So to continue 2014’s brand winners and losers we move onto number 5 in my winners list.
At number 5 in my winners list, the Democratic Party.
It’s been said that insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome. As marketing professionals, we must constantly evaluate whether our products and services are resonating with the respective target market. If they are not, changes must be made in order to generate positive outcomes. The recent election results show that Democrats failed to understand this basic marketing and branding principle. And, as a result, they lost the Senate majority here in the US.
The Democrat’s marketing failure was a function of not thinking like the majority of their customers. Sure, the numerous brand loyal showed up to vote for their party, but this was not enough to win market share. Democrats rather thought like “all-knowing” experts who understood what the majority needed—not what they really wanted! It was like a beverage company not offering a low sugar option to their customers, when all the data showed their consumers wanting healthy alternatives; or when American car makers in the seventies missing the need for small gas efficient autos, that foreign car manufacturers were glad to provide.
The marketing and branding lesson here is always to be looking to satisfy consumer’s (and in this case, voters) needs rather than creating something that we think they want. We must also remember those tactics that worked to get us where we are. This is crucial for long term success. If the Democrats used their successful 2008 and 2012 tactics, they would have had a better outcome. We achieve winning goals by asking what our customers want either quantitatively through polls or qualitatively through focus groups. Yes, research and knowing what worked in the past are the techniques that we and the Democrats can learn from and is a very elementary branding rule: It’s not about you, but all about your customers.