Editor's note: This is the second part of two articles by marketing consultant and conservative Scott Pinkser looking at the 2012 election.
The secondary goal of an empathetic Romney ad-campaign on minority media outlets would be to capture voters.The primary goal would be to (ethically) demotivate Obama voters.
The concept works like this: If you believe Mitt Romney doesn’t care if you live or die and just might be Satan incarnate, you’ll wait three hours in the freezing rain to vote on Election Day. If you believe Mitt Romney isn’t quite Satan but could be George W. Bush redux, maybe you’ll wait two hours. But if you’re not satisfied with the status quo and believe Mitt Romney is misguided yet compassionate… well, if it’s rainy and cold and the lines are long…
There’s great strategic benefit in defanging your opponent’s call-to-action.Even on the margins
Successful Marketing Campaigns
Most successful marketing campaigns do not focus on ideology, nor do they focus on process.They focus on outcomes.
Slim-Fast DOES NOT market eating properly; they market how great you’ll feel when you lose weight and have an attractive body.
McDonald’s DOES NOT market food-items to kids; they market how much fun you’ll have when you buy a Happy Meal.
And Victoria’s Secret DOES NOT market clothing; they market intimacy, sexiness and desirability.(Has ANY Victoria’s Secret commercial EVER mentioned the quality of their fabric? Nope – because that’s NOT what they’re selling!)
Marketing is all about solving a problem. If you watch infomercials carefully, you’ll notice they begin by explicitly telling you what your problem is (“Oh, no!Not another [fill in the blank].” “Don’t you hate it when [fill in the blank].”). This is because marketers have learned that if people don’t realize that they have a problem, they won’t be willing to purchase a solution to the problem. And in marketing, if you don’t understand the problem of your target audience, YOU are the one with the problem.
Different Americans have different problems, and they view these problems through different “default settings.”Generally speaking, the “problem” of non-ideological voters is that society is corrupt; we’re not doing enough to help the have-nots; and the proof of this is the disparity between the rich and poor.
Solution: Republicans must stop marketing to themselves, and start marketing through the prisms of their target audience’s “default settings.”
Machiavelli’s Golden Rule of Marketing is, “Marketing Is the Art of Telling People What They Need to Hear, in Order to Get Them to Do What You Want Them to Do.”
It doesn’t matter what you think is important. What matters is what your target audience thinks is important.
Beware of Santa Claus bearing gifts
Mitt Romney credited Obama’s victory to “gifts.”Rush Limbaugh called Obama “Santa Claus” – and hey, it’s awfully tough to run against Santa Claus!
But that’s not really what happened.
To the president’s supporters, these “gifts” were an extension of Obama’s personal empathy for the have-nots. Obama’s base would’ve rallied to his side, even if Republicans voted-down all of those “gifts,” because the “gifts” weren’t why they voted for the Democrat. It was the validation of why they voted for the Democrat
Consumers make decisions based on emotions, and then they retro-fit the facts to justify their decisions.
In other words, Obama had ‘em at hello.
Republicans must stop trying to make every issue a battle of ideology. It’s a losing proposition, and demographical shifts will only compound this problem in future elections. YOU might be motivated by an ideological argument.But that’s not who you’re marketing to, and if a voter isn’t motivated by ideology, STOP ARGUING IDEOLOGY!
Republicans passionately respond to ideological arguments and are mobilized by moral outrage.It’s in our DNA. Democrats passionately respond to unfairness, injustice and inequality, and are mobilized by aspirational messaging. It’s in their DNA.
An Obvious Proposal
Republicans must define ALL the benefits of conservative outcomes.Then they must develop comprehensive profiles of every voting block. Next, they must accentuate the conservative benefits that each voting block most values. Republicans must empathetically sell this message, because non-ideological voters don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.
While you’re doing this, aggressively undermine your opponent’s “politics of personal association” whenever and wherever possible, spiking his negatives and creating separation between “us” and “him.” Fight for every voting block that the opposition values. Optimize all media outlets with multi-level messaging, tailor your message to each specific audience, and win on the margins.
This isn’t an ideological debate. Hasn’t been for years.
It’s a marketing campaign.
Scott Pinsker is a marketing and branding expert, an author and a celebrity publicist. He is also author of a novel, "The Second Coming: A Love Story," Pinsker lives in Tampa Bay, Florida.