July 06, 2015
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November 19, 2012

Romney's Election Defeat Boils Down to Bad Marketing, Fox News Reports: Obama and His Campaign Manager Nailed It, While the GOP's Poor Messaging and Targeting Ruined a Golden Opportunity

Ever since the election was decided, Republicans have been reportedly scratching their heads, wondering how they could have let such a golden opportunity slip away. Party analysts have been trying to track down the shortfall, and a new Fox News report has attributed the loss to a lack of respect for marketing. President Obama's marketing strategy and implementation during this campaign was precisely targeted, and the messaging was forceful and clear. The GOP simply didn't execute its marketing in this election, according to the report.

From the very beginning, Mitt Romney's campaign wasn't really able to clearly define its candidate, or truly connect with segments of the electorate that ultimately decided the outcome — women, Hispanics and youth. This seems clearly to be marketing mismanagement. Obama, on the other hand, made sure he fit with voters he needed to have — which was a substantial number since the President didn't fit with nearly half of the country's voters. But his campaign led with active marketing that combined a superb ground game with clear positive and negative messaging that resonated in the swing states while also helping to retain the bulk of his 2008 supporters everywhere else. It also listened to what voters were saying they wanted, FoxNews.com reports.

A big reason for the Democrats' success was because Jim Messina, Obama's campaign manager, didn't take anything for granted — and in no uncertain terms, told the President that the honeymoon was over. That attitude is the basis for great marketing because "it sets the stage for the marketer to go out and discover the reality you need if you are going to have your product or candidate sell itself. It's only by learning what people want that you have a chance of closing the deal," reports Fox News contributor and marketing and branding expert John Tantillo.

"Like it or not, good marketing depends on the kind of humility that doesn't count on any votes until they can be counted — and avoids the trap of mistaking that the things that matter to party insiders and ideological stalwarts, matter to the vast majority of voters," Tantillo writes. "A trap, I believe, the Republicans fell into here."

Tantillo also talks about how Messina sought out the ideal consultants for this campaign — people like Stephen Speilberg, who really gets what works for the masses, Steve Jobs, who understood how to connect with people in a digital age, and Vogue editor Anna Wintour, who showed him how to merchandise Obama to generate more impressions and raise money. Messina also organized the campaign "like a large corporation, paying close attention to how best to gather market data, analyze it and then make it available so that staff and volunteers could use it to engage voters. He made sure they had a mobile phone app so they could access critical data in the field and deployed an email campaign that was metric-driven, the article reports," he writes.

"Ultimately, the first step Republicans need to take now is to recognize that the electoral map has radically changed, the Democrats own this map and if the Republicans are serious about changing this reality, they will have to learn how to use marketing from their opponents to win it back," Tantillo concludes.


Nice try - but hardly the case

The facts really don't bear out the headline or some of the statements and conclusion in this article.

With the outcome of the election dependent on about 333,000 votes (three-tenths of one percent of the 119 million cast) in a handful of swing states (so-called because they don't allow their votes to be taken for granted and can swing to either party) - that simply comes down to the ground game and execution (called 'get-out-the-vote'). Also, Obama got fewer votes than before in his first election - the first time in history that occurred in a re-election.

Hardly the basis for any massive soul-searching or claims to massive changes in demographics.

Steve Jobs advising the campaign? Who came up with that? Jobs died 15 months before the election and well before it was known that Romney was the candidate.

Messaging? Oh, yeah - a few days after the election Hostess Bakery went under because the leadership of the baker's union wouldn't accept the contract terms (which had been accepted by the Teamsters) and 18,500 people lost their jobs. Read that figure again. Obama didn't lift a finger to do anything (like talk to the union leaders).

But the bumper sticker I saw read "Obama Cares"

Obviously non-operational after November 6th.

It's HUMANITY stupid!

I disagree that it was a great marketing campaign that helped Obama win this election. It was the laughably poor PR campaign Romney and the GOP executed.
It's pretty clear that the Republicans successfully, in fact, I'd say, purposefully, characterized itself as the party of white, privileged and powerful, males (e.g. the few) and the enemies of minorities, women, the disenfranchised and the middle class (e.g. EVERYONE ELSE).
They stuck their golden feet in their collective mouths so often it was the gift that kept on giving to the Democrats.
Seriously, "47% of Americans" including retirees on Social Security, veterans, laid off job seekers and the working poor" don't want to take responsibility for their own lives?"
"Corporations are people, my friend." "I like to fire people." "Many of my friends own sports teams." "My wife drives, oh, aah... a coupla' Cadillacs." And having "binders of women" negates the issue of equal pay for equal work. Really?
Then, of course, there's the raving lunatics who think: Women whose bodies didn't "shut that whole thing down" were not the victims of "legitimitate" rape. Moreover, their pregnancy is something "God intended."
Add to this mix the GOP's unambiguous attempts at voter suppression of traditional Democrats, its pledge to rip away access to health care for those with preexisting conditions and its disregard of our environment and global warming to coddle the fossil fuel industry, its desire to deport young people who were born elsewhere but to whom the USA is the only country they have ever known and loved, that it's no wonder Romney and the GOP became the poster child of mean, callous and nasty.
The GOP needs much more than a new marketing platform. It needs a sincere soul-searching to help define what it means to be human. This is the basis of good PR--humanity, compassion, integrity, justice, fairness and honesty. All successful messaging proceeds from behaviors that embrace these values. Human beings, ALL of us, are people my friend.

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