5 Marketing Takeaways from Politics

What’s the number one rule for conversation topics at dinner time?

Don’t talk about religion or politics!

And I bet you’d have a hard time in recent days walking down the street without hearing something – anything – about politics. Primary elections are in full swing, and just about everyone has something to say about the candidates at hand.

But the chatter isn’t just from the election itself — it’s a mindfully-crafted marketing tactic resulting from a carefully-created social campaign.

When it comes down to it, politics nowadays isn’t won by the candidates and their ideals alone. The way the candidates market themselves can sway their position drastically within the presidential race.

Consider Barack Obama, for instance. He was considered ‘small fry’ when the races began back in 2007. Straying from the normal campaign tactics, Obama’s team integrated something new into the strategy: social media. The result? Obama’s team:

    • Raised more money
    • Fought smear campaigns
    • Broadened their awareness dramatically
    • Organized locally
  • And, most importantly, won the election

Now, Obama didn’t do this all through social media, but it was hard to deny the power of his social marketing strategy once he toppled the Clinton machine and overtook McCain during his re-election success in 2012.

Fast forward to today’s elections, and it’s easy to see the impacts of social media on the campaign trail. Two of the primary goals for candidates today on social media are this:

  1. Raise more money
  2. Acquire more voters

Don’t believe us? Check out both Hillary and Trump’s front pages on their websites, and you’ll see that you have one of two options on each — either join us, or give us some money:

hillary trump

And here is where we start to see many of the similarities in politics and business when it comes to marketing. Political candidates must create funnels to reach each of their goals – funnels which aim to direct the population at large.

So what does this have to do with you as a business?

If there’s something you can take away from today’s politics, it’s this:

The way you market yourself can completely change the course of your future and your success — or failure.

By taking a closer look at the frontrunners in today’s political campaigns, we can garner a few key insights and tips into how we can perhaps better manage our business’ marketing tactics as well.

Sell the Slogan

Do you remember the slogan for Obama? Change was the name of the game, and the slogan implied — or rather succinctly described — exactly what Obama was ‘selling’. The best part is that the slogan was ambiguous enough that voters could extrapolate from it the values that they prioritized, even if Obama didn’t directly endorse it.

Let’s consider Republican frontrunner Donald Trump. You’ve probably already heard or seen his slogan ‘Make America Great Again’, but what does that mean? Every American has their own ideas of what was or is great about America, and if you bring up the slogan in political conversation, you’re likely to receive some heated debate.

The point of the matter is this: Everyone can relate to these slogans in their own way — and do so favorably, even if they don’t particularly like the candidate they’re associated with.

The Takeaway: Create a slogan for your business that allows for customers to fill in the blanks with their own values and ideals.

Remove Registration/Payment Barriers

On any candidate’s website, you’ll find that the second you press a button to donate money, you’re immediately taken to a form to complete your transaction. There’s no more discussion, no more beating around the bush; They see you’re thinking about donating, and they’re ready to take your money quickly before your mind is changed.

While political fundraising does require a little more info that isn’t typical on retail order forms, you’ll find that the forms are still clear, concise, and to the point nonetheless. Same goes for your business page; Make it easy for people to purchase your products, and try to cut out as much of the muck (like separate loading pages) as possible.

Check out our product PressPlay below, and you’ll see that everything you need to purchase the product is on one page (note the non-invasive but eye-catching upsell at the end as well):


The Takeaway: The more middle-ground you can cut out between ‘interest’ and ‘purchase’, the more conversions you’re likely to have.

Pay Attention to Subscription Phrasing

Join us.

Sounds cult-like, but you’ll find on just about any political page a ‘join us’ button (and sometimes it’s the first page that pops up — before you’re even given the options of donating!). Rather than asking you if you want to receive some spam mail by ‘subscribing’ to a newsletter, these candidates have carefully chosen the phrase ‘join us’ as though you’re joining a movement.

These forms also need to be clean, clear, and to the point like your donation or purchasing pages. If you want more people to join your mailing lists, make it easy to do and friendly in tone. Nobody willingly signs up for spam, and you’re not offering spam anyway — so don’t make it sound that way.

We use the phrase ‘send me daily hacks’ because it implies that you’re getting secretive information about how to better your company. You’re not just subscribing to a newsletter; You’re signing up to get insider information.


The Takeaway: The phrasing you use to grow your subscriber list should imply that your customer will gain knowledge or acceptance when they submit their information — not an addition to their spam inbox.

Repetition is Key

You’ve probably heard those radio commercials where they repeat the same phrase, business name, or phone number over and over again. While it may sound annoying, it is effective.

Looking at the candidates today, you’ll see a repetition of their slogans, names, and messaging. If you sign up for their newsletter, you’re immediately sent an email saying Hey, you signed up! Thanks!

These types of repetitions aren’t just the candidates ‘beating a dead horse’. They’re making sure you remember who they are, what their message is, and keeping their name at the forefront of your mind. Repetition helps people remember certain ideas, and businesses both small and large should utilize this tactic regularly.

You’re not just using one type of marketing tactic to wildly succeed. Make sure that you’re repeating your message and getting your name out there in a variety of ways and in a consistent manner.

The Takeaway: When someone signs up, have an autoresponder reach out to them. Invest in ads that retarget users as well to keep your business at the forefront of their mind.

Use Several Media Channels

If you’re only operating through email, then you’re missing out on so many leads. Some people may still primarily use emails, but others prefer text messages, Facebook interactions, or even phone calls.

Let’s look at the political candidates once more. You’ve probably seen that there’s always a sign on the podiums when candidates take the stage, and at public rallies, these signs may include a number to text or a website address.

Candidates know that simply showing up and talking or making old-fashioned phone calls isn’t going to do the trick with the technologies of today. They’re utilizing as many means possible to reach the widest audience they can.

The fact of the matter is that you have to have your hands in as many pots as possible to reach the most people. Even if you have a small social presence or a limited texting service, it’s better than a nonexistent one.

The Takeaway: Use all means possible to reach the most people.

At the end of the day…

We have a lot to learn from today’s political candidates. The ones who market themselves the best tend to find themselves at the front of the pack, and by looking at each of the big players, we can see many similarities. These categorical similarities can be extrapolated for small business use.

  1. Sell the Slogan
  2. Remove Registration/Payment Barriers
  3. Pay Attention to Subscription Phrasing
  4. Repetition is Key
  5. Use Several Media Channels

You tell us: What marketing takeaways have you learned from today’s political candidates?