Monday, May 21, 2007

Happy Monday Morning! I read a very interesting article ("Political Device Goes Corporate"-registration required) in the Wall Street Journal on political campaign operatives moving from the political world to the corporate world. Aside from this article being a nice promotional piece for the Republican staffers fleeing the sinking ship to set up their own consultancies, there are some interesting points made.

Sara Taylor, the marketer highlighted in the article, claims that she has refined traditional database marketing under the pressure of modern political campaign.

"Microtargeting lets you pinpoint not only the issue an individual cares most about, but also what it is about the issue that is most likely to motivate the person to support a candidate," Ms. Taylor says. "That could be true of a corporation's products too."
Another benefit is that she and her peers have squeezed the slowness out of ordinary market segmentation due to the short timeline of a campaign.

At first blush, this seems like a great thing. Who wouldn't like to save money by having one's market analysis done in record time! After all, I'm sure she bills hourly...but with this efficiency comes some cut corners.

In politics, unfortunately, a candidate only needs 50% plus one of the voters with a single call to action on one day every couple of years. Negative messages (fear, doubt and uncertainty) are effective at rallying your supporters and discouraging your opponents. One doesn't care if you piss of the other 50%- in fact, that's a good thing!

Corporate marketers have higher ambitions than 50% of the marketplace. And this (hopefully) higher share must be continuously induced to all sorts of calls to action on a sometimes daily basis. Add in all sorts of legal restrictions and liabilities and the corporate marketers job starts to seem harder and harder.

Something I think Sara will learn very early on in her corporate marketing did these former politicos when they botched the WalMart engagement for Edelman.

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