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Marketing lessons from the Obama campaign

For students of marketing, Barack Obama’s campaign is an excellent marketing case study on positioning and messaging. Here are some lessons I take away from his campaign:

Focus on pain points: Successful marketers are very clear about the customer pain points that their products or services address. Apple improved the lousy experience of buying and listening to digital music with the iPod. And then it improved the lousy experience of web browsing and gaming on mobile devices with the iPhone. So did the Obama campaign. When you sort through all the campaign pronouncements, plans and promises, Obama focused on two main pain points – people are sick of the war in Iraq and ordinary Americans are worried sick about their personal finances. At the outset, Obama defined his campaign around his opposition to the Iraq war. Then, as the financial and housing market crisis deepened, he dialed up his focus on middle-class tax relief.Those are the only two issues he focused on. These pain points were real and they were both areas where his competitor was weak.

Craft a simple message: If you ask any Obama supporter to define what Obama stands for, you will get a three word answer – “hope and change”. This is not an accident.Obama has been hammering away at this message for two years. He has had variants of this message in his stump speech for a long