Eric Cantor lost to an upstart. The winner’s campaign was backed by just less than $100,000 against Cantor’s $2 million and thrived on grassroots and word-of-mouth in a low-turnout primary. Cantor believed poll numbers that showed he was clearly ahead but in the end the money he spent and the polls didn’t mean a damn thing compared to voters who were able to see through the charade thanks to the internet.
How can a candidate, brand, who was out spent by the competition catch an entrenched candidate, brand, so off guard? Sure a lot of it can be blamed on politics in Virginia, but don’t ever underestimate the ability of people to find out the truth about what you’re selling.
Here are the key lessons for marketers:
1ne: Outspending the competition doesn’t always work in an age when consumers can get at the truth via the Internet and grass-root efforts.
2wo: Understanding the mood of your audience is essential to any marketing campaign. Cantor’s opponent understood the anger of voters and leveraged this to his advantage.
3hree: Polls, and market research, don’t necessarily have all the answers. You need to listen to your audience at every available touch point including social media.
4our: Consumers are angry at brands that don’t listen to their needs and wants. You have to walk the walk not just talk the talk the talk.
5ive: Even if you are the market leader you need to work hard t stay on top of the hill. Don’t take brand dominance for granted, not today with today’s consumers.
6ix: Align yourself with your audiences values, but demonstrate them everyday.
7even: Consumers like to see over confident brans, officials, take a fall. Just look at what’s going on with McDonald’s and Wal*mart as examples.
I believe there is still a lot of consumer anger out there. They are angry at CEO’s who make millions, even when they fail, while their paychecks are getting smaller. They are angry at the gridlock in Washington and they are angry at brands that treat them like idiots. It means we all have to work hard everyday to earn the trust and business of consumers.