March 19, 2012

Core beliefs

The most insightful political-marketing observations I’ve seen in some time come from a New York Times article by Jonathan Haidt that, unsurprisingly, turns out to be excerpted/adapted from a whole book on the point. It argues that an essential aspect to political belief are the stories tribes tell themselves.

When I put it like that, it sounds straight out of Seth Godin. But Haidt says it in a different — and to me more compelling — way (emphasis mine): Read more

March 19, 2012

ACT-UP’s key to success: combining emotion and reason

It’s been a while since I posted about political marketing, but two New York Times articles the same day raised subjects I’d like to share. One delves into the success of the AIDS activism group ACT-UP. The big lesson is that ACT-UP relied on both emotional impact and persuasive, rational detail. In particular (emphasis mine): Read more

March 7, 2009

A great example of influencer outreach

From time to time I tell about a particularly bad job of doing influencer outreach at me.  But I don’t directly balance those stories with examples of good outreach targeted at me.  There are multiple reasons for this, including:

As an alternative, I’d like to share a particularly good example of outreach I just discovered in the political sphere. Read more

November 12, 2008

Always be marketing

Guy Kawasaki argues that you should always be selling. Specifically, he suggests:

Creating a successful business requires effective persuasion. This study shows that great persuasion sometimes occurs when people don’t expect it. This means that you should always be selling—you may persuade people when you least expect it. This is also a good argument for the potential power of tools such as Twitter and blogs. These new approaches can open doors for people who haven’t thought about a new concept.

If you think about it, what Kawasaki really means is: You should always be marketing.

Looking at him briefly from afar, I’d guess that Kawasaki’s priorities are something like:

  1. Keep building awareness.
  2. Stay on message.

Judging by the recent election season, most political campaigns would agree. In enterprise IT, however, I’d tweak and flip them, to:

  1. Stay on one or more of your messages.
  2. Build awareness in the right audiences — prospects and influencers alike.
September 8, 2008

Generalizing the layered messaging model

In my introductory post on layered messaging, I laid out two basic templates for enterprise IT messaging. But consider, if you would, the following

General layered marketing template

Read more

February 22, 2008

How Hillary Clinton can still differentiate herself from Barack Obama on foreign policy

Obviously, these are difficult times for the Clinton campaign, and Barack Obama is the most likely Democratic nominee for president. His messaging strategy, so far successful, has in essence been:

  1. Pitch “change” as a top-level message.
  2. Claim that being a pro-change outsider is more conducive to getting things done than being an experienced insider.
  3. Adopt similar policy positions to his rivals, so as to reduce the chance for differentiation there.
  4. Show that he’s not “too much” of an outsider, by collecting insiders’ endorsements.
  5. Claim that primary electoral success demonstrates both that he’s likely to have general election success in the fall and also that he’s likely to lead effectively once elected.

So Clinton desperately needs to differentiate herself from Obama, beneficially, more than she already has. But how? Read more

February 7, 2008

Engagement marketing

More and more, consumer branding is about engagement. On the Internet, you’re most likely to see references to the social media aspects. But it goes further than blogs, chat, and diggery. For example, a huge fraction of the sports business now is apparel sales – replica jerseys and the like. This may be “tribal” in Seth Godin‘s lexicon, but it’s not particularly online-social.

US politics is heavily about engagement too. The traditional centers of engagement – unions, churches, and so on – have now been joined by the Internet as well. The Washington Post has a great article today about old-style engagement in the Clinton campaign.Micah Sifry makes the case that this time it’s different, and in the process describes the crucial role of internet-based engagement to this year’s presidential campaign.

And of course the same thing’s happening in software. Read more

February 1, 2008

Negative marketing in the internet era

Mark Hemingway’s recent article in favor of negative campaigning makes some good points, such as:

He’s right.

However, there are two big differences between negative marketing in politics and negative marketing in enterprise technology.

  1. If you say something negative about a technology competitor, it’s likely they can come back with the rebuttal “That’s not true any more.” Rapid product cycles are wonderful things.
  2. Whatever rebuttal you have to negative advertising in technology, you’ll have plenty of opportunity to present it. If it’s late in the sales cycle, your salesperson can deliver it. If it’s early in the cycle, internet-based marcom has time to take effect.

So should you go negative in enterprise technology marketing? If so, when and how should you do it? Here are my thoughts: Read more

January 16, 2008

Fear and Greed

When I was a stock analyst, I learned the maxim that all investor behavior could be explained by two factors: fear and greed. Any stock’s price reflects a balance between fear of the reasons it could go down, and hope based on the reasons it could go up.

Buyers of enterprise information technology operate pretty much the same way. They buy technology because of what it can do for them. They avoid purchases for fear of project failure, or of the products not living up to their promises, or of difficulties in the products’ use. Indeed, in its heyday, IBM was said to sell largely on the basis of Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt (FUD), in a memorable phrase sometimes attributed to analyst Ulrich Weil.

Voters do much the same thing. Read more

January 12, 2008

Seth Godin on dealing with influencers and listening to the market

From a Seth Godin interview conducted by the SEO-oriented Eric Enge:

They need to find the thirty bloggers matter, and months before they need them, give to them. Post comments, link to them, talk to them, engage them as a member of the community, and then when they roll something out those bloggers trust you. An example is Boing Boing, which is one of the three most popular blogs in the world, and there is a piece of software that just came out that helps you track appointments and stuff like that.

Cory Doctorow wrote a rave review of it yesterday on Boing Boing. Why did he do that? Because they showed up an hour ahead in time and begged him? No, because he’s known the founder for a long time, and the founder actually asked him a lot of advice about how to make the software better, and he gave it to them. So, he has a sense of relationship and ownership, so when the software comes out, of course he is going to say something about it. That time investment, and that respect is an asset that people at a traditional company might not have earned.

Certainly the company/analyst relationship fits into that paradigm.

Godin went on to take a related point to an extreme:

The thing that’s going to be hard for a lot of people is it represents a shift in power, that the reason most people become marketers is because it is fun to be in charge. It’s fun to put on a show; it is fun to have influence that comes from money. What we are seeing in the new marketing is that the opposite is true. People who are succeeding tend to be the ones with no money, because having no money makes you humble and being humble makes you work with the marketplace better.

But while extreme, that’s not entirely wrong. For example, the technology industry has advanced to the point that large firms have huge economies of scale, and startups keep succeeding even so. (E.g., see my coverage of Netezza or Qliktech.) And this year’s presidential campaign has, so far, been friendly to insurgent candidates such as Mike Huckabee, Barack Obama, a rebounding John McCain, or even Ron Paul.

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