Small Business Marketing Lessons From the Republican Debates

Small business marketing…and the Republican debates? Huh?
Don’t worry. This ain’t a political rant about the 2012 Republican debates. (Head over to my mom’s Facebook profile for those.)I’ve got Fox News and Rachel Maddow fans on both sides of my family. And as I’ve grown older, and added a mortgage to my bottom line, I find I have contempt for both sides of the money-grubbing aisles.What Small Business Can Learn  From the Republican DebatesBut the current Republican ticket reminds me of a valuable lesson I learned in 2004 about the power of social evangelism.

Like most young people who have no capital gains and play in a band, I was decidedly anti-Bush and looking for an alternative. And there was John Kerry. He (seemed) smarter, polished and presidential.

And he wasn’t named George Bush.

So…when my friend Sarah asked me to play at a Kerry fundraiser in LA I was stoked. (And when we were told a high-level Kerry operative was going to come to speak, I was even more jazzed.)

Excitement was high that night at the fundraiser. And after my band played a blistering 45-minute set–blistering mainly because my lead guitarist kept turning his amp up–the Kerry strategist took the stage to thunderous applause.

And for the next 20 minutes he talked about the flaws and failings of the Bush administration. And how voting for Kerry would send a message we don’t want Bush-era politics anymore. And how Kerry was…and here’s the clincher…not Bush.

Agreement. Nodding heads. Golf claps.

Nobody disagreed with the man. (You don’t pay $350 a plate if you disagree with the keynote speaker.) But Beatlemania had been repalced with a Yanni concert. The Magic was gone.

And that’s because…in my humble opinion…you’ll “fight” for something you’re against, but you’ll “die” for something you believe in.

I knew then that Kerry didn’t have a chance.

You’ll drive through an hour of traffic to go vote for somebody you really believe in. But for a guy who is “not” the other guy. I’m not so sure.

And that’s what I think the current Republican crop of candidates is right now. Is “Mitt Romney” or Newt Gingrich or Rick Santorum the “guy” who’s “not the other guy.” Absolutely.

Is he somebody that gets people to “move mountains” and “clear calendars” and give up valaulable time? Hmmm….not sure.I’ve had small business marketingclients tell me they want all their social marketing to revolve around how different they are then their competition. “Our pizza is better/faster/hotter.” “Our carpet cleaning is cheaper/better/faster.”That’s all good.

Just don’t forget to tell the “crowd” what makes you special. And let them “figure out” how you’re not the other guy.

They might just help you sell more pizzas…or get elected to a second term.

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