Wednesday, August 10, 2011


Everybody in marketing knows you can't count on your audience to figure out for themselves the supposed benefits of their buying your product or service. You have to make darn sure you spell out for your prospects just how they're going to benefit from buying your product. You can't count on them to figure things out for themselves, to connect the dots to envision how their live will be better if only they were to buy your product. Yes, there are some who instinctively 'get it', but there usually aren't enough of them to amount to more than a hill of beans.

You also have to make darn sure the benefit you tout is the benefit your prospect wants. If the prospect wants reliability, sell reliability. If they want safety, push safety. And if your prospects aren't looking for a safe car, but are instead looking for a car that goes really fast, you're wasting your time and money plugging the safety features of your car.

The same lessons apply in politics and policy. The only sure way a political party can reach a critical mass of support is by convincing the public that voting for them will get the public what they want.

A mistake most politicians make is confusing process with end result (benefit). Balancing the budget is a process. Reducing federal debt is a process. Keeping taxes low is a process. While each of these may produce benefits, none are benefits in and of themselves, they're merely a means to achieving sought-after benefits. By themselves, they mean little to most people.

And one thing most marketers have learned is that you can't count on people to devote the time to figure out how they can potentially benefit from doing something. The attention span of most people is pretty short... and especially so when dealing with something like 'economics' or 'tax policy'.

Thus, the political marketer needs to connect the dots for voters, to make it very clear to the people how they will benefit from backing a particular candidate.

The benefits people want are more job security... a house that rises in value... more money in their pockets... safe streets... an educational system that teaches their kids what the parent wants the kids to know... and so on.

So the GOP needs to tell voters how they can get what they want by supporting GOP candidates. In each and every speech they make, in each and every appearance they make before a camera, they need to tell the voters that voting for GOP candidates is the only way that they'll get what they're looking for. GOP candidates should never talk about the budget without making it clear that high levels of government spending is the biggest reason people can't get a job. They should never talk about taxes without driving home the point that raising taxes - even on the supposed rich - is a guaranteed way of lowering the value of their own 401k plan. They should never talk about the overreach of government without stressing that Obamacare is guaranteed to result in their paying higher prices for health care.

The GOP can't (but they will) talk about reducing government spending in a vacuum, they need to connect the dots between reducing government spending and reducing unemployment. They need to connect the dots between reducing government regulations with improving employment. They need to blast that raising taxes - even on the supposed rich - drives down employment, house prices and the value of everybody's 401k and IRA.

Without making reference to the benefits of doing X or Y, the public just doesn't get it. And if the public doesn't get it, then they are susceptible to liberal attacks on GOP proposals.

The GOP inability (or is it unwillingness?) to connect the dots is why the public doesn't prefer the GOP by a larger margin over the Democrats. It is why the public doesn't support the specific programs the GOP is trying to enact.

Spell out the benefits of backing the GOP... in terms of the benefits the public wants... and the public will support the GOP. Spell out the negative consequences of backing the Democrats... and the public will support the GOP.

It really is that simple. Tis a shame the GOP doesn't get it.