Apr 12 2023
Clare McKinley

3 Things B2B and B2C Marketers Can Learn from the World of Politics


As a B2B or B2C marketer, you probably have a lot of thoughts when election season comes around and political marketing campaigns are in full swing. You can’t ignore the increases in certain CPMs while planning out your own campaigns, but you definitely appreciate the beauty of a well-crafted, well-timed ad or campaign.

While it may not be obvious on the surface—or when you watch a particularly cringeworthy political ad—there’s actually a lot that B2B and B2C marketers can learn from their political counterparts. And in many ways, the specific pressures political agencies deal with force them to make strategic decisions that, in ways, would prove valuable to marketers in all fields.

Don’t believe us? We’re ready to prove it: Read on for three critical insights that B2B and B2C marketers can take from the world of political advertising:

1. Build the Right Team

Over the past few years, the Great Resignation and high rates of burnout in digital advertising have put a spotlight on employee retention. While many leaders have focused on important lessons around taking care of your employees and leading through turbulence, the political marketing world can offer some unique insights on how to build a great team.

For example, when a group of marketers come together to support a candidate or cause, there’s a certain level of built-in ideological alignment. In many ways, it’s kind of a no brainer: A marketer who leans left is less likely to join a team running a campaign for a conservative candidate.

Outside of the political arena, marketers increasingly want to work for brands they feel ideologically aligned with (just as consumers want to buy from brands whose values match their own). This kind of cohesion not only benefits the employee, but the employer as well: When your team is on the same page about the fundamentals, there’s an innate level of trust which in turn enables the flow and creativity that fuel winning campaigns. And this alignment does not have to be political—values like diversity, ambition, and work-life balance are often powerful indicators of a good fit between a marketer or consumer and an agency or brand.

Additionally, speed and agility are especially critical in the political campaign cycle, so choosing employees who have the ability and willingness to turn on a dime is key. Speaking of which…

2. Prioritize Agility

Political campaign cycles are inherently turbulent. Marketers in these spaces must be reactive to what’s going on in the world and adjust their messaging based on factors like economic and political developments, campaigns run by opposing candidates, commitments formed by new sources of funding, and a whole lot more.

Even the weather is significant, as fewer people will turn out to the polls on a snowy or rainy Election Day. Marketers must consider how to adjust their messaging based on all of the unpredictable events going on around them and be able to make those adjustments as swiftly as possible. For perspective, many political clients adjust their budgets every single Monday to account for how the landscape changed over the weekend.

While B2B and B2C marketers typically have a bit more breathing room, the growing complexity of digital media makes agility a critical part of campaign success. Even more, consumers care about brand values, and younger demographics like Gen Z are more than willing to call out inauthenticity. In the face of controversy, B2B and B2C marketers must have the ability to move fast and make adjustments on the fly.

3. Hyperpersonalization is Key

Who makes up the audience that political marketers want to reach? Simple: anyone who’s eligible to vote, right? While that's technically true, political marketers would be much less effective if that’s how they approached their work. The population of eligible voters is made up of many smaller groups defined by different behaviors, beliefs, and backgrounds, each of which create specific opportunities for messaging.

Beyond basic demographics, political marketers group audiences based on questions like, “Have they voted in the past?” “How often have they voted?” and “Is there any record of their political ideology?” Marketers then slice and dice that data in order to customize messaging to specific target audiences.

Political marketers also focus their efforts on a group called the “persuadable middle,” made up of voters who fall in between hardline conservatives and liberals. In product and service marketing, these individuals might be called “brand switchers.” There’s a huge opportunity to sway people who fall into this category, which political marketers often approach via education.

The takeaway? It pays to invest time in the process of deeply understanding the many groups that make up your audience. The more you can find out about past, current, and prospective customers, the more effectively you’ll be able to spend your budget on personalized messaging that’s tailored to reach specific groups.

Wrapping Up: Lessons from Political Marketing

See? Political marketing isn’t so different from B2B or B2C after all. By incorporating these insights about building the best team possible, prioritizing agility, and leaning into hyper-personalization, product and service marketers are sure to gain a significant competitive edge.

And these insights are just the beginning—there's a whole lot more that B2B and B2C marketers can glean from the world of political campaigns. Check out our webinar, Beyond the Ballot Box: Using Political Advertising Strategies to Connect with Consumers, to hear firsthand from political advertising experts on Basis’ Candidates + Causes team.