The Iowa Straw Poll is in the record books. Minnesota Representative Michele Bachmann pulled off a victory that three months ago seemed unimaginable. How she beat the likes of established pols such as Ron Paul, Tim Pawlenty, and Newt Gingrich & Company speaks as much to modern product marketing as it does to effective electioneering.
Make no mistake, Michele Bachmann is a product with her own unique brand. Bachmann differentiated herself among the GOP presidential candidates as the social conservative with “tude” and conviction. Bachmann called it “authenticity.” Whatever you call it, Iowa republicans bought it. Tim Pawlenty spent two years and millions of dollars in Iowa and in the end all his candidacy sold was canned corn. Bachmann sold Tobasco Sauce.
Good brands and good marketers know there are several drivers to bring consumers to your product. In the end, Bachmann won the straw poll on Buzz and Activation. The number crunchers at Google have just released the data on which presidential candidates Iowans searched the web for leading up to the straw poll. Bachmann lead the pack. It wasn’t even close . That’s Buzz. But Bachmann was equally as effective in activating that buzz into votes. Pawlenty may have had a superior tactical ground organization, but lacked the strategy to create any kind of buzz for his candidacy and certainly could not activate enough supporters to vote.
Tragically for Pawlenty, he’s finally achieved some differentiation from the rest of the presidential candidates. He’s out.