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Using the Election to Business Advantage

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Presidential election years are special. While it's true that each chance to vote (whether it's in a primary or general election) is a privilege worthy of respect, an exciting national election always stirs the political air more than any other election.

And any time something demands attention from the masses and holds that attention for a significant period of time, we can assume there is something to be learned by the business owner along the way. We're not talking about politics here-we're talking about general communication and marketing. So what is it we can learn from the election season?

Well, the first thing is that people have a threshold for how much unsolicited contact is made to them. Phone calls from robots. Piles of junk mail earmarked for the recycler. These are annoyances that chip away at public sentiment, and everyone is glad when they go away. So apply this to your business. How many special offers can you send through the mail before the offers start to lose their meaning and your marketing ceases to retain any special significance, becoming more like the political noise everyone won´t miss now that the elections have been conducted?

What else? People like affirmation. "I Voted" stickers are always popular because they allow us to engage easier in the shared experience of what is otherwise a private act. We reinforce one another's beliefs and foster community spirit. Plus, the stickers are free, and who doesn't like a freebie? Freebies work in business, too, as do campaigns that allow customers to feel a sense of community within your provided services. Places like local restaurants and shops do well with this idea-the concept of the customer as a loyal supporter and t-shirt wearer, etc.

Finally, I submit the notion that Americans like choices. We are brought up to expect them. It is one of the great claims of our history-that we embrace choices and the freedom to choose between two or more options. Apply this to business and see where you may be able to diversity your product line or service offerings. If that isn't possible, perhaps you can inject some creativity in payment plan offers or other options.

Learning opportunities are everywhere. The campaign season has been filled with them. As a leader, the key is having the perspective to recognize and apply good ideas when encountered. Don´t let a good idea go to waste!