; it’s a lot to digest right after a big election. We could all use a treat as we ponder how to improve our marketing efforts in the winter months ahead. Hey, break me off a piece of that Kit Kat bar.

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Topics: Marketing, Social Media

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