Wednesday, November 07, 2012
Romney lost because he failed to obey the most basic rule of marketing: sell benefits, don't talk features. Romney didn't connect the dots for the 6 percent of voters who are up for grabs (each side has a lock on roughly 47%). These voters, by definition, pay a lot less attention to the issues and don't have hard feelings on any of the so-called hot button issues (if they did, they wouldn't be in the 6%). Romney needed to tell them why his winning would be good for THEM, how it would have made their lives better. He failed to do so. These voters don't care about the deficit or energy policy per se, they care about whether their jobs are secure, whether they can look forward to getting a raise, see their house go up in value and go to sleep secure that they'll wake up. A basic rule of marketing is to not require the audience to do any thinking. Don't make them connect the dots (hint: they won't). Because he didn't talk benefits to the audience, Romney's message came across as static. The audience couldn't and/or wouldn't figure out why their lives would be better with, for example, Romney's tax proposals, and as a result they stuck with the guy they already had.
Of course, nothing will change, the 'pros' who get hired to run campaigns will continue to push campaigns that touch on all the hot buttons for the party faithful, but fail to reach the people who are the difference between winning and losing. The candidates hire marketers who sound good to them... the problem is that they are not the audience.
Yesterday was not as bad for the GOP as the media wants it to be. The GOP won more Congressional districts than the Democrats. Obama got less votes than he did four years ago. A swing of less than 500,000 votes (out of 100 million) in nine states would have given Romney over 100 more electoral votes.
As such, the GOP has plenty of ground to stand on. There is no need for them to buckle down to Democratic pressure and name-calling. Of course, they will fold.