The big difference between marketing a product and a candidate

Is not what you might think. Rolling out John Kerry or Howard Dean is a lot like any other big money product launch. No doubt the marketers will spend way too much money on TV, and no doubt the real impact (especially early on) comes not from blatant interruption but from ideaviruses that spread…

So the difference?

The difference is that coming in second in detergent or coffee is just fine if your overhead is appropriately small. Coming in second in politics is worthless.

I’ve been reading all the fawning Dean media hype with a bit of a smile. After all, it’s classic Purple Cow thinking. But in politics, of course, being a Purple Cow doesn’t mean you’re going to win. Which is good, otherwise we’d have peanut farmers, former actors and folks who aren’t smart enough to accept scientific facts and rational arguments running the country. Oops. You know what I mean.

I mean that being remarkable doesn’t always mean you will capture the majority. It might mean you come in second. If you’re a non-political marketer, I beg you to embrace your purpleness and TRY to come in second. Being safe is a bad idea.

If, on the other hand, you are Howard Dean, I have no idea what you should do. The word has spread among the sneezers and opinion leaders who care. Now, how do you leap the chasm to get to everyone else? I have no idea. Remember, awareness does not equal sales. It is necessary, but not sufficient.