Working at a Web design firm in the heart of historic Portsmouth, NH, we are lucky to have an inside view of all the New Hampshire primary hoopla. Granite Staters know that during primary season it’s not uncommon to get stuck in traffic behind a campaign bus, or even run into a candidate while trying to grab breakfast.
We’re proud of our claim to fame as the first in the nation primary (that’s what that #FITN Twitter hashtag you’ve been seeing stands for), and in honor of that, we took a look at what marketers like us can learn from the top three finishers in the New Hampshire primary. Read on to find out how to take your marketing strategy from nobody to nominee.
First: Mitt Romney, 39.3%
Getting ahead takes some cash.
Romney has taken plenty of flak for being extremely well-financed by corporate contributors – perhaps not quite the man of the people some voters are looking for.
But there’s a good lesson here: having (or raising) the money you need to do something right is important. When you’re looking at your marketing budget, set aside enough money for a quality website and regular maintenance, a blog and any other features that are standard in your industry (e-commerce, etc.). This is not the place to decide to do it yourself unless you are a web design pro. It’s worth investing the money to get a quality product, because in many cases your website is the first impression people get of your company.
Second: Ron Paul, 22.9%
Going viral will take you places.
Ron Paul’s second place was a triumph. Considering Romney’s New England roots, the primary was being called a race for second place. Paul’s showing was nothing to sneeze at. He pulled down 23% of the vote, and almost half of young voters who turned out voted for him.
Paul’s campaign has been largely grassroots. Without corporate sponsors or much media attention in his corner, he’s relied on activism and small donations of private citizens. His message connects with a growing faction of voters and they want to share it with their friends. If you want your content to go viral, it needs to be something people want to share. How do you do that? Start by making it cooler, funnier, more interesting or more useful than what the other guys are doing. Or by listening to the questions your target market is asking.
Third: Jon Huntsman 16.9%
Handshakes still matter.
The Huntsman campaign was disappointed on Tuesday, but the third place/17% finish is still a testament to the power of face-to-face interaction.
Only weeks ago, many New Hampshire voters didn’t have a clue who Jon Huntsman was, but a late surge of support gave him enough votes to justify staying in the race. Huntsman’s campaign was entirely focused on New Hampshire, and he made over 100 campaign stops across the state. Lacking Romney’s clout and Paul’s viral appeal, Huntsman had to rely on old fashioned shoe leather—getting out, meeting New Hampshirites and earning his votes one by one. Now, just replace “votes” with “sales leads,” and, well, you get the idea.
Any one of these tips alone isn’t a marketing plan. For an effective marketing strategy you may need all three of these tactics, and more. Think of your ideal marketing plan as a super-campaigner: Smart investment in quality, viral appeal and face-to-face engagement.
Now, get yourself some social media know-how and a graphic designer to help with those presidential good looks and your marketing strategy could be on its way to the White House! (Or at least South Carolina.)
Tired of hearing about red states and blue states? Come check out the orange state! We can help with all your Web design, graphic design, social media, SEO, PR and copywriting needs. We’d love to hear from you by phone or email or on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. Was your vote heard in the primary? If not, you get another chance here. What do you think about our assessment? Got more ideas? Comment below.