Marketing and War are similar

Dr. Rohantha Athukorala

It was one of the Gurus of marketing of Al Rise who once said “ Marketing and War’ are similar in nature. I guess this came to light in the 2020 US presidential elections which is what we saw last week.

Marketing – Research-driven action

If I were to conceptualise the war we saw in the United States, it can be summarised as research-driven action – the ability to convert insight into each respective state to an ‘ election promise’. Be it Biden or Trump the process was flawless. The brand that got picked up was the brand that cuts through the clutter just like Lifebuoy or Dettol that will make your home safer from the Covid-19 Virus. 

Political marketing ethical?

Given the guerrilla attacks, we saw mainly by Trump, the thought that crosses everyone’s mind was ‘Is it right to market a political candidate to the high offices like washing powder or toilet soap?’  The answer is simple- The person who does a better job in the storytelling with conventional and unconventional methods will get the voter’s choice.  This is the reality we see even a consumer brand. I guess one cannot get more ethical in life. 

Why right?

There are two key fundamentals that make marketing right. The first is that the product/service that is offered by a candidate must communicate effectively how he/she will solve the voters’ problems – Covid-19 Management, jobs, controlling crime was the top attributes that cut across the whole country. 
The second reason for how ‘marketing becomes right’ is that once a consumer (in this case a voter) makes a decision and selected product (the chosen candidate) must deliver on the promise. If this is done Marketing becomes right.

Why wrong?

Where marketing comes in for criticism is when marketing a candidate fails to deliver on the promise made after being elected. I guess the reality will emerge in the next four years. Time will tell. This is where marketing as a discipline comes to flak and e must make sure we do not fall into this trap.

Implications to business 

Hence we saw how marketing and war were similar in nature. Understanding the deeper meaning of why a consumer buys a brand and then taking the leadership inside the office to change the product are the typical challenges we face in our daily life. However, a point to note is that the winner will be the person who does it first. This is where the focus must be.

(The author is a marketer by profession and business leader. The thoughts are strictly his personal views)

US election 2020 results: Joe Biden wins the presidency, defeating Donald Trump

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