Marketing 101: Ron Paul is a Product, We are the Ad Agency
Article reprinted for R3s with Jordan’s permission
(from Ron Paul Forums)
To propel Ron’s 2012 candidacy requires that we realize our failures of the past. While we may have the best stance on foreign policy, monetary policy, health care, and the myriad of other issues that are of the greatest of importance to our country’s future, we have to recognize that we, as a collective, are some of the worst world’s marketers.
This is not a statement intended to discourage your activism, nor is it another thread about signs vs. blimps vs. billboards vs. promotional pencils. This is a statement intended to get us to recognize that we are, relative to the average voter, different.
If you’re reading this, then you likely
Spend a greater amount of time on the internet as you can clearly navigate a forum
Spend more time than average following political happenings
Spend more time than average thinking about your worldview, political philosophy, and how an efficient government should operate
While we should all enjoy the reality that we are, as Ron Paul supporters, intimately interested in the political process, we should also recognize that we are not average. And in recognizing that we are not average, we should realize also that we are not a majority seeking a goal that requires a majority.
Regardless of our views on corporatism, bailouts, and the intertwining of government and business in the marketplace, there are plenty of lessons to be learned from some of the world’s best marketers.
Let’s take a look at a few excellent businesses, and how they market their product:
Apple has a marketing strategy very similar to political sign waving. They put their name and logo everywhere, and they have a very clear marketing strategy: brand the living shit out of what you want to sell, and you can forget the rest.
Take a moment to watch this :30 ad for the iPad:
In it, Apple says nothing about the processor, nor the operating system. It doesn’t delve into the inner workings of the product, and they care not to explain how it works. The buyer, much like the average voter, doesn’t care how it works, but that it does work. In this ad, Apple is selling an experience. They’re selling a product that operates seamlessly, which will fit all the customer’s needs and wants without burdening them with thought. How perfect.
But Apple differs from the political sign waver; they combine a positive message with a brand. Sign wavers show a brand with no positive message.
Realization: Apple brands better than anyone, and thanks to their ability to market, they can carry more baggage (higher prices) and still have happy customers.
Love them or hate them, Budweiser sells a lot of beer. In fact, they outsell every other brand combined in the United States, having a total market share of just over 50% in the American market. How do they do it?
Well, they don’t sell beer. There aren’t many people who would say that Budweiser is the best beer you can buy, or even the best quality beer that you can buy on a budget.
So what do they sell? Let’s look at a classic Budweiser advertisement:
Budweiser’s logo appears only for a flash during this 30-second spot, and there isn’t even a mention of why Budweiser is a fantastic tasting beer, or how their brewing process is the best thing since sliced bread.
In this ad, Budweiser is selling one thing: a really good time.
After losing brand loyalty for several years straight, they reversed their advertising strategy in 2010 to go back to a marketing strategy that emphasized that Budweiser is the beer for having a good time. Since then, loyalty scores have risen dramatically. Hell, they took it to the extreme by promoting their beer with the simple tag line, “Good Times.”
The lesson? Budweiser drinkers want to have a good time; they don’t want to drink a top-quality beer. They lost their love for Bud during the recession, but suddenly, when Budweiser told them that these were “Good Times,” consumers came back to the brand.
Positivity vs. Negativity
In realizing that we aren’t average, and that we (obviously) aren’t a majority, we should know that what works for us won’t work for other people.
In marketing, we are what is known as the pessimistic buyer. We ask questions, and we’re far more interested in how it works than whether or not someone tells us it works. We want to assess if some product can stand up to its reputation, and we’ll decide if the real benefits of product X will solve our problem Y.
Telling us that product X will solve our problem won’t get us to recognize it as a solution. We want to decide.
I would suggest that a majority of you that have read this far are this type of person. Consider your recent spending habits, and how you arrived at a decision to purchase a product. If you’re like many pessimistic buyers, you are the kind of person who didn’t take the product at face value. Instead, you likely went online, searched for “product X reviews” then deciphered whether or not the product was fit to solve your need, and also likely discounted or gave premium to certain evaluations of the product based on the quality of the review.
You see, you’re probably such a pessimistic buyer that you even shopped out whether or not the review was credible.
I am a pessimistic buyer. You are a pessimistic buyer. We’re all pessimistic buyers, but we are not all buyers.
In making Ron Paul acceptable to the general population, we need to turn his supposed weaknesses into benefits. Apple didn’t tell us “your tablet fucking sucks,” instead they told us that theirs was awesome. Budweiser didn’t tell us how our lives are miserable, they just told us that their beer would make our lives better—we’d have a great time if we drank it!
Voters need to have a good time voting for Ron. They’re optimistic buyers, and they’re going to vote for someone who makes things better. They’re not going to vote for someone because the world sucks.
So, let’s apply our newfound understanding of marketing. Here are two example statements:
“Social security is broke…yadda yadda”
“Ron Paul would balance the budget, and has never voted to spend a dime of Social Security.”
Statement 1 pointed out the problem. We all know the problem. We don’t want to hear the problem. Like the general population, we’re willfully ignorant.
Statement 2 pointed out two positives, and also added credibility to Ron’s ability to solve the Social Security mess. In reality, it didn’t answer the question; we all know that there was never really any dividing line between Social Security and the rest of the budget, but who cares? If we’re going to go that deep into history, politics, etc. then we need to ask ourselves once more, “Are we selling information, or are we selling Ron Paul?”
I’m selling Ron Paul, and I hope you’ll join me in selling Ron Paul. We, as voters, can do nothing about the problems this country faces unless we put people in office who actively work toward fixing the problems.
There’s a great quote by Warren Buffet that applies here:
“If past history was all there was to the game, the richest people would be librarians.” – Warren Buffet
To modify, “If past history was all there was to politics, the most successful politicians would be libertarians.”
Even further, “If information was all there was to selling a product, the most successful salespeople would be libertarians.”
We aren’t good salespeople because we’ve neglected our target market in exchange for a much smaller market. We’re advertising to ourselves. We’re already voting for Ron Paul, so why do we spend so much time telling the world why we’re voting for him?
We need to tell the world why they should vote for him in language that is convincing to them, not language that is convincing to us.
That is all.
[Editor's note: This post was written for Ron Paul and his campaign and discovered on Ron Paul Forums, but the concept is important for how we convey information on issues and policy matters also. Please take time to ponder the wisdom embedded, the marketing information expertise, and the potentially pertinent information for things you are working on and promoting in your own sphere of influence. Special thanks to Jordan for writing and permitting R3s to share the great info!/sc]