Marketers Don’t Get It

snake Scott Goodstein, CEO of Revolution Messaging, has an op-ed piece in today’s New York Times. Mr. Goodstein, who fancies himself a rebel and sees his work in helping reduce politics to marketing as somehow liberating, says “[i]n future campaigns, Democrats will need to devote even more resources to social networks than they did in 2016.” So, yeah, wow, very deep, Scott.

Meanwhile, Goodstein asks us to “Imagine if Mrs. Clinton had ditched the script, the teleprompter and the overproduced videos and posted a cellphone video telling America that she was fired up on an issue.”

Earth to Scott: Not only was/is Mrs. Clinton mega-obviously not fired up about anything but her own social climbing and power-seeking, but what, pray tell, would be left of her without all the political marketing? Again, mega-obviously, the answer is “nothing.”

Your industry — political marketing — is, despite your self-serving fantasies, inherently and fully part of our mounting crisis. Telling better lies is not the way forward.

It takes this kind of cluelessness to do what Goodstein does, despite it all.

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Don Drumpf as an Object of Shame

As usual, reading the big business marketing press is more helpful than most regular journalism. Seems that the main cause of the unusually big errors in the marketing research tools used to conduct and predict the gigantic 18-month marketing operations we perceive as political elections was the fact that a significant number of Drumpf voters are ashamed of themselves:

How did so many pollsters get the presidential election so wrong? The answer may involve shame, some of which belongs to research organizations themselves.

The other part of the shame belonged to Trump voters, many of them unwilling to admit, particularly to live human beings on the other end of the phone, their plans to vote for the president-elect.

That was an effect that Trafalgar Group, a small Atlanta-based Republican-affiliated polling firm, began noticing during the Republican primaries. So it developed a system to counteract the effect. Trafalgar started asking voters not only who they planned to vote for, but also who they thought their neighbors would vote for. The latter percentage consistently came out higher number than the former, said Robert Cahaly, senior strategist.

“On a live poll, the deviation was that Trump was understated probably 6%-7%, and on an automatic poll it was probably understated 3%-4%,” Mr. Cahaly said.

Quite comical and telling that the elite hacks running Brand Klinton seem to have utterly missed this aspect of reality in their pathetic efforts to peddle an even more pathetic product.

The answer to the errors, as always, is to better reduce politics to marketing:

Political polling may be more closely watched and higher profile, but in many ways it needs to catch up with brand market research, said Simon Chadwick, founding and managing partner of Cambiar, a consulting firm for market-research agencies and their investors.

“What’s happening increasingly in marketing is that survey research is being used to complement other forms of data,” he said, be it transactional data, social-media listening, ethnography or neuroscience. “People increasingly are synthesizing those other forms of data,” he said, “but in politics it doesn’t seem to have happened.”

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Hillary as Brand

worst Advertising Age, which named Barack Obama its Marketer of the Year in 2008, is digging through the Wikileaks DNC revelations and reporting on how Hillary Clinton is being managed as a corporate product. Suffice to say, this is not a small topic behind the scenes. Here’s a little snippet from a very long dialogue about the Klinton campaign’s logo design:


We have a gift in the Hillary Rodham Clinton brand because of massive recognition/awareness. Obama did not start with this. At the same time we must create a new, fresh view of that familiar brand in a truly authentic and compelling way.

To be clear, a logo can communicate and aid attribution of qualities, but it is not a proxy for the messaging of the campaign until they are relentlessly connected and delivered, repeatedly and consistently. That’s when brands take on meaning.

Rousing stuff, isn’t it? Our grandchildren will surely thank us for attending so diligently to the epoch’s burning core question of “when brands take on meaning.”

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Disaster Marketing

bud-water Capitalism thrives, as classically observed by by economist Joseph Schumpeter, on “creative destruction.” Naomi Klein has commented on how the system’s love of wreckage includes things like war, natural disasters, and anthropogenic ecological crises.

Witness, this week, the shipment of more BudWater, the latest effort of beer oligopoly AB InBev, the current manifestation of the former Anheuser-Busch corporation, at “creating marketing magic in difficult times.” Does anybody believe that this firm, which so ostentatiously played the 911 card, is shipping Florida a few trucks of water for altruistic reasons? Dollars to donuts (this is admittedly a bit of a dated quip) the national ads are already being filmed, if Hurricane Matthew does its part and creates enough newsworthy suffering.

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Consumer Vocab Note

marx According to the quasi-official English version of Karl Marx’s essay, “The 18th Brumaire of Louis Napoleon” hosted at marxists.org, Marx is supposed to have written this sentence:

“Each individual peasant family is almost self-sufficient, directly produces most of its consumer needs, and thus acquires its means of life more through an exchange with nature than in intercourse with society.”

Here, however, is what Marx actually wrote, auf Deutsch:

“Jede einzelne Bauernfamilie genügt beinahe sich selbst, produziert unmittelbar selbst den größten Teil ihres Konsums und gewinnt so ihr Lebensmaterial mehr im Austausche mit der Natur als im Verkehr mit der Gesellschaft.”

Properly translated, “ihres Konsums” means “its consumption,” not “its consumer needs.”

If TCT is right that “consumer” is a capitalist bias that ruins clear thinking about reality, then this little over- and mis-translation is of some importance, despite its obscurity.

The translator responsible was Saul K. Padover, by the way.

The “18th Brumaire,” by the way, is the source of one of the most classic (and itself poorly translated) statements of sociology’s hard-won first insight:

People make their own history, but they make it not however they want, not under self-selected circumstances, but out of the actual given and transmitted situation.

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Directors of Empathy

This, per Advertising Age, exists:

Scott Madden is senior partner-director of empathy and evolution at Boston-based Connelly Partners.

It gets even better. Here’s the promise from said agency:

At Connelly Partners, we believe in the undeniable power of empathy. So we weave it into every piece of communications we create. We call it Empathy Engineering. It’s what helps our work resonate with your target in a more powerful and memorable fashion. It’s not rocket science. It’s marketing science.

Empathy engineering. Nuff said.

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