Marketing Lessons from the 2012 Election: Part 1

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Your candidates may not have won, but you can learn from the marketing successes and failures of the recent election.

Marketing Lesson #1: Always Be Last
My previous blog discussed how important it is to be last in the mind of the buyer to get the best chance of making the sale. 
Written before the presidential debates, it proved prescient. My hunch was that the Romney campaign, knowing this selling secret, would save its best for last. These were very successful business people playing in the major leagues of the largest companies in the world.
Indeed, at a time when the media was declaring President Obama the inevitable winner, Romney's performance at the first debate was historical in its effectiveness, timing, communication skills, and visuals.
Gallup polling said that 12 percent of independents had decided that very evening on Romney.
All of a sudden, the campaign was a horse race. Many polls showed Romney pulling ahead with big momentum only ten days before the election. The emotional swing was positive for Romney and negative for Obama.
Then something happened: the emotional swing stopped.
Chris Matthews of MSNBC said, "Thank God for Hurricane Sandy." I am sure any rational person would be appalled at that statement, but he was correct in that this ongoing tragedy allowed President Obama TO BE LAST in a positive way right before the election. Indeed, proving this adage correct, 42 percent of voters said that Hurricane Sandy had an impact on their decision to vote. What if the hurricane had happened six months earlier? It would have had no effect.
In a selling situation, we want the client to have the last contact with US before a decision in a multiple-selection process (see The "I Hate Selling" Book: Business-Building Advice for Consultants, Attorneys, Accountants, Engineers, Architects and Other Professionals for a full discussion on how to jockey for this position, use it to your advantage, and eliminate the competition).
Had I been a Romney adviser, I would have told them to immediately buy a half-hour, prime-time slot, no matter the cost, to reacquaint the American people with Romney. It would have then made him LAST.
Have you ever noticed that if you meet a referral source at an affair, when you get back to the office you realize you have someone to refer to them? As a sales consultant, I cringe when I realize they just got a referral only because I saw them. What if I hadn't been there?
Lesson to be learned? You must try to be freshest in the client's/referral source's mind in order to close more than your share of sales and get more referrals than your competitor. What can you do to "touch" them today and be last?
Allan S. Boress, CPA, FCPA is the author of twelve published books on marketing, selling and managing the business development process for CPAs. He has consulted with over 500 professional firm and trained over 200,000 professionals since 1980. His "I-Hate-Selling" methodology is available at


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