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Monday, January 2, 2012

Political discontent

Observation:   Before you read this, note that I’m focusing on the political race purely for its’ consumer trend value, not because I want to talk politics.

A seemingly constant stream of different GOP candidates have taken their turn at “leading in the polls,” including everyone from Michele Bachmann to Rick Perry, and then from Herman Cain to Newt Gingrich.   At this writing, this week’s initial primary in Iowa now seems to be somewhat of a toss-up between Mitt Romney, Ron Paul, and most recent surge candidate Rick Santorum.   

Now—politics aside—think about that.  Without considering the platform of any candidate or any scandal that might surround their candidacy, think simply about the churn of the race.  It is as if voters (aka Consumers) are finding favor with a fresh face, and then holding that candidate up for greater scrutiny, until scratches or dents are found, and they decide to move onto the next option.

We seem to be living through a season of political discontent… where the electorate is searching for a candidate they can live with (sometimes, by trial and error, it seems).  And it might be worth noting that the person they’re comfortable with today may not be the candidate they’ll prefer tomorrow, next week or next month.  The winner will be that candidate who peaks at just the right time… as voters arrive at their caucuses or walk into a voting booth.

Implications:   How long does your company, product or service have to establish itself as contender?  (How long is the buying cycle or consideration process for the products or services you sell?)  How could your messaging be time to make sure that you’re a strong contender when it matters most… when the consumer is ready to buy or commit?

As many campaign managers could tell you this year, being an incumbent might not necessarily be an advantage.  Have you talked with your constituents (aka “Best Customers”), lately, to see if you’re really earning their continued business?  (The alternative would be consumers who buy from an under-performing provider simply because it’s easier than shopping around… for the moment.) 

Mike Anderson, for the Elm Street Economics consumer trends blog. A service of The Center for Sales Strategy, Inc.

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