Democratic Primaries: It’s Time To Quit

Let me start off by saying this isn’t a political blog. I have no intention of delving into that kind of stuff here (though I might start a separate blog later for that subject matter). What I do want to call attention to are the marketing tactics of the campaigns for Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. If you take a step back and look at how they are campaigning at this point in the cycle, it is fascinating to behold.

Campaigns are all about marketing. Who is your core audience, and how do you get your message across to them? Barack Obama has chosen to focus his efforts on a younger market segment. His website has been very effective in relaying his message, and he has run a very “Web 2.0” style campaign. His goal has been to build a community of supporters. His supporters are passionate about “their” candidate. They self-produce YouTube videos and spread them virally. The campaign is geared to the young and the connected.

Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, is staging a campaign with the tied and true tactics. Television commercials and mailings are her primary means of communicating her message to supporters. Her campaign is a one-way message detailing her plans and aspirations for the country. When things don’t go her way, her rhetoric becomes increasingly caustic delving (but not quite getting to) negative campaigning. People have historically responded to these tactics, and this is how Hillary has traditionally done well.

Hillary’s style might work with this campaign, and there is a decent chance that she could win the Democratic nomination because of her “toughness.” However, the old guard needs to take note of what is happening with Barack’s campaign. He hasn’t gone negative. He doesn’t insult Hillary’s supporters. He is about spreading his message through supporters and not to supporters. Barack Obama represents the new version of politics while the Clinton campaign is the old style. Personally, I’m hoping that the new style wins.

Seth Godin articulates the current status of Hillary’s campaign and how it relates to quitting for the betterment of your brand. It’s a fascinating read, and it is worthwhile to wonder if Hillary should quit now.

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