Marketing Media Politics Sales

Learning from JFK would help resolve Romney’s marketing problem


In the event you hadn’t heard ( just crawling out of a cave, are ya? ), 2008 Presidential candidate Mitt Romney is a member of the Mormon church.

Reportedly, Mitt “bristles” at it being front and center as an issue for his candidacy. Google romney bristles mormon and see.

First, he needs to get over it: He’s a Presidential candidate.

Second, and more importantly, I think he and his team are either being lazy, or they failed Sales and Marketing 101.

Here’s why: What has he done to educate the public about the Mormon faith?

What little Joe-the-average-voter thinks they know about the Mormon faith is probably limited to what they saw on episodes of HBO’s Big Love. Clearly, that’s not the image Romney wants in the voters’ minds.

What isn’t obvious about this? “I don’t know anything about his church, it seems weird, I don’t like that HBO show, so I just wont vote for him.” is a sales objection, so treat it like one.

John F Kennedy had to do it (ok, it was the 60’s, and a good speech, but also a great marketing job – check the last paragraph where he “practices” taking the oath, that’s just brilliant). More recently, Lieberman did as well. There have been others and there will be more.

For voters, knowing more about the “mysteries” that make up the foundation of a candidate’s decision-making process are just as important as knowing how a product will work when you’re a prospect. Not knowing what those things are is a major obstacle to getting a vote, or a sale.

Going back to yesterday’s “word ownership” post, a lot of people don’t understand the LDS religion, don’t know anything about it and as a result: It’s different. They have nothing to associate it with except for Big Love, Donny and Marie or maybe Pat Boone.

The masses like “comfortable things and comfortable people” and are slow to change and adjust to different things. You and I may do so easily, but you and I aren’t the voting masses. Trust me on that one:)

Some folks are serious enough about their religious beliefs that they take issue with some aspects of the Mormon faith (assuming they research it) and that is enough to keep them from voting for Mitt.

Those of us in Scouting face a similar issue when working with troops based in LDS churches. They use the Scouting program as a substantial part of the church’s youth program. They use it somewhat differently than “regular” Scout troops do because of how the church is organized. Either you understand how this works, or you don’t (if you don’t ask, I can assure you – you don’t). If you don’t know the details, you probably don’t care for it, or like it.

The reasons for some parts of how it is organized don’t necessarily make sense to me, but the fact that their Scouting program is adjusted to fit into their church program makes perfect sense for them.

Whether we’re talking about JFK, Mitt, Scouts, or that new water-based marine primer you sell, these are all marketing problems. If people around you have to interact with you, work with you, depend on you, buy from you or vote for you – they’d better understand who you are, what you do, how your product or service is better, and why.

When sales objections exist, bring them up and address them, rather than waiting for the prospect to do so. Read the JFK speech again, you’ll see him do just that.

Mitt needs to educate the voters (his prospects) and eliminate sales objections, just like JFK did.

Read or listen to the JFK speech and look at all the ways his speech worked to eliminate “the concern about being a Catholic President” from his candidacy.

You need to do the same for your prospects.