Trust Me

I don’t know how the mid-term political game is playing out where you live… but here in Northern Nevada, we’ve already been subjected to two months of hard-core attack ads.

And the election is still over three months away.

I’m getting real sick of these yahoos.

This is the time of year when marketing and politics cross paths in a big way… and it’s unnerving. As a marketer, you are only as good as the credibility you’ve established with your customers — you make promises, and then deliver. If you don’t measure up, you’re looking at Refund City.

It’s a long-term thing. When you first connect with a prospect, you are a stranger and she is rightly suspicious of your intent. It takes time and effort to make your case for being a good guy, and you cannot let up for an instant, or she will bolt like a feral cat.

Even after you’ve established that you will do what you said you’ll do… be there when you say you’ll be there for her… and guard her confidence like a bulldog… you still cannot afford to make a single mistake.

Because trust is a fragile thing.

It breaks easily in marketing.

Gosh… sounds like the dating game, doesn’t it.

In business, it’s actually more brutal than in romance. You will seldom be forgiven for serious trespasses.

In politics, however… well, even after all these years, I continue to be shocked and amazed at the brazen bullshit our ruling class spreads on the table. And I continue to be depressed at the eagerness of the voting public to eat it up, yum yum.

It’s just all so blatant. Anytime, in politics, a voting block announces their single-minded preference… on any subject from immigration to prohibition to civil rights and that great stand-by “values”… there will appear a professional confidence man who will announce, boldly and with gusto, that these preferences are exactly what he’s all about.

It’s transparent, and it’s straight-faced lying, right through his teeth.

He will shake your hand, look you in the eye… and lie.

And most of the time… he will pay no price for it.

In the free market, lies catch up with you. At least eventually. I’ve seen a lot of phony nonsense make a ton of money over the years, especially through infomercials and Web-based marketing — newer, mostly-unregulated technologies that seem to initially get a pass on the “believability” test from too many people.

It doesn’t seem fair that so many swindlers should get rich before being hustled off the stage… but at least they eventually DO get tossed.

Most of the time, anyway. If for no other reason than… because they make so much money… they attract competitors who actually play by the rules. Those vitamins and herbs you’re taking every day — and I take ’em, too — are quite possibly doing lots of great things for your body. But they are the end of a long line of phony medicines, going back to the snake oil salesmen who promised their vile swill would cure everything from dandruff to cancer.

It took a while to get to the point where promise met reality.

In politics, though… the lack of immediate recourse seems to sap the energy of people who get gyped. California did recall their previous governor, and we’ve had a president resign in disgrace… but it’s rare.

The lesson: You can’t take your business cues from politics.

In marketing, you need to BE that guy who really delivers. If you offer to fulfill the single-minded dreams of your target audience, then that’s what you better do.

Or you’re toast. Especially online… where competitors are hot on your tail every second of every day.

Now… if only people would start looking at their vote as cash. It’s a precious commodity, not to be tossed around, and not to be given away to the first guy with a big-teeth smile promising pie in the sky.

The market demands accountability. Eventually.

Voting seems to be more like the multi-level-marketing scams — once you’re in the cult, you grant your boy total immunity from being accountable. Even though what he says and does is demonstrably disconnected to reality, he’s got your vote.

Humans are so exasperating, sometimes.

I can’t wait for the next round of attack ads to hit, during football season. We’re already in the name-calling stage of mud-slinging… so they’re gonna have to get really nasty by October.

I’m waiting for someone to pull out the old line “My opponent’s wife is a known thespian, who openly masticates in front of her children. During dinner!” (Goes back to Mark Twain’s time. Still rattles people who probably shouldn’t be voting…)

Stay frosty. And don’t vote like the fool most politicians take you for.

John Carlton

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  • ken oneill says:

    this is what happens when you let lawyers take over . i think it is something like 70-90 percent of politicians are lawyers . The same kind of filth that has destroyed are legal system with bullshat lawsuits. Brought the health care industry to it’s knees with lawsuit after lawsuit .

    If the politicians are left untamed the attitudes and their spending habits .. The ultimate end result is banruptsy of the country followed by a dissolution of the United states .

    I believe it says in the bible .. that a house devided cannot stand . The US is growing ever more devided . Mostly do to our political ruling class


  • I once met a lady who had escaped Poland when Hitler made his advance across Europe.

    She was fond of saying that the people will get the government they deserve.

    When someone would complain about politicians she’d say
    “You know you live in a democracy. You can run for office yourself and change things.”

    Overly simplistic perhaps but it is the ultimate in accountability.

    Kindest regards,
    Andrew Cavanagh

  • I love the quote, we get the government we deserve. If you look at the media people consume, the slander filled magazines at the checkout, the gossip filled tv shows it is no wonder our government sucks.

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