WM(M)D – Weapons of mass (market) destruction
With the dust finally settling on the electorate and Government after the UK general election, and a pervading feeling that those that won had lost, and those that lost had won; some marketing pundits have declared that the election proves the days of mass market campaigns have come to an end. Is this really the case?
- It’s been widely reported that the Labour party’s positive messaging and carefully targeted use of social media carried the day.
- Seemingly we’re moving from an era of ‘It’s the Sun wat won it’ to something more like ‘It’s Facebook, Instagram, Twitter & Snapchat wat kind of won it LOL + a variety of emojis’.
- Further evidence that we’re seeing the end of relatively less targeted mass market campaigning has been cited by the relative failure of the Conservative party, who relied more heavily than Labour on traditional broadcast media such as Out of Home and newspapers; as well as a rather inflexible and untargeted approach to social media. This was combined with familiar negative campaigning messages employed in previous elections.
- But if we look at the outcomes of these campaigns in a marketing sense, the relative successes and failures of these tactics are less clear. If we think of voters as shoppers and consumers, then Labour successfully shored-up its current customer base, getting them to repeat purchase; and grew its appeal to those with the highest propensity to trial their brand (the younger voters).
- Not unsurprisingly therefore, when Labour ran experiential campaigns via election rallies, they were in the safest Labour ‘sampling’ areas to underpin the overall strategy.
- Yet for all the general criticism there has been of the Conservatives’ campaign, it didn’t exactly fail either. The party gained market share, recruited new consumers via brand switching them from UKIP, ending up with the most facings on the political supermarket shelf to become our very own category captain.
It’s tempting sometimes to write-off one form of marketing communication off against another because it’s less targetable, less flexible, less sexy, less modern and not ‘digital’. But when it comes to outcome-based campaigns, whether those outcomes are increasing sales or votes, it’s best to be led by the mix of channels and messages that work most effectively to reach your marketing goals, whether that be getting people to try your brand for the first time, buy more of it, or win them back from a competitor. Ultimately ‘it’s the most effective marketing mix wat wins it!’.