Political and business marketing: The unobvious difference

For any business, many organizations, and sometimes individuals, effective marketing

  • Grabs the attention of the target market
  • Conveys a message that resonates with them
  • Offers them something helpful, unique, or valuable (or any combination)
  • Persuades them to take a specific action – basically… “Do this… and get that”

Now you reel ‘em in and offer them your unparalleled products and services, right? (at least, they should be great). I mean… nobody wants to be fooled with great marketing, only to find out what they buy really sucks!

Now… let’s change hats and think about politics for a minute (yea… I know… it leaves a bad taste in my mouth, too, but hear me out)

Spend millions just to sell crap

Politicians are their own products and brands. To succeed, they need to sell themselves, so you’ll vote for them, not the next guy.

They’re basically promoting themselves, spending millions of dollars to market and advertise using giant postcards, self-mailers, letters, TV ads, radio ads, robo phone messages, and even the debates.

In essence, they pay for marketing to buy your vote.

But the real problem as I see it (this is my personal take, not based on proven facts) is that marketing may be super great – but the end product you’re buying – the politican – well – is the lowest quality, absolutely terrible.

Again, this is only my personal opinion… but this is the difference between political marketing and business marketing.

In most instances, business marketing promotes good products and services – politicians… not so much.

Politicians promote themselves like heroes, but in reality, once they get elected, you only get lies, scandals, and untruths. What they want to give you — NOT what you thought you bough into, based on their millions of marketing dollars spent.

Of course, this isn’t always true, but I think it is most of the time.

Do you agree? Disagree?

Let me know, just send me your comments below.

If you want help with your marketing strategy, writing effective sales copy, have any comments, or have a marketing project you’d like help with, e-mail me or call me at 603-686-5140

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To your marketing success!

Merrill Clark

Website and Marketing Copywriter

Join my discussion by leaving a comment below…



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8 thoughts on “Political and business marketing: The unobvious difference

  1. Beth Frede

    I agree Merrill. Politicians have a different face and message for everyone they talk to. The problem is, in “trying to serve everyone” they end up serving no one. In business you have to be careful of trying to serve everyone too, because your message becomes so watered down if you try and meet everyone’s needs that your ideal clients can’t find you because you’re not really marketing to them anymore.

  2. Merrill Post author

    Great point Beth… you are absolutely right!

    I couldn’t have said it any better myself.

  3. Merrill Post author

    Ha….from what I see, they “usually” serve no one… except themselves… even if they get elected.

    Thanks for commenting!

  4. Janis

    Well, Merrill, politicians may indeed be full of hot air, but they truly have very little control over the things they talk about.

    Do you think the President really steers the ship of state? I don’t think so. Every President inherits legislation and policies that were put in place years before he stepped into the Oval Office.

    Maybe he can turn the ship by a degree or two…or maybe he can’t. Even the most sensible ideas are subject to review and vote by both houses of Congress.

    So what if a candidate promises gay marriage or no gay marriage, border patrols or no border patrols, foreign aid or no foreign aid…he will always have to answer to Congress, and THAT is how the will of the people decide.

    That or Big Oil Money.

  5. Merrill Post author

    Your points are valid, Janis, though I didn’t intend for this to be a political debate, just my personal observations.

    My point wasn’t specifically about Presidential candidates and their marketing (even though that’s what prompted my post). It was about political marketing in general, including Congress.

    All politicians are their own “brand” or “product” that they promote. And if they lie and flip-flop on the issues, get elected, or don’t vote on the issues they campaigned for or stand behind their beliefs, regardless of what level of politics it is, then their product sucks. Period. Even if their marketing was great.

    There is a saying that goes something like… If you have a bad product or service… and have great marketing… people will find out a lot faster. (Which is my point)

    Anyway, thanks for your comments Janis, and have a good one!

  6. Teak

    I think there is a good deal of validity to your points, Merrill. Of course, I can count all the politicians I’ve truly respected with one hand . . . .

    It would be interesting to see a major campaign in which at least one candidate truly refrained from smearing the opponent, but rather concentrated on their own *positive* agenda . . . presupposing said agenda was actual realistic rather than bafflegab image polishing. Not mentioning any names, but anyone who knows me the exact individual to whom I referred there!

    Sadly, I think it unlikely to happen. As H.L. Mencken noted: “Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.” And damn few politicians ever failed at the polls from the same cause.

  7. Merrill Post author

    Thanks for commenting, Teak.

    You should be able to trust that the product you buy (in this case, the politician you vote for) substantially does what their marketing promises.

    I mean, that’s what the Federal Trade Commission and Attorney Generals make business advertisers do, isn’t it? Protect the buyer, prevent theft by deception, by making it illegal to claim your product can do something it can’t. In other words — called “false advertising”.

    But I guess it’s ok for them to do it, just not the business owners who vote for them…

    Anyway, that’s my story… and I’m stickin to it…

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