Politics and Social Media Part 1: The Principles of Sales & Marketing

By Rob  |  13 Mar 2014, 10:30am  |  Category: Social Media

At the start of April I will be giving a talk on Politics and Social Media for the guys at Libertarian Home. The aim will be to provide some insights and learning to those involved in politics about how best to promote ideas and policies via social media.

But to help me prepare and share my ideas with a wider audiance I plan, over the next few weeks, to note down my thoughts on this blog. Part 1 will discuss the basic principles of sales and marketing that apply to all attempts to sell or promote something.

Let's begin...

There are three basic principles to sales and marketing. They are the connection, the dream and the value. Get those right and you should be able to make lots of sales. Note, this is tough. To highlight my points let me provide an example...

Recently I went to see a film -- The Wolf of Wall Street. It's brilliant, funny, sexy, intelligent -- it's got Leonardo Di Caprio in... Basically though the story is just about a tallented sales guy, Jordan Belfort, who gets gready and eventually crashes and burns. 

For our purposes though at the start of the film there is a wonderful scene that provides an excellent example of great salesmanship. Mr Belfort has just been made redundant and is looking for a new job. He walks into a penny shares brokerage. It's a rag-tag affair and Jordan, in his nice suit, looks well out of place. But he is interested in the opperation and the great commission, so gives it a go. With his first call he makes a $4,000 sale. 

Now what is directly observable is a great salesman selling a spurious dream of wealth and a fast buck to a new customer. For some, this is outrageous and exploitative. But, quite simply, it is neither of those things. It is misselling and probably fraudulent. It is not exploitative though -- there is no force. What is less observable in the film is the initial connection between customer and company. The man who Belfort is talking to has responded to an advertisment. He has shown an interest in shares and making money from the stock market. When Jordan picks up the phone he is speaking to someone who has an interest in what he is selling. He's not convincing some random person to purchase a random product they neither need nor want.

And this gets us to our first principle of sales and marketing. You cannot sell ice to an Eskimo unless they live in Nevada. To sell anything, there has to be a need, a desire, an interest. You have to have a connection with your potential customer. The idea that marketing and sales is exploitative or predatory is complete nonsense. Most of the time, if there is an issue, it is to do with the product not matching the sales pitch. Or a customer not fully understanding what they are purchasing. But the idea that a sale can be generated out of thin air is entirely spurious. There must be a connection.

Now this may not seem to link with politics. But the same principle applies. You're not going to convince a communist of the importance of free market capitalism -- ever. But you might convince a conservative or a republican or even an 'anarchist'.

If you are going to attempt any form of political promotion you need to target those who are either interested or could be interested. Trying to convert those diametircally opposed to you is a waste of time and money. So understanding and targetting your potential market is very important.

And then you have to follow Jordan's other two principles. There must be a dream and you must offer value. Your dream is of the future, how what you sell can help the person you are talking to fullfill their life or business aims? It's the same question a communist or a libertarian must ask themselves. How will my theories improve people's lives?

Value by contrast has to be more direct. In the here and now. You must offer your customer something that adds a little value to their life right now. Your proposition cannot remain a dream floating in the ether... Otherwise you will not see any engagement. In Jordan's case his dream is one of paying off the mortgage and becoming an investor. His value is a fast buck. A massive return on a small investment.

Let's take another example of the dream, value idea. For StatusPeople this is simple. The dream is that with more engaged, real followers you will as a marketer boost your ROI. That's your aim, your dream. Our value is that we can tell you what your follower quality is and improve it right now.

In politics the dream is easy. It's always been about utopia or something close to that... The problem is the value. How can my ideas and theories add value to someone's life now or quickly. Sadly I can't tell you what the answer to that is -- that's a question for far smarter people.

But to sumarise if you want to sell anything -- an idea or even a car. Define the dream, the value you offer and target those who you can connect with. It really is that simple -- or difficult..?

P.S. If you want to come to see the full talk it will be on Thursday, April 3rd at the Rose and Crown is Southwalk.

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