The U.S. (and the world) just went through the most surprising and reality-TV-seeming presidential campaign of all time in 2016. As someone who volunteered on a presidential campaign during this cycle, I loved getting a glimpse of things from the inside and learned a lot about successful marketing in the process.
You can check out my earlier post during the presidential primaries where I reviewed the marketing strategies of several candidates.
Don’t worry, this is not the 10273628th political post examining what happened and why – It’s all about Marketing!
Today I’m going to share 5 things about how to run your Product Launch/Crowdfunding campaign like you would a successful political campaign so that you win.
1. Ground Game is KEY,
A great politician has a ground game for months and months before anyone is even able to cast their vote. They are educating the voters on themselves, their policies, and how they would govern to have these supporters turn up at the polls.
For you, this means growing an email list of targeted people interested in your product or service.
You’re educating them on how you can help, and why this product/service should matter to them and you’re listening to their problems/fears so that you can position yourself in the best way possible for your launch.
There are too many people who launch a Kickstarter campaign by sending an email out on launch day or posting on their Facebook page, expecting people to buy. It’s like a politician turning up at your door on election day and asking you to go to the polls and vote for them… It doesn’t work.
Takeaway: Get your ground game sorted before your launch. Work on growing your email list of supporters, warming them up with knowledge about your product, so they know what problem it will solve for them before launch.
2. PROBLEM -> AGITATE -> SOLVE
All great products start from solving a problem in the world.
As a politician, they are selling themselves as a product and getting your vote. They need to convince you that you have problems, that they know exactly what they are, and most importantly that they can solve them. That’s where the Problem-Agitate- Solve method of selling comes in.
It works like this:
- PROBLEM: Describe in detail what the problem is they’re facing
- AGITATE: How is this problem worsening or what issues are it causing in your life?
- SOLVE: How will you solve this?
PROBLEM: Mexicans are coming into the country and taking our jobs
AGITATE: They are also bringing crime
SOLVE: I will build a wall
The above example is just one of the many ways in which Donald Trump used the Problem-Agitate-Solve method to garner support during his 2016 presidential campaign.
Takeaway: When you can define a problem in a way that makes your audience think “Wow, it’s like they’re reading my mind” then they will naturally assume that you have an answer for this problem too. For your crowdfunding campaign or product launch you should do the same thing, first define the problem as best as possible, agitate the problem by describing the pain, and then explain how your product or service can solve it for them.
3. OFFER A TRANSFORMATION
What does life look like after they purchase your product? How will this problem disappear? What does this look like?
A successful politician describes life after they get elected, what it will look like, and how it will make the voters feel. They sell them on that feeling after they win the position, without explaining the policies that will get them there.
My friend Charlie Hoehn described this on Facebook better than I could:
“You don’t feel safe? I will promise you safety. I will promise you job security so you can pay the bills. I will promise you more of the resources you lack. And I promise that your family will have all of those things, too. You don’t have love? I will promise you friendship. I will promise you more dates. I will promise you sex.
You don’t have self-esteem? I will promise you confidence. I will promise you respect.
Do what I say, and you’ll get what you want.
This is why millions of people have believed in the power of SlimFast, Hydroxycut, Subway, and countless products promising rapid fat loss. It’s because of the “Before / After” shots.
You’re the Before. I’m promising you After. Look at all those Afters! Don’t you want to join them?
I want you to love the future so much that you are disgusted with the present. I will promise you tomorrow, so you’ll give away today. And if you’re desperate enough, it doesn’t matter what my solution is. Your imagination automatically fills in the gaps.”
Takeaway: Like successful politicians and brands sell people on the ‘After’, you need to do the same with your product or service. Don’t get caught up on the features, focus on the benefits to the end customer. Show their happy face after they get your product.
4. CREATE AN ARMY OF MARKETERS THROUGH A SIMPLE MESSAGE
Political campaigns thrive when they can turn their supporters into marketers for the product (AKA the politician).
Crowdfunding is all about building a tribe of people who support your product. If you can make it as easy for them to share with their friends and get more people involved the better it will be for you.
I went to a conference in September, and Donald Miller of Storybrand was giving a presentation about marketing messaging that was incredibly powerful. He broke down several presidential campaigns' marketing from Obama to Bush to Gore and was able to simplify why each worked and each didn’t. It was pretty incredible.
He then moved on to the 2016 presidential election that was ongoing and asked the room what the marketing message for Hillary Clinton was – the room was silent. He followed up by asking what the message was for Donald Trump’s campaign and the whole room chorused ‘Make America Great Again.’
We weren’t a room of Donald Trump supporters. However, Trump had clarified his message, been consistent, and repeated it so much that there was likely no one in that room of a thousand people who didn’t know what it was — whether they supported him or not.
In this book ‘Words That Work: It’s Not What You Say, It’s What People Hear.’ it explains that what people hear are simple words and short sentences. If you can distill your message into a soundbite, you will win. Researchers found that Donald Trump spoke at a 6th-grade level and whose speeches are full of short declarative sentences.
Takeaway: Simplify your message so that you can give supporters something to latch onto and tell other people about. Ignore complex descriptions or anything likely to confuse, this will only dilute your messaging by making it more difficult for supporters to tell their friends about. By doing this you will turn your supporters into your marketers without them even realizing it.
5. ELECTION DAY = LAUNCH DAY
After months and months of ground game gathering supporters and people you know will vote for you there’s a ‘Get Out The Vote’ campaign wherein you have your campaign workers and volunteers call, canvas, and essentially ensure that everyone who already knows about you to come out and vote for you.
By this point, political campaigns aren’t trying to convince any undecided or opponent’s supporters, their only goal is to get the people who already support them to turn up at the polls.
This should be the same for your product launch or crowdfunding campaign. In the week leading up to the launch, you should be warming up your email list and letting them know exactly what’s coming and when. Don’t expect them just to remember about your launch; people are busy with their own lives. Give them a date and time to put on their calendar.
Takeaway: All your energy for the week before launch is to ensure people know what’s coming and when. People should be well aware ahead of time so ideally by your launch day they have already made the mental decision as to whether they will buy or not.