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Cintia Miranda Cintia Miranda
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Marketing lessons from the presidential campaign

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I am not big on politics. However, I vote in every single election, and always do thorough research beforehand in order to select the candidates worthy of my vote. I tend to be skeptical of campaign promises and try to look beyond all of the pageantry associated with political candidates. This past election was different, however. The negative competitive atmosphere was so intense that the candidates' motivations became transparent, leaving no doubt as to how far they were willing to go to win.

I did not stumble into marketing. I chose it as my profession. I went to business school and got a graduate degree in the field. I love my profession and thoroughly enjoy my day-to-day job. This past election was a huge embarrassment for all marketeering professionals, in my opinion a sad realization of just how dirty we can get during an aggressive campaign. Just think of how many times the presidential candidates asked the American people to do a 'fact check' after a debate. When all was said and done, the audiences walked away with the idea that all of the candidates were fabricating lies to slander their opponents and (in their minds) help them gain territory.

Ultimately, the dirty slander marketing tactic turned away more voters than it hoped to attract. Friends, family and co-workers shared with me their distaste for the mood of the campaign and how contentious it became. Some people even blocked or 'unfriended' hardcore campaigners on Facebook, finding that it was the only way to shut them up. Never mind the avalanche of negative junk mail that we all received at home during the past several weeks! In the end, whether we approve of the election results or not, most of us are just glad it's over. At least now we can have a moment of silence prior to diving headfirst into the holiday season (equally stressful, but merrier)!

The main lesson to be learned from this horror show is that when you tap into dirty resources, things quickly go afoul. The same can also be said about any marketing campaign. By keeping a positive, civil tone, brands tend to better resonate with their target audience, while sounding trustworthy, competent and dependable. It leads to better returns and wiser use of resources - I bet most Americans would agree that the $4.2 billion (CNN Money) spent on this past presidential campaign could have been better used on more pressing social and educational programs. I think we should always pay close attention to our competitors, keep track of their movements and learn from their success and failures - but most importantly, improve upon their tactics by playing fair.

I am wary of political promises because very few of them can be guaranteed delivery. I think the same is true with marketing activities nothing is a given. What sets marketing professionals apart, however, is the way we conduct business. I think businesses do best when they find their niche, work hard to establish a trustworthy brand, and stay away from petty talk after all, slander has never brought long-term success to anyone.


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