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Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Sorry, Rich, you're wrong about Obama

A few years ago I did a seminar for Kendall-Jackson, the big wine-maker.

The attendee who paid most attention was Jess Jackson, the firm's 70 plus billionaire boss.

Before that, in my first board meeting at the Ogilvy group, I noticed that David Ogilvy took more notes than anyone else.

There's a moral there. The best people study more.

I may not be an Ogilvy or a Jackson, but I try to keep learning, especially about the new media.

This morning I read that Rich Schefren claims that the real reason Obama won was better social marketing. I quote:

Since the conventions, blog posts mentioning Obama outnumbered those referencing McCain by more than 3 to 1.

--Obama's number of MySpace friends grew steadily over the past few months while McCain's remained relatively flat. By election day, Obama had almost 4 times the number of friends McCain had

--While those MySpace figures are remarkable, the Twitter stats are even more eye-popping. Obama had nearly TWENTY FOUR times the amount of followers that McCain had.


And it doesn't end there. I found similar numbers for FaceBook and YouTube usage as well, with Obama clearly outpacing McCain.

Obama's tactic was a masterpiece--targeting the younger, more technically literate crowd (many who had never voted or even bothered to register) and hit them right where they live--on social networking landscape.

The subsequent result was a MASSIVE following that grew larger and larger by the day. And those same people made a huge impact at the polls.

So what does this all mean? ...

Well, what it means, as usual, is that good ole Rich is about to sell me something - which comes as no surprise.

But what it also means is that Rich is appealing to all those simple folk who like to think there is a nice easy pat answer (and solution) to everything, and who keep buying all these "I'll make you rich" nostrums.

Of course, Rich will give you very good advice, as do most of the others like him. But sorry, nothing in life is that simple. Not even remotely.

First of all, it was not just the "younger, more technically literate crowd (many who had never voted or even bothered to register" that swung it. It was also the older, black, not very literate crowd - like the 103 year old man whose example was often quoted.

And it was not just social marketing. It was overwhelming TV advertising. It was being black but not too black. It was being a better speaker. It was "the economy, stupid". It was reaching into neighbourhood churches. It was not having Sarah Palin. It was guilt about race. It was many things.

By coincidence, last week I did a one hour webinar for my Eadim students called "Your army" which dealt with the way so many people think one weapon will win a war. I didn't mention Obama. I started by quoting Sun Tzu and suggested 10 different weapons you can use to achieve your ends, to a variety of audiences.

The real problem with most marketers was well put by Neitszche. "To a man with hammer, everything looks like a nail."

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