Cafe Witness

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

All Politicians Are Marketers


All politicians lie. Some lie more than others, but none of them tell the truth all the time.

Neither do marketers.

The difference is, the rhetoric of politicians is designed to motivate the people who already agree with them, while the rhetoric of marketers is designed to create awareness of a product in the minds of people who may not be consciously aware that the product even exists.

Thus, the content of the words is largely useless, but the way those words are delivered says a lot about what the speaker thinks of us, and what we think of ourselves. So if we can momentarily agree to ignore the content of political speeches (and marketing campaigns) themselves, what we're left with is our emotional response to the rhetoric.

Are we inspired and energized by the words we hear, or do they talk down to us and insult our sensibilities? Do we want to be uplifted, or would we prefer to be reassured that someone else knows best?

Politicians and marketers are each betting that their words can make you do something you wouldn't do otherwise -- cast a vote, buy a product, take an action. You almost never need to do what they're asking you to do, but their words make you think that you should. The trick is to figure out whether you want to do what they're asking of you, or whether you feel you ought to.

The most successful marketers are the ones who can sell us back to ourselves.

Image by r. e. wolf.

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