The Presidential Debate got me thinking….

I’m sitting watching the Nashville Presidential debate.

Politics are interesting aren’t they?! How can two grown men say seemingly opposite things about the same things and both say they are telling the truth. Hmmm. Do you buy it?

In business we seem to do the same thing. Well, except we don’t have unlimited tax dollars to spend. And we don’t all have a national stage.

But we’re all in a competition (unless you find yourself in a wonderful monopoly where you are the only one with a certain widget). And what a competition it is!

You’ve decided to do marketing and advertising. You want to get your message out. But unlike the debate, you’re often not granted the privilege to stand head to head with your competition and state your position. But your target audience often weighs your product against your competition based on what they know or learn.

Fortunately (or perhaps unfortunately), the audience usually sees “their” product as the best. Unless the product gives reason for them to switch. I guess that’s the  “change” theme too. That’s why most Republicans think that McCain is winning – and most Democrats think Obama is. Unless one of the groups starts to doubt “their” ticket.

So what can we learn from the debate? Other than politics, of course.

The debate demonstrates some interesting ways to present your business. How will you present yourself so that the next day, more people will choose your product than the competitor’s?

It comes down to three things:

  1. Perception. Most think this is hard to control. But it really isn’t. This is because people mostly believe what they are told. And you need to tell your customers what to expect with your product. That’s what “creating the brand” is all about. Managing expectations.
  2. Confidence. There are a few quirks I don’t like when the Senators are talking. It makes me subtly loose confidence. And I think we can all tell when they’re making something up because a question caught them off guard. Again, in business, the easiest way to look confident is to say and look consistent with a well-established “story” that emphasizes benefits of using your product.
  3. Content. When you watch the debates, you realize they have their “points”. And often, the victory is determined by how well the candidate “stays on point”. In your business, you need to determine the product benefits that best connect to your audience. Then stay on point! Be consistent. Talk in Unison.

There are other things that come to mind, but perhaps you can come up with some. Let me know how the debates make you think of marketing. I’m going back to watching the TV, hoping that someone will really dominate. I guess, that’s what we want from your product or service too!

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