Tags: 2018 Midterm Elections | Healthcare Reform | Polls | blue | coke | red | strategy

Thanks to Marketing Dems Made Midterm Inroads

the political party understanding marketing in campaign advertising wins
(Andrii Yalanskyi - Dreamstime)

By Monday, 12 November 2018 01:57 PM Current | Bio | Archive

Marketing is sales with a college education. This best describes how Democrats used it effectively to win the U.S. House in the 2018 midterms.

It's a reminder of just how effective it is in achieving desired outcomes.

While many thought that a Democratic win was possible, those in the know thought the party needed a message that would resonate with voters.

The thinking? Without a clear national message, the odds were against them.

And then a very strange thing happened. Democrats used marketing and implemented three basics making the difference in U.S. House district elections: segmentation, needs, and money. That last one, money, was the most important to promote their "value proposition" to an identified target market.

Using a segmentation strategy, the Democrats identified suburban women who either voted for Hillary Clinton or women who became disenfranchised from and disenchanted with the firebrand Donald Trump.

They targeted these women both geographically in congressional districts that Hillary Clinton won in 2016 as well as psychographiclly, focusing on women in any district who wanted an alternative to the "hot" Trump brand — and his Republican cohorts.

After identifying these two key segmented groups — female Hillary voters and unhappy female Trump voters, Democrats then moved to the message (marketers would call it "benefits") — to make their case — the issue of healthcare!

After performing extensive marketing research analysis, Democrats systemically discovered that this group was more concerned about healthcare versus tax cuts.

Using marketing’s benefits assessment analysis, Democrats were then able to satisfy their voter needs by outlining ideas that would resonate with their potential constituents.

All they needed was money to help them make their case to those voters who were unaware of the Democratic position on healthcare for House candidates.

And finally the Democrats used money and all that it brings. As the saying goes," when they say it is not about the money, well, it’s about the money." The Daily Caller projected one week before the election that Democrats would outspend Republicans — $143 million to $86 million on television ads for House races. For the Democrats, having money, marketing, and history on their side were just too much for Republicans to overcome.

But how did the Democrats arrive at this marketing epiphany?

It's best explained by their "eureka moment," of looking back to their successful 2008 presidential campaign. It was then that the Democrats, with the help of Barack Obama, introduced marketing into our politics.

With their marketing positioning strategy of "Change We Can Believe In," and their chant "Yes We Can!" Obama and the Democrats built a brand that the American public responded to positively. Its residual effects are still seen today with President Obama as the "People’s Choice" as best the president in their lifetime, with 44 percent naming Obama the best or second-best president during their lifetimes.

For some reason, the Democrats abandoned this winning strategy for the old "messaging and communications model." A strategy which forgot about the voter while focusing on the "style and form" of winning elections.

The problem with this approach is that voters take a back seat to those who "really" know what’s best for them — the consultants. This is a classic marketing mistake leading to many a sales blunder (think the New Coke in the 1980s) in the private sector, and the 2010 Red Wave in the public one. That moved the House to the Republicans.

It's true that historical precedence was on the Democrats’ side.

But let’s face it. It was the effective use of marketing putting them over the top. It could have helped Republicans hold the House if only they had used marketing as effectively as their competition!

The strategy for both Democrats and the GOP to remember is, always be branding. This means assessing what the voter wants, and is demanding. In this election cycle, it was healthcare. The party best understanding this integral marketing imperative will win future elections. but they must also remember that when all is said and done, it's always easier when they have marketing in mind.

Dr. John Tantillo is a marketing and branding expert, known as The Marketing Doctor. JT utilizes his doctoral skills in applied research psychology to analyze the issues and personalities of the day utilizing his marketing and branding lens. This provides his readers with additional insight needed to understand the “new normal” in politics, news, and culture. Dr. Tantillo is the OpEd writer for Political Vanguard. He is the author of "People Buy Brands, Not Companies,” and the Udemy course "Go Brand Yourself!" You can follow him on Twitter @marketingdoctor and at Facebook.com/dr.johntantillo. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.

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The strategy for both Democrats and the GOP to remember is, always be branding. This means assessing what the voter wants, and is demanding. In this election cycle, it was healthcare. The party best understanding this integral marketing imperative will win future elections.
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Monday, 12 November 2018 01:57 PM
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