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Have you ever wondered how dirty politicians get elected? You probably already know; however, did you know you can use the same tactic in an ethical way and propel your marketing to new levels? Also, let's not forget that the idea of marketing should be synonymous with growth.

So, let's first take a look at how 'dirty' politicians get elected.

What politicians do is find the largest segments of the voting population, and divide them into two categories - whichever category will generate the most votes is the category they directly appeal to.

For example:

  • Working population versus unemployed population
  • Single mothers versus married mothers
  • Labor workers versus tertiary workers
  • Unions versus non-unions
  • Etc.

The point is, dirty politicians will normally find distinctions along lines of economic, religious, cultural, sexual, etc., differences and appeal to the larger half of each respective segment.

To create an advantage, introduce a distinction that gives you the upper hand.

Sergio Zyman is a world renowned marketer, although, he was made notorious as a result of his idea for New Coke which was arguably the worst marketing disaster of all-time. Zyman learned an awful lot about marketing from Coke's leading competitor, Pepsi.

Before Zyman launched New Coke, Pepsi had effectively launched its Generation X ad campaign which positioned its brand as being:

  • Modern
  • New
  • Young
  • Energetic
  • Trendy

while inadvertently positioning Coca-Cola as:

  • Old fashioned
  • Outdated
  • Older
  • Tired
  • Played out

Coca-Cola had really said nothing, and were never-the-less being defined negatively by those crafty marketers at Pepsi because, at the end of the day, "trendy" and "young" people buy much more soda than "old-fashioned" and "older" people.

Divide and Conquer Target Markets

Last month I did some marketing for a brewery in Northern Pennsylvania. They wanted some assistance in developing a new label which they hoped would drive more sales. What I found was a couple things:

  1. The label was irrelevant to sales because their point-of-sale was restaurants
  2. The restaurants that sold this product alternatively offered beers with a very low ABV (alcohol by volume)

So, with this in mind, we felt it best for them to incorporate the percentage of ABV into the actual name to differentiate the brand/beer from other alcoholically 'inferior' beers.

The result?

A 36% rise in sales during the first campaign quarter. Damn right we're that good.

So, just to clarify what you will be doing:

  1. Identify a large market
  2. Separate that market in two by identifying 2 distinguishing segments
  3. Identify the largest segment, and market directly to them

Notwithstanding New Coke, Zyman later left Coca-Cola much more profitable than the way he found it, and used this divide and conquer marketing tactic for huge gains in the insurance and car rental industries. Click that link to read his book which I highly recommend.

Don't compete — DOMINATE.


Matt Steffen

"Don't compete -- DOMINATE!"

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Matt Steffen was Listed by Forbes as the #1 Marketing Consultant Who Avoids the B.S.