The Launch of Sarah Palin
We have witnessed one of the most significant product launches of the year, the launch of Sarah Palin as nominee for VP of the Republican Party. The launch was well planned and executed, and there are many examples that can be emulated. The Republicans had many good potential VP picks among their party ranks. The easy thing to do was to choose a running mate that would be acceptable to the party base, much like Obama did choosing Biden as his running mate for the Democratic Party. But the McCain camp went much further. They analyzed their market and developed a deep understanding of their Buyers (voters). There are many undecided voters that are looking for something different. Those voters see the pluses and minuses of both presidential candidates but were missing something. And there are millions of Hillary Clinton supporters up for grabs that feel cheated in the Democratic primary process. The McCain camp responded with Sarah Palin. McCain’s strengths are his experience, being a war hero, and his maverick style. But his liabilities are his age, being part of the Washington establishment and not being conservative enough. By choosing Sarah Palin, McCain was able to capitalize on his strengths, shore up his liabilities and appeal to disenfranchised Hillary Clinton supporters. While the Democratic Convention was underway, McCain kept his VP choice under wraps. This caused the media to get worked up. Cable news shows and radio talk shows spent hours of air time guessing who McCain would pick for his running mate. They focused on the usual suspects. Sarah Palin was never in the discussion. Then the day after Barack Obama’s speech in Denver, the McCain campaign launched Sarah Palin, and it completely stole the media attention from Obama’s historic speech. The media was caught off guard and scrambled to get information about Gov. Palin and the McCain camp was prepared to supply the information. I set the Tivos in my house to record Sarah Palin’s speech on different network and cable news channels because I wanted to hear the commentary of the hosts and their guest experts leading up to the speech and afterward. Most of the discussion before her speech focused on her lack of experience and her unknown status. Then Sarah Palin delivered a knockout speech. It was well written and well rehearsed. She stole the show. It was a product launch event second to none. It was a launch that even Apple should be impressed with. Knowing your market. Capitalizing on strengths. Addressing shortcomings. Identifying and exploiting your competitor’s weaknesses. Timing. Leverage. Surprise.
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