Marketing Like a Politician is a Bad Business Strategy

I don’t know about you, but I’m sure glad this round of the political cycle is over. It seemed like you couldn’t turn on the TV, open a newspaper, or browse the interwebs without encountering negative political ads bashing candidates right and left. And, no, it wasn’t your imagination. According to the Wesleyan Media Project, the 2010 campaign was the most negative in recent history.

The sad part is that it appears to have been effective. But if you’re considering this strategy for your business, you might want to think again. Spewing negativity and slinging mud at your competitor might work in politics, but it sure isn’t a good approach for your business.

How would you feel if you visited the web page for the Blue Widget Company because you wanted to buy, well, blue widgets. So you land on the page and it’s plastered with messages about how horrible the purple widget company is. It states the owners are liars and thieves and the quality of the products are poor. But it doesn’t say a word about how blue widgets will solve your problems. As a matter of fact, blue widgets are never mentioned.

Who would want to do business with a company that did nothing but talk about how horrible their competition was? And what about employees? Who do you recruit to work at a company that has that kind of culture? Would part of the orientation be training to be the best at whacking the key competitor? Sounds pretty silly, doesn’t it?

Here are some better ideas:

  • Figure out your customers’ pains — People want to buy, but they don’t want to be sold to. Find out what’s causing them pain and make sure your product solves that problem.
  • Listen carefully — Your customers will tell you exactly how they want to be served. All you have to do is stop talking and listen. Tap into what the customer is communicating they need and give that to them.
  • Create a culture of caring — There’s that old saying, “You’ll draw a lot more flies with honey.” And it’s true. Be positive in your approach with employees and they will not fail you.

What do you think? Let’s talk about it. Please leave a comment.

Denise O'Berry

Denise O’Berry — aka the Team Doc — has been working with teams and team leadership in the public, non profit and private sectors for over twenty years. Follow her @askteamdoc.

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