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Foward Emphasis Ltd
028 90668515
15 Wellington Park
Belfast

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Concept
028 90667797
1 Wellington Park
Belfast

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Jellycommunications
028 90663663
24 College Gardens
Belfast

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Viacom Outdoor
028 90322333
Glendinning House
Belfast

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The Levy Mccallum Advertising Agency
028 90319220
Chamber Of Commerce House
Belfast

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Condor Community Services Ltd
028 90602168
50 Glendale
Belfast

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Rla
028 90664444
86 Lisburn Road
Belfast

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Mccann Erickson Belfast Ltd
028 90331044
31 Bruce Street
Belfast

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City Tv
028 90325564
Castle Lane
Belfast

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Poster Plan
028 90434838
60 Great Victoria Street
Belfast

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Politicians and marketing

(First appeared in Second Opinion Marketing e-bulletin April 2010 - subscribe to the e-bulletin here ).
Politicians, posters and TV debates - what can business people learn?
The impending election and campaigning activities of the political parties has provided inspiration for this month’s e-bulletin. For me, as a marketer, I’m very interested in how the parties have been trying to get their message across and wonder whether there’s anything we as business people can learn from their approach.

It's about how we communicate...
The first thing I observe is the use of traditional communications tools alongside 21st century techniques and technologies. The spoof posters are out there again – a traditional communications vehicle bought into the 21st century with airbrushing and photo-shopping, putting Cameron on the bonnet of Gene Hunt’s Audi Quattro from the BBC TV series Ashes to Ashes, and a grinning Gordon Brown against headlines like ‘Let 80,000 criminals out early. Vote for me’.

Clever, witty and I’m sure the art directors in the advertising agencies that produced these campaigns are pretty pleased with the results. But are they just too much technique and not enough substance, as some have accused Clegg of being in the TV debates?

Being too clever in your marketing communications can backfire for any business.

The second, very traditional method of reaching out to the public is the campaigning in the street, getting around our towns and cities pressing the flesh. What interested me about this is not so much the fact the politicians are doing it, but how they are trying to use what they hear on the campaign trail to try and reach out to voters. All three have referred to people they’ve met whilst out campaigning during the TV debates in an attempt to get us, the voter, to believe that they understand our plight and are listening to our views. Of course if you're still wearing a lapel microphone you really ought to think more carefully before discussing your views of the 'customer'!

The technique of listening to and playing back what the customer or client says, can however be used effectively in business. Whether it’s using testimonials to endorse your product or responding to feedback by making changes to your product or the way you deliver your service, direct client feedback can be invaluable.

Like Gordon Brown we might not always like the feedback we hear, but you can bet that for every one person that's willing to tell it to you straight there are more out there thinking exactly the same thing. It's better to hear the feedback and be able to respond than have clients defect without knowing why.

The TV debates have been an interesting political and communications experiment in my view, which coupled with the regular daily polls and close analysis of voters’ opinions, could have a real impact on the result on the 6th May.

Most businesses don’t ...

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