Lessons from the Election for Radio Marketers

Great post from Seth Godin on what we should take away from the US Election.

To summarize….

Stories really matter. More than a billion dollars spent, two 'products' that have very different features, and yet, when people look back at the election they will remember mavericky winking. You can say that's trivial. I'll say that it's human nature. Your product doesn't have features that are more important than the 'features' being discussed in this election, yet, like most marketers, you're obsessed with them. Forget it. The story is what people respond to. 

TV is over. If people are interested, they'll watch. On their time (or their boss's time). They'll watch online, and spread the idea. You can't email a TV commercial to a friend, but you can definitely spread a YouTube video. 

Permission matters (though selfish marketers still burn it).  In this election cycle, smart marketers at the Obama campaign toned down the spam and turned up the permission. They worked relentlessly to build a list, and they took care of the list. They used metrics to track open rates and (at least until the end) appeared to avoid burning out the list with constant fundraising. Anticipated, personal and relevant messages will always outperform spam. 

Marketing is tribal. Building a new tribe (in marketing and in politics) is time consuming and risky and expensive. Both set out to do this. Do you find an existing tribe (Harley drivers, Manolo shoe buyers, frequent high-end restaurant diners) and try to co-opt them? Or do you try the more expensive and risky effort of building a brand new tribe? The good news is that if you succeed, you get a lot for your efforts. The bad news is that you're likely to fail. 

Motivating the committed outperforms persuading the uncommitted.  The unheralded success factor of Obama's campaign is the get out the vote effort. Every marketer can learn from this. It's easier (far easier) to motivate the slightly motivated than it is to argue with those that either ignore you or are predisposed to not like you. 

Attack ads don't always work. There's a reason most product marketers don't use attack ads. All they do is suppress sales of your opponent, they don't help you. 

We get what we deserve. The lesson that society should take away about all marketing is a simple one. When you buy a product, you're also buying the marketing.

Much more here.

For you Godin fans, I did a Q&A with Seth yesterday on the challenges and opportunities available to radio.  It is incredibly provocative and you will not want to miss it.  It posts here within the next couple weeks.

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