Politics and Marketing

March/12/2008 16:34PM
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As a retired marketing executive, I now recognize how politics work. They have simply become an extension of marketing. 

As marketers know, the key is the brand. You must establish the brand and protect the brand. You can have brand extensions, but don’t screw up Coke with new Coke. You constantly do consumer research to see what your target segments of the market are thinking about your brand and the competitive brands. All messages must be consistent with that research. Focus groups, polls, and questionnaires rule. You do nothing without making sure you are doing what the consumer expects and wants from you.

Since this is how politics work, you will never again have true leadership in this country. Your leaders will segment the voters, see which ones they can appeal to, and create a platform that will insure they get the majority vote. Basically, they feed our own beliefs back to us. Is that bad?

Our beliefs come in two forms. First, we believe what we think we are expected to believe. This is how we get to the concept that we want our country to return to a  Garden of Eden status. This, despite, the knowledge that we now consume 25% of the world’s energy daily and we have no intention of making any sacrifices to get to a pristine state. Then we have rationale thought. We really know deep down that our kids and grandkids are more important than the polar bear. We know we are going down a dangerous path with many things in this country but this thought will never show up in the polls. How do I know?

We were thinking in the 80’s and early 90’s that the green movement was picking up steam. We did extensive polling to see what consumers thought about an environmental gasoline. 95% of all segments said they would pay up to 3 cents a gallon for a greener gasoline. We were really excited. You never get those kinds of numbers. We tested it in two markets. Guess what, at one cent more no one bought. We are all liars about things environmental. We want to do the right thing, but when it comes down to sacrifice, we don’t do it. By lying to politicians, we are making our own mess. They believe the polls, just like we did. 

So, now that we understand that our leaders will only do what they think we want, we had better start sending them back the truth. If you don’t want to destroy this country thorough over zealous environmental protection, you better start saying that. Otherwise, your saying what you think you should say instead of what you really believe, will cause that to happen. 

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Comment (1)

  1. Ken says:

    Again, you have hit the nail on the head. It’s all about marketing and knowing what your customer needs are and giving them what they think they believe they think they need. Unfortunately, recently I have found out that some companies, like our government, who will go nameless, don’t give a crap about the customer or the voters. Their only focus is all about the bottom line and getting elected and screw the customer.

    As a consumer and voter, we need to let those who think they know what it is we really need and want and should not take no or inaction for an answer. We are the customer and voters and had better let them know it. My Blog has been updated today, a trip down memory lane.

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