Marketers View on Why Obama Won

33 replies
(Note: Please check your political bias at the door. You can leave it right next to mine. )

Hey Everyone,

Perry Marshall has a really cool interview of Ben Morris from Kristalytics.

I found it to be a revealing explanation on how Obama's campaign focused on positioning, demographics, and target marketing to specific demographics to grab a competitive advantage in the recent presidential election.

Why Obama Won

As a full-time copywriter, I frequently look at the demographics for my client's target market to determine positioning and what will best appeal for that group of potential buyers.

For newer marketers and copywriters, there's gold in this interview for you.

Hope that helps,

Mike
#marketers #obama #view #won
  • Profile picture of the author Mark Andrews
    Banned
    The Bottom Line: Are you communicating in a way to reach your priority audience, or to make yourself feel better, to "let your freak flag fly?"

    Three Methods of Persuasion You Can Copy From Obama and Romney (and one from Joe Biden that you should not copy) - Forbes

    The Underdog Edge | Amy Showalter

    Smoking hot,


    Mark Andrews
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    • Profile picture of the author copyassassin
      Originally Posted by Mark Andrews View Post

      The Bottom Line: Are you communicating in a way to reach your priority audience, or to make yourself feel better, to “let your freak flag fly?”Mark Andrews
      Mark,

      I didn't get the same take away as you.

      What I got out of that webinar is the need to:
      1. Segment your list by psychographics
      2. Correlate psychographics and geography
      3. Message to Psychographics-Match on very narrow specific issues, with timeliness being #1
      4. Spend More money on prospects you can influence, and less on ones you can't

      I was at Perry's house two weeks ago and we looked at taking this mindset and putting that into practice with ZIPs in Google Adwords. This takes geotarketing to the next level.

      Ben also has the ability to look at specific street blocks for direct mailing purposes. Very cool stuff.

      Adam
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  • Profile picture of the author techbx
    It's amazing to see how blue this country is becoming.

    Everything has to do with demographics. More women, more minorities. It's not just about Ohio and Florida anymore.
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  • Profile picture of the author max5ty
    Could we please stop trying to learn lessons from the last election?

    There was around a 3% difference in the popular vote. It wasn't a landslide by any terms. The incumbent always has an advantage.

    A lot of money was wasted on bad advertising.

    The current president had a lot fewer votes then he did in 2008.

    There were several other factors besides marketing that led to the outcome.

    I'm not getting political...but goodness gracious people...chill out.

    Wonder when some guru will put out a book on some crazy crap about this whole election.
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    • Profile picture of the author copyassassin
      Originally Posted by max5ty View Post


      There was around a 3% difference in the popular vote. It wasn't a landslide by any terms. The incumbent always has an advantage.
      Are you a direct marketer?

      Do you know what the difference between a 1% & 3% response means???

      It's ALL about the narrow margins in life. Winning and losing is measured in hair widths.

      Check out the Olympics. Check out Nascar. Check out the BCS ratings for college football.

      NCAA College Football BCS Standings Week 12 - ESPN

      Small numerical differences make the difference between winning and losing.

      You know that.
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    • Profile picture of the author Mr. Subtle
      Originally Posted by max5ty View Post

      There was around a 3% difference in the popular vote. It wasn't a landslide by any terms.


      Here are your Electoral landslides since 1992:

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      • Profile picture of the author max5ty
        Originally Posted by Mr. Subtle View Post



        Here are your Electoral landslides since 1992:

        Little cranky today aren't you?
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    • Profile picture of the author MikeHumphreys
      Originally Posted by max5ty View Post

      Could we please stop trying to learn lessons from the last election?

      There was around a 3% difference in the popular vote. It wasn't a landslide by any terms. The incumbent always has an advantage.
      As Subtle pointed out, capturing popular vote is less important than electorate vote for the Presidency. And it was still 3.4 million more people voting for Obama than Romney.

      Quite simply, Obama won by using a demographic surgical strike. Courtesy of Harvard Business Review (bolding is mine):

      Part of the President's high electoral-to-popular vote ratio is due to his overwhelming victory with minorities, among whom he had a 93% of African Americans, 74% of Asians and 69% of Latinos margin of victory. Minorities are highly concentrated, especially in areas with lots of Electoral College votes. In some of these markets, minorities are in fact the majority. These "majority-minority" areas comprise 22 of the top 100 largest US metro/cities.
      Obama Won With Minorities. Marketers Should Too - Eddie Yoon - Harvard Business Review

      Back to marketing... Marcus... let's talk good old fashion offline marketing.

      If you were trying to sell seats to a $20,000 business seminar... would you slap an ad in every local newspaper and HOPE your ideal prospects see it?

      Or would you do a personalized mailing to a very targeted list based on demographics like past buying history, location, net worth, gender, etc?

      Because if you're like me, then you're on the phone with the list broker to rent the perfect list. If you're like me, you remember rule #1 of marketing: Target the right prospects who are predisposed to wanting to hear your offer.

      My 3 cents,

      Mike
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  • Profile picture of the author Robert_Rand
    Obama won for two reasons:

    1) Changing demographics - specifically, higher population of those who tend to vote democrat. Hispanics. One study showed that if this was 20 years ago, Romney would have won.

    2) Negative advertising. People make decisions emotionally, and justify with logic. Obama used two of the most powerful emotions known to man. Fear and anger. In the last few weeks he blasted the airwaves with ads focusing on two subjects.

    a) Abortion. Mitt Romney is against women, i.e. "the war on women". (fear)
    b) Bain Capital. Mitt Romney is an unscrupulous business man who takes advantage of people. (anger)

    If you live in a swing state then you are probably very familiar with these ads. They were remarkably effective.
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    • Profile picture of the author max5ty
      Originally Posted by Robert_Rand View Post

      Obama won for two reasons:

      1) Changing demographics - specifically, higher population of those who tend to vote democrat. Hispanics. One study showed that if this was 20 years ago, Romney would have won.

      2) Negative advertising. People make decisions emotionally, and justify with logic. Obama used two of the most powerful emotions known to man. Fear and anger. In the last few weeks he blasted the airwaves with ads focusing on two subjects.

      a) Abortion. Mitt Romney is against women, i.e. "the war on women". (fear)
      b) Bain Capital. Mitt Romney is an unscrupulous business man who takes advantage of people. (anger)

      If you live in a swing state then you are probably very familiar with these ads. They were remarkably effective.
      I live in a swing state and the ads had no impact.

      Most had their minds made up before any ads. The ads of either side were only a confirmation of what their supporters had already believed.

      All I'm trying to say here...I can't see any lessons to be learned from the marketing of either side.

      Some of the emails could probably be studied...but I doubt there's much value there either.
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      • Profile picture of the author Robert_Rand
        Originally Posted by max5ty View Post

        I live in a swing state and the ads had no impact.

        Most had their minds made up before any ads.
        Yup, uh huh... And long video sales letters don't work, right?
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        • Profile picture of the author max5ty
          Originally Posted by Robert_Rand View Post

          Yup, uh huh... And long video sales letters don't work, right?
          Could you post some links from any either side did? Both sides supposedly used the most intelligent marketers...they did use some didn't they?

          Would be interested in seeing how they were done...there are some, aren't there?
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          • Profile picture of the author Mark Andrews
            Banned
            I heard on the grapevine you were flying criss-crossing the States in your Citation jet dropping propaganda leaflets back down to earth - is this true Marcus?

            Is it possible to see your sales copy on the leaflets you dropped (only I'd love to add one to my swipe file)?

            Smoking hot,


            Mark Andrews
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            • Profile picture of the author max5ty
              Originally Posted by Mark Andrews View Post

              I heard on the grapevine you were flying criss-crossing the States in your Citation jet dropping propaganda leaflets back down to earth - is this true Marcus?

              Is it possible to see your sales copy on the leaflets you dropped (only I'd love to add one to my swipe file)?

              Smoking hot,


              Mark Andrews
              No...no you can't see a copy. I'm not going to release my sales copies because they didn't work. The proper term is sales copies isn't it?
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              • Profile picture of the author Mark Andrews
                Banned
                Originally Posted by max5ty View Post

                I'm not going to release my sales copies because they didn't work.
                I don't know, what are we going to do with you Marcus?

                I told you you should have listened to my advice but would you listen?

                Could have made all the difference. Just a slight adjustment in your wording and the tiny % difference which meant your candidate lost, not to mention all the jet fuel wasted, well if you'd just listened to me - I could have saved your bacon.

                Ya plonker! 100,000,000 campaign leaflets all for nowt.

                I hope you're going to plant some trees this week!
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                • Profile picture of the author max5ty
                  Originally Posted by Mark Andrews View Post

                  I don't know, what are we going to do with you Marcus?

                  I told you you should have listened to my advice but would you listen?

                  Could have made all the difference. Just a slight adjustment in your wording and the tiny % difference which meant your candidate lost, not to mention all the jet fuel wasted, well if you'd just listened to me - I could have saved your bacon.

                  Ya plonker! 100,000,000 campaign leaflets all for nowt.

                  I hope you're going to plant some trees this week!
                  The advice you offered has been banned in 48 of our states...

                  Oh well, I'm on my way to my 7th mini-mart to get my booklet "The Theory Behind Molecular Composition" on the shelves.

                  Haven't had much luck yet...wish my Bentley got better fuel mileage!
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                  • Profile picture of the author Mark Andrews
                    Banned
                    Marketing lessons for Marcus...

                    1. Define your goal. Build an integrated digital strategy around it.

                    2. Bring the best minds to the table. Empower them to execute.

                    3. Leverage your target audience passions.

                    4. Relinquish control. Yes you can.

                    5. Segment and connect. Relevancy rules.

                    6. Stay ahead of the curve. Or your customers will move on without you.

                    7. Run many small campaigns. Tactics matter as much as strategy.

                    8. Make sure 'online community' translates to real world wins.

                    9. Focus on the endgame. Close the sale.

                    10. Change the rules of the game when you can.

                    The questions you need to ask yourself Marcus...

                    How cybergenic is my brand?

                    How digital is my marketing outlook and toolkit?

                    Next time, you need to listen to me more.

                    Next time my fees go up 3x.
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                    • Profile picture of the author max5ty
                      Originally Posted by Mark Andrews View Post

                      Marketing lessons for Marcus...

                      1. Define your goal. Build an integrated digital strategy around it.

                      2. Bring the best minds to the table. Empower them to execute.

                      3. Leverage your target audience passions.

                      4. Relinquish control. Yes you can.

                      5. Segment and connect. Relevancy rules.

                      6. Stay ahead of the curve. Or your customers will move on without you.

                      7. Run many small campaigns. Tactics matter as much as strategy.

                      8. Make sure 'online community' translates to real world wins.

                      9. Focus on the endgame. Close the sale.

                      10. Change the rules of the game when you can.

                      The questions you need to ask yourself Marcus...

                      How cybergenic is my brand?

                      How digital is my marketing outlook and toolkit?

                      Next time, you need to listen to me more.

                      Next time my fees go up 3x.
                      I like number 10 the best.
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      • Profile picture of the author Pusateri
        Only in the zero sum game of politics would this be considered a win:

        The market (total number of votes) was down 6%.

        'Sales' for the leading product in the category were down 10%, which translates into 2.5 points of market share and nearly seven million lost 'customers'.

        Numbers for the competing product were stagnant.

        Cost of acquisition for both went through the roof.

        Imagine what would happen to stocks that posted those numbers.

        The marketing teams don't deserve a hand, they deserve a boot.
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  • Profile picture of the author Marvin Johnston
    Originally Posted by MikeHumphreys View Post

    I found it to be a revealing explanation on how Obama's campaign focused on positioning, demographics, and target marketing to specific demographics to grab a competitive advantage in the recent presidential election.

    Why Obama Won
    Thanks for that posting, I found it fascinating to say the least. One quote on the link page put a new spin on a hungry market with respect to anything requiring a majority vote:

    "The Obama campaign out-maneuvered, out-segmented and flat out did a superior job of applying 80/20 to a minute percentage of critical swing voters."

    (emphasis mine.)

    That struck a chord with me as I've seen the same type of tactics used in some of the organizations I belong/belonged to, but didn't recognize them as such.

    Marvin
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  • Profile picture of the author RedShifted
    I think the real question is... was Obama's marketing that good, or was Romney's marketing really that bad?

    Initially, I wanted to vote for Romney... untill I realized that he was positioning himself like an idiot. And you also can't deny the role that random chance plays in these elections.

    For example. Romney laughed off global warming like it was a joke. Then the densely populated east coast got pumbled by the largest hurricane they've ever seen. How do you expect a copywriter to fix that problem? You people just get a little too absorbed in psychographics and lists. And you seem to forget all the people who had no idea who they were voting for till the last minute... and probably didn't care either way.

    Then people see images of Obama and Christie hugging, when weeks prior to that Christie was all over the internet insulting Obama. So this gave Obama a bipartisan endorsement. When Romney was busy talking about how partisan Obama was.

    I don't know, but I honestly question, if that hurricane didn't come a week before the election... if marketers would still be trying to figure out why Obamas marketing was so good. Presidential elections are not sequential things. You can say that psychographics were seperated and matched better.. but can you say THAT is the reason why Obama won? That type of sequential reasoning seems fatal to me. You need to consider widespread systemic interactions and variables. Variables that have little relation to marketing. Like history. Or a persons core competencies. When you link these sequential cause & effect type scenarios, to such a complex interacting system, it seems impossible to derive anything of real value.

    Maybe... just maybe, people weren't ready for another war wongering republican?
    Maybe people are still that traumatized by Bush regime?
    Maybe just maybe, nobody really knows why Obama won the election?

    I'm not denying the immense value in a well executed marketing plan, but trying to predict a presidential election, or explain one, is similar to trying to predict weather... or explain it. I know our race is getting to the point where we feel like we can now explain everything, but only time will tell how primitive our paradigms really are. Whatever that means.
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    • Profile picture of the author Pusateri
      Overheard in a big city dining establishment two nights ago:

      Couple in their mid twenties.

      GUY - "We should elect a single president, so he can marry the Queen of England and make a superpower."

      KNOW IT ALL GIRL - "First of all, the Queen of England is already married..."

      Swing voters. There pivots the fate of the republic.

      The conversation went on to discuss the merits of screws over wire for setting a broken jaw.

      How do you target this demo (non-ballistically)?
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    • Profile picture of the author MadHattie123
      Originally Posted by RedShifted View Post

      Maybe... just maybe, people weren't ready for another war wongering republican?
      Maybe people are still that traumatized by Bush regime?
      Yowza.... For these reasons and so many more.
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  • Profile picture of the author Scott Murdaugh
    *Leaving personal beliefs at the door as much as possible*

    I think the real marketing lesson here is how you get a group of people to be so insanely passionate over the "red" or "blue" team when the reality is they essentially have the same agenda.

    People respond to talking points.

    They don't ask questions like...

    - Why do they pass a new law almost every month that further erodes our individual freedoms?

    - Why does the "land of the free" have, by far, the world's largest per-capita population of non-violent offenders?

    - How can anyone who's spent a day studying economics believe that the current system isn't going to inevitably lead to financial collapse of the dollar?

    - Why is no one talking about the fact that the Government has assumed the authority to imprison or kill US citizens without the right to a trial?

    - Why are we constantly expanding the initiation of pre-emptive wars of aggression? Who profits from it? How can we stop it?

    - Why is it that if I steal from my neighbor it is theft - If I kill him it is murder - But if it's done by the state it's patriotic?

    I'll stop there. And just for the record I'm a military vet. And I'm not a republican or democrat.

    The fact that either side can get the fans cheering boggles my mind. Helluva marketing lesson though.

    *hides*

    -Scott
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    Over $30 Million In Marketing Data And A Decade Of Consistently Generating Breakthrough Results - Ask How My Unique Approach To Copy Typically Outsells Traditional Ads By Up To 29x Or More...

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    • Profile picture of the author Mark Andrews
      Banned
      Originally Posted by Scott Murdaugh View Post

      ...

      *hides*

      -Scott
      No need to hide. Your comments are absolutely bang on Scott.

      Some of us have been going on about these issues for decades. Right now though one can sense it's all coming to the fore. Another 10 years and the Chinese will be in charge - what 'fun' that'll be.

      Smoking hot,


      Mark Andrews
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  • Profile picture of the author gregdavidson727
    I think he had a better ground game. Fear could also be another factor.
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  • Profile picture of the author CopyMonster
    At the end of the day, it doesn't matter who governs the US. It will become a whipping boy to the whims of awakened giant, known to all as the People's Republic of China. No doubt the US will resist, but the writing is on the wall... so get your *Beijing* Style on.

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    Scary good...
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    • Originally Posted by CopyMonster View Post

      At the end of the day, it doesn't matter who governs the US. It will become a whipping boy to the whims of awakened giant, known to all as the People's Republic of China.
      Nah, they said the same thing about Japan. China is already showing cracks in their system. Major player, yes. Dominate the world, no.
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      - Jack Trout
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      • Profile picture of the author CopyMonster
        Originally Posted by Joe Ditzel View Post

        Nah, they said the same thing about Japan. China is already showing cracks in their system. Major player, yes. Dominate the world, no.
        You're saying China = Japan?

        Obviously, they're both in the same part of the world. But only the shallowest of thinking would consider they are anything but very different propositions. For one, Japan = 127 million people, China = 1.34 billion ie. 10x Japan and 3x US populations. More importantly, the Chinese mindset is VERY, VERY, different from the Japanese mindset. And don't think the Chinese strategists haven't looked at where the Japanese mis-stepped. Dismiss it at your own financial risk or not. Your choice.

        PS. And the US system doesn't have cracks? In case you haven't see the "news", the US debt level has now topped $16 trillion. US Fiscal Cliff anyone? Not saying China doesn't have it's issues. It does. However, if you want to bet on anyone learning quickly, short odds are on the Chinese


        Edit: On the Republican's losing... my layman theory is that the "people", while not all that happy with the current state of affairs, still haven't forgiven the previous administration for it's failings (ie. global financial crisis 2007-08) and are still to really trust big business again and who represents big business more than Romney.
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        Scary good...
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