What Did You Learn From This Presidential Election In Terms Of Marketing?

51 replies
I went to a network news site this morning and saw a big map of The United States showing which presidential candidate won each state. The states that Barack Obama won seem to be the most liberal states when it comes to advancement of technology, something that Obama seems to be in touch with. (I hear McCain doesn't even know how to use a computer, correct me if I'm wrong)

Another thing I noticed is that the states hardest hit with job losses during the current presidency have also voted in favor of Barack Obama.

This says something about the way people think in these states. I'm not trying to offend anyone, I'm only trying to open up what this means to us in terms of business and marketing.

What's your opinion? What did you learn?
#election #learn #marketing #presidential #terms
  • Profile picture of the author Talltom1
    A couple of things I've gleaned, his campaign organization was very strategic about very intentionally mobilizing large groups of vocal, passionate supporters in key markets. This was especially true during the primary and in my opinion seems to be the single reason why Hillary got eliminated.


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  • Profile picture of the author jnapier
    While I was supporting McCain, it was a very tough decision. Obama is young, sharp, and looks good on tv. McCain is older and would have been the oldest President. While McCain is a war hero, it shows in how he moves and how he waves to people. These little things don't mean anything when it come to choosing a President, but it DOES show you that they eyes have it.

    While being able to use a computer is important in today's world, it's not the be all end all. Having people on your staff who know how to run a computer IS a key. I know a guy who earns over a million a year and he calls it "Low Tech, High Check".

    Jay NaPier

    Do LIVE webinars on FACEBOOK... Yes, you can attract an audience for your webinar on Facebook MeetCheap

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  • Profile picture of the author Mo Goulet
    Line yourself up with the best people in Marketing & Promotion if you want to succeed online. Barak Obama had the best campaign manager money can buy.

    Chicago politicians now how to reach the wallets of the common people.
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  • Profile picture of the author Michael Dominic
    I'd also like to add that I believe his campaign was very successful. I got 15+ postcards from political organizations supporting Barack Obama. Not one supporting John McCain.

    I did receive 2 postcards from Obama's campaign on Friday or Saturday reminding me to vote.

    2 volunteers supporting Obama came to my door, 1 from Obama's campaign. Not 1 from McCain's campaign.

    I do live in a key state (Ohio) and the most populous county (Cuyahoga). So that might have had something to do with the bombardment of Obama support.
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  • Profile picture of the author Michael Oksa
    Repitition is more important than consistency.

    "Ich bin en fuego!"
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    • Profile picture of the author agoodsaid
      Originally Posted by Michael Oksa View Post

      Repitition is more important than consistency.
      Oh boy howdy - and their phone calling was nothing short of thorough!

      I think McCain totally underestimated the power of the Internet -- we do amazing things on a limited budget. Obama's roll up his sleeves community experience really supported his understanding of what CAN be done online.

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  • Profile picture of the author JackieLee
    I learned that people have to hear your message over and over before they buy in.

    Last night I heard on the news they had polled the people at the bowling alley where Barack had bowled (miserably). The first time they went at the beginning of the primary not ONE person said they would vote for Barack.

    They went back a few days before the election and now every person said they would vote for him.

    They also mentioned people had to begin to trust that he could manage the problems people are facing.

    I think that's absolutely the same in marketing. People have to trust that YOU can help them solve their problems.
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  • Profile picture of the author Lynn Stivers
    Lots of good marketing stuff here...
    BBC NEWS | Americas | US Elections 2008 | Why Barack Obama won

    Good marketing does make a difference.

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  • Profile picture of the author Phil Jones
    I think Obama really knows how to connect with people and understand them. That is GOLD in marketing. Making relationships with people without meeting them... killer!
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    • Profile picture of the author AskJesusLeon
      Great post. This presidential election has reminded me yet again the importance of relationship building and talking to "a person" when marketing i.e. writing copy for a LCP and giving them what they want. Give people a solution to their wants and needs and incredible things will happen.

      Grow Your IM Business NOW with these 8 Free Gifts ==>Give Me My Reports Now!!

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      • Profile picture of the author blase40
        Here's what I learned:

        Don't hire an Alaskan hockey mom to help me get where I need to be

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  • Profile picture of the author Loren Woirhaye
    Consistency matters - Obama, in my perception, was
    both more consistent and more specific in his message.
    He's a politician of course so there's a good deal of
    hyperbole to be expected.

    McCain's strategists were changing their angle on
    practically a daily basis and, along with his age, the
    confused message and awkward gaffes made me wonder
    if his mind wasn't slipping. Poor positioning of a candidate
    who has been a capable senator. His choice of running
    mate was a miscalculation as well.

    Even then most Americans voted along party lines - and
    even though Obama won the electoral vote by a wide margin
    the popular vote was closer than I thought it might be.

    McCain was outgunned on several levels - charismatically,
    appearance wise, and financially.

    I'm sure the next 4 years will see a huge push by the GOP
    to try to copy the Obama internet strategy - it'll be worth
    watching what they do.

    BTW - the Republican National Committee puts out some of
    the best direct mail stuff around - you can make a donation
    and you'll get lots of great copywriting in your mail box.
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  • Profile picture of the author Sean Hoffman
    People can be fully coerced by corporate media. My friends and I were playing a game to see how long you could go without being notified of the elected candidate. I lasted about 12hours...

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  • Profile picture of the author NMP
    I learned that no matter how much you want to have a good product (George Bush)but always act bad. It always better to change to something better (Obama). ;-)
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    • Profile picture of the author Steven Wagenheim
      I learned that good marketing can sell a crappy product.
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    • Profile picture of the author Jenni Mac
      Even from across the pond in the UK where I am, what is clearly evident is that you HAVE to connect to the hearts and minds of the people who you want to follow you, and who you want to buy into what you're selling.

      I know, pretty obvious stuff, but it's very easy to forget that you are in it for the people. You are in it to help people solve their problems and if you can tell them that and tell them on a level that connects to them emotionally (did I hear someone say hot buttons?) then you're golden.

      The fact that the solution to their problems is all wrapped up in a pretty package also helps!
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  • Profile picture of the author al_clark7
    I learned that obama had a lot of money to spend on teams of people to strategically plan the best way of marketing the Obama machine.

    I also learned that his campaign embraced the internet and the types of things we all try to do on this forum.

    The way I see it is that we are all trying to break into the single biggest money making machine known on the planet! Using marketing techniques to talk to targeted people and promote our message via the internet!

    Also getting people like michael moore onboard (affiliate marketing?) Lol, not quite but networking with other other marketing experts and taking advantage of their lists.

    I think the obama campaign, despite the millions and millions spent on it, can show everyone the power of the internet.

    It has certainly filled me with some new found optimism
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  • Profile picture of the author tomw
    There are many lessons to be learnt from the campaign. We would all profit from applying them to our businesses.

    Everyone needs hope. Everyone wants change. Just like Obama's this is exactly the same message that Tony Blair used in order to come to power in the UK. His slogan was "things can only get better!" In fact, it's the same core message that every politician uses!

    It's the oldest trick in the book. It never fails to work, because the "solutions" never work and so people are always looking for the next solution to the same old unsolved problems.

    It's never too late to change the future. Especially in your own life. Especially if you really do have a solution to people's problems. These don't have to be about the big things. Just helping someone get through the day a little better by taking less time to do a mundane task and therefore having more time to spend with the people they love is a great start.

    Promise the moon. But deliver the stars. And *not* the same tired old sh*t but with a new name....just like the politicians do day in, day out.

    If only we could apply the value exchange proposition concept to politics...

    Help Us Rescue, Rehabilitate And Reunite Victims With Their Families

    STOP THE TRAFFIK is a growing global movement of individuals, communities and organisations fighting to PREVENT the sale of people,
    PROTECT the trafficked and PROSECUTE the traffickers.
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  • Profile picture of the author LegitIncomes
    1. Flash above substance
    2. People will support a candidate while knowing virtually nothing about them
    3. The "Celebrities are voting for him, so I will too" mentality is alive and well
    100% Unique Sales Page Website +100% Unique Internet Marketing Product
    + Support! All of this, just $397! (PM Me For Details!)
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  • Profile picture of the author Mike McBride
    Why can't people stay on topic in the spirit of Michael's OP, instead of posting their snide, whiny political opinons?

    One man won, one lost - get over it.
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  • Profile picture of the author write-stuff
    Serious marketing has long been a mainstay in elections. In the U.S., back into the 19th century. Bigtime marketing probably began with Kennedy v. Nixon. Shortly after that, someone wrote a popular book - been a very long time but I think it was called "The Selling of the Presidency".

    So what did I learn from this election? That when you get too entrenched in the current way of doing things, someone is going to come along with new tactics and eat your lunch. McCain's campaign managers should be tarred and feathered.
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  • Profile picture of the author stbnetblocking
    Interesting thread topic. I'm not sure what it was exactly about the Obama campaign that led to their victory, all I know is what it was about the campaign that led to my vote. And that is simply, he stuck to the point of not being another repeat of the failed administration we've endured for eight years. He continues to stick to that point, and he's honest and direct about it. Whether or not he will follow through is another thing, but I trusted him over McCain, who tried to hide and mask his record of being a staunch Bush supporter.

    So I guess that translates into, people who pretend to offer something they cannot do not get my business.
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    • Profile picture of the author MaskedMarketer
      I didn't learn anything new. But it was awesome to see it all in process.

      Imprtant aspects to the campiagn that I've noticed are:

      1. The understanding of the market, the use of ALL media channels, and having a persuasive story and message. Obama is also very charasmatic and influencial. He knows, understands the market, and can communicate influencial.

      2. How did Obama package himself as the "magic bullet" to our country (and world problems)? His theme of change was part of it. Understanding this can increase business.

      3. Repititon is important.

      4. Knowing how to sell yourself.

      5. Knowing how to organize social groups. This could be used in business as organizing seminars, teleseminars, stuff like that.

      6. Knowing the right team to pick to run his business.

      7. Gathering partners and supporters to fund his cause. Also used in business.

      Obama did a fantastic job at organizing people, persuading people, and becoming president.

      Hope he does a good job improving the country...

      "One Man's Ceiling is Another Man's Floor

      "I Pay Less Attention to What Men Say. I Just Watch What They Do."
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    • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
      At the risk of being mistaken for a "snide, whiny political opinion", here are some observations...

      1. Parallel to the recent IM trend of 'guru bashing', it can help immensely if you have no track record to attack. Then it comes down to personalities.

      2. It also helps if you can link your competition to someone or something large groups of people can't stand. Until this campaign, Senator McCain was very popular among the media stemming from his "Straight Talk Express" days when he would spend hours talking to reporters on his bus. Once the Obama people successfully linked McCain to W, the goose was cooked.

      3. It can't hurt to get the media to portray your competition as a doddering old man with one foot in the grave, backed by an air-headed Barbie doll. In terms of actual executive experience, Palin was far more qualified than Obama.

      4. Segmenting your market and targeting your efforts where they are likely to do the most good is crucial. For example, Senator Obama didn't waste a lot of time in Collier County here in Florida. Collier County has one of the highest net worths per capita in the country, and the largest ratio of millionaires per capita. Obama's 'soak the rich' class warfare mantra wouldn't get too far, he knew it and pointed his efforts elsewhere.

      On a lighter note...

      Does anyone else think it's kind of funny that the first 'African-American' president is actually half African and half American?

      Whatever your feelings, and whichever candidate you supported, what's done is done. Now let's all hope that the new administration is up to the challenges they face...
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  • Profile picture of the author Paul Hancox
    Obama ran a very effective marketing campaign on a par with a corporate product campaign, utilizing classic marketing, viral marketing and NLP.

    He had slogans: "Change", "Yes We Can" (classic mass marketing).

    He created a "buzz" around his candidacy, by inspiring young people who would be the most vocal supporters, and thus "spread the word" to their peers and to their parents - classic viral marketing.

    He used classic NLP techniques such as pacing and leading, and speaking in sufficiently vague terms to appeal to the broadest number of people, and to allow individuals to find their own meaning in his words - something that is done by the best copywriters.

    I should point out that these are not "snide" comments, I am speaking purely in marketing terms here (and leaving my own political opinions out of it).

    The bottom line is elections are about the opinion of the masses, and the Obama campaign's marketing strategy was a lot slicker than McCain's, and the Obama product itself looked and felt more appealing to the masses than McCain.

    Those are the reasons we're allowed to talk about on this forum...
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  • Profile picture of the author Chris Monty
    I learned that you are only as good as your personal brand.
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    • Profile picture of the author TimPhelan

      * Don't throw too many hail Marys.
      * Don't change your message in the middle of a launch. I thought his "I'm experienced, you aren't" message was his best one and he pretty much had to abandon that when he picked Palin.
      * Don't mention the other brand too much. Accentuate why your product is better and why people should buy it.


      * Expand your target market. Obama went into the Red states from the start and McCain ended up defending his base.
      * Have a plan and stick to it.
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  • Profile picture of the author Mike McBride
    John and Paul,

    I can't believe that you two can't distinguish between the "snide remarks" that a few people made in this thread, that had absolutely nothing to do with the intent of Michael's OP. They had nothing to do with marketing tactics to be learned from this election. Both of your posts were on topic, in the spirit of the OP.

    Is that so hard to understand?
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  • Profile picture of the author Chris Stigson
    I learned one thing and that's...(I'm from Sweden btw)... The only person I could ever remember trying to rug for president was Obama, I never even noticed McCain.

    Don't know how, or why that is, but I was always like.. "It's Obama, vs some other dude". So I guess he was not memorable enough in my eyes, which means lack of something which would have made me remember the fella'

    Took a while to remember him. Obama's face just rings a bell each time it shows up.

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  • Profile picture of the author Clark
    It's good to have Oprah (daily national TV coverage) on your side.
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  • Profile picture of the author richpeck
    Don't attack your adversaries - just concentrate on why you're a winner.

    How many of the big names do you see "accusing" others of negative things? There's a big one I know of and he's bitterly dissappointed now.
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    • Profile picture of the author Darth Executor
      Originally Posted by richpeck View Post

      Don't attack your adversaries - just concentrate on why you're a winner.
      Uhh, both candidates split the attack their opponent/build yourself up ads 50/50, so I'm not sure how this is a lesson from this campaign.

      What I've learned is that you can gain a huge financial advantage over your opponent through lying and fraud. Let nobody said I don't believe Obama taught me anything.
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      • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
        Originally Posted by Darth Executor View Post

        Uhh, both candidates split the attack their opponent/build yourself up ads 50/50, so I'm not sure how this is a lesson from this campaign.
        At least here in Florida, the worst of the attack ads were put forward by third parties (actually some were from parts of the parties themselves, and some from mainly single-issue interest groups). The whole "I'm [name], and I approved this message" thing came about as a way to separate ads from the candidates themselves, and ads sponsored by other interests.

        On that front, the ads put out by Obama backers were far more disturbing and malicious than the ones targeting the President-elect.

        The lesson here is if you are going to play dirty, let the blood be on someone else's hands. Or, less dramatically, it helps to have allies who will throw the mud for you so you can show clean hands to the public.
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  • Profile picture of the author Chris Lockwood
    1. Charisma and hypnotic speaking ability are more important than content.
    2. Social media works, especially if the competition isn't using it.
    3. It's easier to sell your product when the media loves it. You can't buy advertising like that.
    4. Having a much bigger advertising budget than the competition really helps.
    5. Luck and timing still come into play.
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  • Profile picture of the author Darth Executor
    Originally Posted by Michael Dominic View Post

    (I hear McCain doesn't even know how to use a computer, correct me if I'm wrong)
    You heard that in an Obama smear ad and it's wrong. McCain finds it painful using a keyboard because he was pretty much crippled by his internment in Vietnam. There were a couple of articles on McCain written long before the presidential election detailing this.
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    • Profile picture of the author neddag
      1. Relationship building is essential.

      2. Social marketing is invaluable.

      3. It's not what you say but how you say it. Neither candidate said anything particularly enlightening, but Obama said his nothing in a much more appealing way.

      4. Along the same lines...image is everything. Apply this to marketing by establishing your brand in a positive light. (Think Nike, are their shoes really that much better?)

      5. It takes money to make money (or win an election). Those with a larger advertising budget have a big advantage. (Think Nike again)

      6. Free advertising is great. If the media loves and promotes your product, you stand a better chance of success. (Not always but often)

      7. Create buzz. Goes hand in hand with number 2.

      8. Find out what your prospects want to hear and tell it to them. The difference is that in business, unlike politics, you better be able to deliver.

      All of the above work in business. I'm sure there's more but these immediately come to mind.


      Something is happening here but you don't know what it is.....

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      • Profile picture of the author MaskedMarketer
        Originally Posted by Paul Hancox View Post

        Obama ran a very effective marketing campaign on a par with a corporate product campaign, utilizing classic marketing, viral marketing and NLP.
        NLP is used by many political, business people, and media. Even Bush was doing some good anchoring techniques the day of his election. Dont remember if it was first or second term, but those guys can be slick

        "One Man's Ceiling is Another Man's Floor

        "I Pay Less Attention to What Men Say. I Just Watch What They Do."
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  • Profile picture of the author Floyd Fisher
    What did I learn?

    Email is the king, and always will be.
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  • Profile picture of the author dhudiburg
    1) Focus on your vision, not fear

    2) The Internet completely changes the game with fundraising
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  • Profile picture of the author Tony X
    Focus on your target market. Obama focused on middle class. Cutting taxes for 95% of people.

    McCain focused on everyone. I won't raise taxes, my friends. I will cut taxes. Especially for businesses.

    In the end, McCain tried to capture everyone and ending up not getting anyone...for the most part.

    Obama pretty much got everyone who he appealed to.

    **Don't try to sell everyone. Focus on a particular group (a niche) and hammer away***

    Christ Follower...

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  • Profile picture of the author greenovni
    I learned that "yes, we can!

    We can create our own fate with massive action.
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    • Profile picture of the author tanya7zhou

      Discover the methods that any average Joe or Jane can use to become the next US Commander In Chief

      Dear Frustrated Campaign Loser

      10 Minutes from now, you are going to learn a step by step process, you can implement to become the President of the United States

      • You don't need any experience
      • It doesn't matter whether you are black or white
      • You don't need to be a patriot to win
      • You don't need any support from washington

      Okay, jokes aside. The secret to Obama's comfortable WIN was STRATEGY.

      You put a strategy in place, set long and short term goals, implement your goals..............

      You will Win.

      Marketing is very important too. Flood your prospects with every available marketing method online and offline.......you will get to their heads.

      It's not over until it is Over!

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      • Profile picture of the author terryrayburn
        One thing easily overlooked is the sheer NUMBER of multiple streams of communication and influence.

        To put it another way, there wasn't 1, or 2, or 50 streams, but a 10,000-legged octopus [yes, I realize the internal mutually exclusive numbers, since "octo" refers to only 8, but you get the idea] with each "leg" generating a little "traffic".

        Hard to compete with, from a sheer numbers standpoint.
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  • Profile picture of the author Kirk Paulhamus
    I learned that old news isn't a way to sell. For most of the campaign all I can remember about was that McCain had been a prisoner of war years and years ago. Witch was one selling point but I beleave people wanted to know what have you done for us lately.
    I'm from a republican state but I voided for Obama because I don't beleave we could take another turn like the last 2.
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  • Profile picture of the author TE2
    Originally Posted by Michael Dominic View Post

    What Did You Learn From This Presidential Election In Terms Of Marketing?
    With great marketing, you can sell anything.


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  • Profile picture of the author J. Barry Mandel
    You can have a great product but without great copywriting you'll get nowhere.

    Go to the source of what markets prefer to use and exploit it. Obama used technology to appeal to the youth of America.
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  • Profile picture of the author zig_nahraf
    The ability to inspire people.

    There's no denying the fact that he had excellent campaign machinery but his oratory skills can win people in an instant.

    From a marketing standpoint...hmm maybe outstanding copywriting i guess. =)

    Now it's time for him to prove that he can walk the talk.
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  • Profile picture of the author Christie Love
    I was thinking the same thing as I looked at the map of the states that voted for Obama. While I am fortunate enough to live in one of the more "liberal states" I see understand the nature of the states that voted for Mc.Cain, mainly Texas (where I used to live).

    In my own observation and discussions with people of Texas, I find them to be settled in their opinions and far from being open to... change. Of course, this is not to say that everyone is, but as you can see the majority acts and feel this way.
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  • Profile picture of the author mindspring
    I learned that the marketer that is most able to connect with their audience will win (make the most money). Repetition is another. Your message must be consistent. And finally, getting people to feel that they have a stake in whatever you are selling. When you have this combination in the right proportions, you become unstoppable. OBAMA won because he understood his target market better than McCain and used the internet and the media to tell them exactly what they wanted to hear.


    Be ambitious! You will never achieve anything greater than you set your sights upon.
    Great endeavors do not just happen, they are undertaken by average people who gain a
    vision of how to make the impossible possible.”
    -- John Di Frances

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    • Profile picture of the author Lionel Turner
      It all boils down to 600 million dollars Obama had to spend to 84 million McCain had. And if you take 600 mil and add that to a great public speaker and have him talk about solving everyone's individual problems you get the winner. kinda like a really nice sales page that claims to earn you cash over night while you sleep and you never have to work on it. And it holds the #1 spot on google because the PPC bid is $10 per click keyworded for every word in the english dicitonary. That sounds a bit like what the Obama campaign did.
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  • Profile picture of the author robseko
    I confirmed one thing that I knew already - you have to take calculated risks in internet marketing. Obama was the first candidate of a major party to bypass public money for a general election and fund his election campaign using money raised from private donations. In internet marketing we need to take the risk and constantly look for new ways to reach our customers.
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