Your Product Alone Won’t Make You Successful

The first time I experienced US election night coverage was via HBO’s The Newsroom.

The experience was compelling, gripping, entertaining and of course fictional.

Yesterday, I sat on the couch. Turned on CNN. Worked all day (I had a list of tasks and completely “crushed it”, Gary V style). I watched the presidential election coverage.

My first “real life” election night experience was in every way the equal of the fictional one.

It was captivating.

I love Netflix’s House of Cards. If three seasons didn’t exist and was instead a brand new series. Based on the past 18-month Presidential campaign. It would be a blockbuster hit. A complete ratings success. (much like the show already is).

I’m not interested in politics. I’m also not American. I’ve not followed this campaign, either. So I won’t comment on the ramifications of the outcome.

I do have two takeaways from watching, though.

Both related.

The better product doesn’t always win.

In a bubble. With no prior campaign context. Looking solely at each of their campaign policies. At their qualifications to run the country. Most would have picked Clinton above Trump.

I like this comparison between the two. It covers a lot.

The winner needs more than being the better candidate (or having the better product).

The better marketer will often win.

Look at the disparity in campaign spending in the comparison above. Damn.

A “better” marketer does two things well, among others.

They know and understand their audience. At a deeper level than their competitor.

Yesterday’s results show Trump knew his audience better than Clinton.

They tell a better story.

Clinton has spent the vast majority of her life in and around politics. Trump has spent his life building businesses around his personal brand. He has built his brand by telling stories. Trump is an excellent storyteller.

Trump understood his audience deeper than Clinton and he told a better story.

I read a post a few months back on Ad Age about this campaign and being the better marketer. I saw it again today on Facebook. It is worth a read.

Winning a presidential campaign is complex. It takes more than being a better marketer and telling a better story.

The two points I made above resonate with me right now, though.

I’m spending a LOT of time trying to understand my audiences more. And more time on becoming a better storyteller.

A contributing factor for me to start writing every day was this exact reason.

The projects I’m working on are benefitting from me being better at both.

The outcome of the election tells me it’s time double down.

P.S. For understanding audiences better, I read and started implementing ASK by Ryan Levesque. You should read it. Start at chapter twelve, though. Everything before that is Ryan’s back story. It’s bland. He needs to learn to tell better stories 🙂

P.P.S. For telling compelling stories, I’ve started with Andre Chaperon’s Autoresponder Madness course. It is excellent. I also enjoyed this screenwriting course by Aaron Sorkin. This writing course by James Patterson is good too.

Jake Hower

CEO of Fast Growth. Jake works with businesses to increase leads from online channels. Backed by data, not guesswork. For behind-the-scenes insights into what's working (and what's not), check out the monthly Fast Growth Marketing Insights Report