Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Lessons from marketing politics and ideas in Curacao

All politics is for local consumption, so too this post dealing with local politics. If you are somehow related to Curacao, you know that on May 15th we had a referendum, of which the result was 52/48.

Throughout the campaigns I was burning to post my observations, but since marketing is not an exact science, I did not want to publicly take the risk.

In the aftermath, what do I think we in Curacao have learnt about political marketing strategy?

The power of emotions

Not just any emotion, the relevant emotions (of the relevant target market); not just emotional content, but the inference, context and form of the emotion. As is the case in consumer products market, marketers who appeal to the right emotions in politics, also do best. Over the past 20 years, marketers, including those in Curacao, have relentlessly trained consumers to choose a product based on emotions (not reason). That's the only decision-making process that today's consumer really knows. He is no longer able to decide based on reason. Hot temperamented people like Caribbeans certainly cannot.

Know your market

Quantify the target segments, understand what motivates each segment and use these core motivators as the starting point for any strategy. Finding a "common motivator" is ideal. But if that does not exist, applying the motivator from one segment across all segments doesn't work, not even in small Caribbean markets.

Mirroring your competitors' position is not a viable strategy

If your competitor positions itself as "for the youngest people", will you position yourself as "for the oldest"? If she says "my product is the cheapest", will you say that yours is the most expensive? Intuitively that does not make sense. Why not, you wonder? Because everyone in the middle is left unserved, untargeted. Marketers know there is a larger market in the middle than at any extreme.

My most interesting observation is in the next post.

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