Now that Sen. Obama has succeeded in his historic bid for the Presidency, we can look back on his campaign as a model of how to position and roll out a candidacy. Whether he realizes it or not, Obama ran a practically flawless marketing campaign, so successful that Ad Age named him Marketer of the Year. It was based on adherence to a few basic principles:
- Simplicity. "Change." Every political hopeful is actually banking on being an agent of change, but no one has ever embraced it so carefully and completely at a national level.
Consistency.This is one of the hardest principles of marketing to implement. There are a thousand reasons to mess around with the message, or add to it. Marketers do it all the time, most often to their detriment. Yes, Obama mixed in a message string of hope but he stayed so close to the message of change that his major competitors has no choice but to address the same issue. They played the game on his turf.
Relevance.The change theme resonated with everyone that mattered: the voting population. Voters were so ready for change that Obama's message actually expanded the the overall base of voters. By doing so, he shifted the balance in his favor.
Innovation.Apple does it with user interface design. Wal-Mart does with a laser-like focus on price cutting. In both cases, they wrestled with technology to achieve their goals. Apple, led by Steve Jobs, refuses to release a product before it is beautiful to look at and delightful to use. Wal-Mart revolutionized inventory control and RFID technology. Obama did it with his use of new media and social networks to revolutionize fundraising, message proliferation, and voter outreach and organizing.
His opponents were painfully slow to recognize that "words matter." No where was this more evident than with the immediate use of U-Tube to expose every inconsistency or verbal blunder. Now everyone knows how Obama did it, but how many will be able to duplicate it?