Thursday, November 6, 2008

Marketing to a Post Election Nation

It's over! I'm so glad! Regardless of whether you partied in the streets on Tuesday evening or cried in your beer, the election has finally come to an end. At least one of the elements contributing to the uneasiness in consumers has a conclusion. The political season this year seems to have divided the nation in a much different way than those past. This time around instead of us being divided into "blue" and "red" states, we were split into "blue" and "red" sides of the dining room table, office, neighborhood, and church. I was born, raised, and still reside in Indiana, and in my memory we've never had rallies here, or Presidential commercials on TV. It certainly added to the excitement here, but also added fuel to debates between friends and colleagues. Maybe the division just has come home to me more this year, but whatever the case, people have one less thing to worry about now that there is a decision. What does that mean for you? Probably nothing immediately as we all know, but maybe a change in perspective will be the first notable difference. We are heading into a new time for the country, a change in leadership after eight years, people are thinking about the future. The things that are important to people now are different than what was important to them the first time G.W. moved into the White House. How can we, as an automotive industry, help the people in your local communities with what is important to them? Things that seem to be more important now than they were 8 years ago:
    • Going green. - Not always the most popular topic to a car guy or gal, but definitely on the top of mind for many consumers.
    • Conservative buying. - Today being "safe" on major purchases typically rivals one upping the Jones for a status boost.
    • Patriotism & supporting our country. - The level of support for our country and Democratic system is probably always higher during election time, but it seems even higher with the current state of the economy and involvement in a war overseas.
    • Credit worries. - The media is having a heyday telling everyone they can't get financed to buy a home or vehicle. Some consumers truly believe if they don't have a 700 beacon or above they can't buy....anywhere.
    • Forward thinking. - For better or for worst the country is thinking about what's to come. When will things start to get better? How will the new Administration handle everything going on? What does all of this mean for them?

As you are starting to plan for your Holiday season marketing keep these things in mind. There is, of course a place for free turkeys & Toys R Us gift cards, but really think about tailoring your message to this new post election nation. Be open and aware to what the consumer is feeling in your own market. Once you have a good idea where the greatest uncertainty and pain is, really tailor your message to focus on helping people, not necessarily selling people. If you can help people, sales will come.

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