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It's about marketing an idea


Friday, March 27, 2020

I don't consider myself to be a genius nor any expert in my field of marketing or communication, but what I know is that marketing is the engine for a product, service, individual, experience, or an idea to survive in this age and time.

I am of the view that if the marketing department in an organisation is weak, the outcome will be weak and can cause a business to collapse or prevent the idea from taking off the ground. Take a car, for example, you can have the best driver in the world around the steering wheel, best tyre, have on all the genuine parts you can source, etc, but if you have a broken engine the car will remain unmovable and unable to climb the hill in order to reach its destination. Likewise, a company can have the best CEO, but if he/she doesn't have a first-class marketing team to sell his/her ideas to their internal and external customers that company will have negative growth.

It is said that a good marketer can make a person purchase a product even when it's bad for his or her health. The way in which it was marketed to the public, if it's a food item, the individual's saliva glands immediately start to salivate, which instantly opens his/her appetite, and if that individual doesn't have self-discipline he/she will purchase that food item which is bad for his/her health.

Many salespeople will debate and tell you that sales is the engine of their organisation and without them the organisation can't function. When I was a sales representative I was also of the view that sales is the core department of the organisation, and without the sales department no one would get paid on a weekly basis. If that were indeed accurate, and sales is the engine, and not marketing, many companies would be seeing significantly higher success.

Question: Who created the product, the theme, concept, etc, so that the sales department can go out to sell. A product or idea can sell without the services of a sales representative but can't be sold without an idea being created.

Unlike sales and running a company, politics is no different, the message is very important in order for one to be elected, and the way in which you communicate or market that message is very important. In order to be successful in the 21 century, your marketing and communication have to be excellent, relevant, and practical in order to reach your target voters.

Some people may say that science is more important than the ability to read data and give correct or precise analysis. Yes, science is important in order to be successful, but how you communicate your messages and market your candidate is more important. You can have the best data analysis, but if you don't make your candidate appealing to the people “yuh corna dark”.

Reading the findings of the different polls in recent months which show the current prime minister ahead of the Opposition leader in every department is of no surprise or coincidence. This data will not change now nor in the weeks and months to come if the People's National Party (PNP) doesn't change its strategy and get a team of people who are competent enough to do the job.

Remember, I said that a good marketer can market a product, service, individual, idea even when it's a danger to the person purchasing it. Based on the argument from the PNP the Andrew Holness-led Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) Administration is the most corrupt Government of all time, but yet he is leading in all polls, while the PNP's leader, who is spotless as a Christian lady's favourite white dress, is behind in all internal and external polls.

In a discussion last week with one of my favourite friends in which we looked at both parties communications machinery, we discovered that it's not that the PNP is irrelevant, or that Peter is unmarketable, but that the PNP has failed miserably to communicate Peter Phillips's strengths to the wider electorate. A good marketing manager, while addressing his sales team about new products, will spend 95 per cent of his/her presentation highlighting the benefits of the product and the next five per cent telling the team of the weaknesses of the product, if any exist.

If I am the marketer for a prescription drug that is on the market for over 25 years — Dr Peter Phillips — and there are no reports of any harm from using the drugs in the 25 years, and there are no side effects from all the patients that use the drug, I am sure that my job as a marketer gets 50 per cent easier before I even start. With Peter Phillips's record over the years across so many different ministries, plus his name has never been mixed up in any form of corruption, this gives his team another 25 per cent advantage to bring the total to 75 per cent. The next 25 per cent is how you, as a team, convey the message to your target market. Instead of doing that, Peter Philips and his team are focusing on what their competitors are doing and what they are not doing. This is giving your competitors unnecessary mileage.

The JLP is brilliant where communicating its message is concerned. There isn't a communications guru on the team, but they know what is required and ensure that Holness's followers get fed with the message that they want to convey.

In politics, message is important, and the PNP is yet to demonstrate that there is a consistent message. You will hear five PNP Members of Parliament with five different messages. Highlighting corruption, cronyism, and the high crime rate is not a message. The party lacks a message and fresh ideas.

In order to preserve the country's democracy we need a strong Opposition, and if the PNP continues to miss the ball there will be less accountability on the path of holding the reins of Government, and they will do as they like because they will feel that they are unmovable. Just watch!


Rashford Dinham a marketing consultant. Send comments to the Jamaica Observer or