Actionable Analysis: Lessons Learned from the Presidential Campaigns

Solomon Thimothy - October 20, 2008

actionable analysisToday’s online marketers can learn a lot from the techniques employed by the Democratic and Republican strategists advising the candidates in our current presidential election season.  Inspiring voters to rally around a specific party or candidate is much like motivating consumers to have confidence in a brand or purchase a product.  As we daily witness the events of the 2008 presidential race, online marketers can benefit from a closer analysis of the dynamics of marketing segmentation.

Presidential marketing campaigns are fueled with enormous budgets, massive manpower, and seemingly almost unlimited resources.  Despite the numerous complexities and nuances involved in “marketing” a candidate, much of the strategy boils down to three important segments that online marketers should bear in mind.


The importance of demographic features has perhaps never been so evident as it is in the 2008 elections.  The same demographic traits are equally relevant for online marketers considering their target market and customer base.

Location – How do customers behave in the geographic location you are targeting? What are the unique considerations in the region?
Age – Senator Barack Obama has had an unprecedented ability to motivate young voters. Undoubtedly, this is a major consideration for campaign strategists on the Democratic team. Is age a factor in your product’s purchase or use? Is your marketing targeted to a certain age group?
Gender – Do women or men use your product more often? Consider gender in your marketing campaigns.
Ethnic background – We’ve seen the influence of ethnicity in this year’s presidential race. Are your products widely used among a particular ethnic group?


Although demographics always play a notable role in motivating voters in a political campaign, strong feelings about important issues such as the economy, immigration, healthcare, and the war in Iraq also have a powerful influence on voters’ decision-making process.  Online marketers would do well to consider these personal preferences that often influence consumer spending.

Hobbies and Interests – What does your target market enjoy? What gets your target market excited?
Status – Consumers often make purchases with consideration to how they want to be perceived by other, such as Coach handbags or jewelry from Tiffanys. Do your products appeal to a certain status consideration?
Conscience – Like voters, consumers often make decisions because of their sense of right and wrong. Obama’s “change we can believe in” campaign motivates voters because of its appeal to conscience. Marketing to a target audience with shared principles is an effective practice. For example, manufacturers of environmentally friendly “green” products appeal to consumers with a desire to be responsible stewards of the Earth’s resources.


Campaign strategists must consider the behavior of voters to confirm that supporters will actually appear at polling places on Election Day and vote.  Online marketers must also consider the behavior of consumers when making important marketing decisions.

Website actions – Consider pages visited, links clicked, and items placed in shopping carts. The behavior of website visitors is valuable information about the effectiveness of your online marketing.
Interactive behavior – This includes RSS feeds, social media involvement, email forwarding and other interactive marketing practices. What does the consumer’s involvement indicate?
Purchasing – When a consumer purchases your product, he has essentially “voted” for you. Analyze purchases to continue to improve your marketing effectiveness.

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