Election Reflections; What Martha Coakley Can Teach You about Your Next Marketing Initiative

Election Reflections; What Martha Coakley Can Teach You about Your Next Marketing Initiative
Kate Headen Waddell - Thu Jan 21, 2010 @ 07:46AM
Comments: 11

VoteUnless you have been living under a rock for the last few weeks, you probably know that Massachusetts held a special election to fill the late Senator Ted Kennedy’s seat. Kennedy was a democrat, and MA is a VERY blue state – some even call it indigo. So how did Scott Brown, a republican, win against the democratic “shoe-in”? And more importantly, what can it teach us marketers about how to run an effective campaign?

Lessons Learned

Assuming the sale is one thing…taking your customers for granted is another

I am sorry to say it, but Martha Coakley took her “customers” – the voters of Massachusetts, for granted. The democratic candidates all campaigned hard during the primaries, and the general feeling was that that was the REAL election, and whoever won the democratic nomination would crush the republican nominee.

Martha Coakley actually took a two week vacation between the primary and the election. The mind boggles. So, marketers, go ahead and assume that your customers are dying to buy your great product or service, but don’t stop there. Show them that you feel their pain and are there to solve it – and not just sitting around waiting for them to buy from you.

Scott Brown did something much unexpected from the republican candidate in this election. He believed that he could win. Then he went out and figured out how to do it. Most republican candidates in this state have just been paying lip service to a two party system, dutifully throwing their hats into the ring and then trying not to waste too much money or effort on a campaign.

Scott Brown went out and asked voters what they were concerned about, and then he laid out his plan for how to help them. He spent a ridiculous amount of money on ads, both online and traditional media.  What can we learn from him? Do your market research, then believe in your product and do what is necessary to get the word out. Don’t worry if there is a 3000 pound gorilla in the room, ‘cause the gorilla just might be napping.

If this sounds basic, you’re right. But as the election results have proven, all of us can stand to be reminded of what’s important every now and again.

Comments: 11


1. Jamie Wallace   |   Thu Jan 21, 2010 @ 08:10AM

The status quo was made to be shattered by the upstart who decides to create her own reality.

Businesses should focus their concern on the relationship they have with their customers and potential customers rather than their relationship to the competition. If they stay focused and true on the former, the latter will become a moot point.


2. Clint Poole  |  my website   |   Fri Jan 22, 2010 @ 06:36AM

Great insights Kate. As a Massachusetts voter I felt exactly what you described. Martha Coakley and her campaign team assumed they understood what their customer wanted and never asked. Turns out they were out of touch. Definitely an applicable lesson for marketers; keep your customer insights fresh.

3. Kate Waddell  |  my website   |   Sun Feb 21, 2010 @ 03:07AM

Thank for the comments, guys. I used to think that we product marketers could learn a lot from politcal campaign strategists. I guess we can also learn what NOT to do as well.

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