Marketing Lessons from the Presidential Election

Election 2012

It’s Election day here in the U.S.

But don’t worry, I’m not going to get political.

It’s just that after being inundated by political advertising for the past few weeks, it got me to thinking about why so many business owners probably don’t like marketing, or feel uncomfortable when they have to do it.

After watching all the political ads, I think I get it.

In far too many cases, marketing becomes about spin. It’s all about selectively featuring the facts to cast the product (or person, or initiative) in the most favorable light.

I don’t have a problem with highlighting the positive benefits (that is after all what the best marketing does), but where it gets dicey is when that selectivity actually hides the truth.

Political advertisers are masters at this.

They manipulate the truth. And sometimes they’re not even that stealth about it. I read an article in TIME magazine last month that highlighted all the “playing fast and loose with the truth” being done by both presidential candidates. It’s the game they play. They pull words and phrases out of context. They selectively use the facts. They outright lie in some cases.

I’m pretty sure most people hate this.

And, despite the millions of dollars spent on political advertising, it’s usually not very effective. In fact, very often all it does is further confuse voters. Because it doesn’t really seek to educate. It seeks to manipulate. And that is one of my pet peeves when it comes to marketing.

Because in my opinion, too many marketers do this. They hype what they’re selling. Make big promises… promises they very often can’t keep… just to get you to buy. It’s at the heart of our BE more, DO more, HAVE more society.

The problem is, customers are often disappointed by this over-zealous marketing.

The actual product or service (or candidate) can’t live up to it… because it’s not the truth.

But when that’s what you see modeled all over the place, and on one of the biggest, most visible marketing stages there is, I can understand how it makes you want to run the other way… fast!

But let me offer another perspective…

I believe if you have a valuable product, service, issue, or candidate, there’s no need to resort to this type of fear-based selling—because that’s what it is… it’s all rooted in the fear that people won’t buy your product or vote for your candidate or initiative. Or, it’s about instilling fear in consumers about what will happen if they don’t buy, or vote.

I don’t believe good decisions are ever based in fear.

So, if you’re uncomfortable marketing your product or service, or your marketing isn’t working, it might behoove you to step back and re-evaluate what you’re selling. Is it something the market really wants? Is it something your potential clients can get excited about it?  Heck, can you get excited about it? Can it really make a difference in people’s lives? Is it truly valuable?

Tough questions to be sure. But when you can answer them all positively, you know you have something that can be sold with integrity, and you can avoid all the hype and manipulative selling techniques, because people will actually want what you have to offer.

About Debbie

Debbie worked in marketing for 32 years and ran a successful coaching and consulting business for 19. She now teaches marketing and helps people find greater happiness and success by learning how to Follow Inspiration.

1 comment on “Marketing Lessons from the Presidential Election

  1. Well said! It’s time to turn away from all the negativity and put some positive energy out there to light the way.
    Thanks for sharing your insights.

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