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Four Business Takeaways from our recent Political Conventions

This is about Marketing Not Politics.

The other evening I spent a couple of hours at campaign headquarters working the phone banks for my candidate of choice.  It’s been a long time since I’ve done this and it was interesting to see how technology has impacted the whole dialing for votes process. Key in a password, record a message for answering machines, hit auto dial and up pops my first call.
Three questions; what issue is most important to you? (push multiple choice button to tally answer), who will you vote for? if it’s my candidate, will you volunteer time send money and display a banner? Results were all nicely tallied automatically. Wins, losses, refusniks, and wrong numbers. No wasted hand motions. A robo call could have done the same thing. No need to think.
Robo call meet virtual press agent

Except, well, what button do I use for the angry citizen who thinks politicians are all self-serving, or the person on the line who is actually voting for the other party and has a lot to share. How about the undecided one who is stuck on healthcare as the overriding issue of their day and we spend a few precious minutes commiserating about Medicare and Medicaid issues for our aging parents. I jotted down notes on my conveniently placed notepad for items the computer can’t handle. (Those happy paperNpixel moments). I got a thank you for being honest and my candidate got some extra points for being human. And isn’t that what elections are really all about?
Last night was Bill Clinton (graph of topics) and Elizabeth Warren night, today is Massachusetts primary day. Next Tuesday is New Hampshire’s primary with the national election coming up on November 6 th.  Pick your favorites. Scott Brown or Elizabeth Warren; President Obama or Mr. Romney. The prognosticators are busy running their numbers and their theories.
Back in history we had the book, “ The Making of the President.”  Is it any different in today's paperNpixel world when we have statistical tools and social media tools to measure Political Sentiment? Hint: Twitter says both presidential candidates are receiving more negative than positive tweets. Perhaps the wives are more popular or even more electable.
But this is not a political blog, this conversation is about marketing.
Did you see Governor Duval Patrick speaking and working as commentator?
I heard him say “invest in innovation and clean energy” (two areas where Massachusetts excels). He spoke of the focus on Massachusetts because Romney held his only public office here. But, watch our governor. He is a great example of branding and marketing at work. Which state do you think is getting lots of exposure associated with Keywords such as leadership in business innovation, clean energy, and healthcare? Did you know that last month Twitter launched an index to measure enthusiasm for Barack Obama and Mitt Romney in the time leading up to the November US Presidential election?
David Meerman Scott, a brand journalist's best friend, described the  Twitter Political Indexas “a daily measurement  with an estimated two million Twitter mentions of the candidates in a given week relative to more than 400 million tweets sent about other topics each day.” He speaks of it as a great example of crowdsourcing.
We now have the tools to measure direction and momentum in real time. Smart money is deploying these tools. So, here are my four business takeaways from the political arena:
  • There are many tools now available to you to measure interest, sentiment, focus and activity. We ourselves use YELP, blogposts, Twitter, Facebook, Jungle Torch and a host of Google analytic tools to inform our business decisions on a daily basis.
  • You need to brand yourself as well as your organization so people who want what you represent can easily find you. 
  • Sophisticated tools don’t get the same results as actually reaching out, live, and engaging in one to one conversation. Nuance wins in both politics and business.
  •  Rhetoric is just that. People demand transparency and authenticity. It is far easier to deliver on these in business than in politics, but in the end, we are all really defined by what we do, rather than what we say.

After election day, our members of congress will have more day to day impact on our lives than the president. But, regardless of who wins temporary possession of the White House in this scrimmage, we will all still need to be responsive to our clients’ needs if we are to continue to be successful in business.

That’s a whole other topic.
Filed Under: marketing, paperNpixels
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