How Business Strategy - Not Politics - Will Beat Obama in 2012

Last Updated Apr 20, 2011 12:09 PM EDT

How to Beat Obama in 2012According to a new Washington Post/ABC News poll, Barack Obama's approval ratings continue to tank, making him vulnerable to be ousted by a republican in the 2012 election. That said, people would still vote for him over every single one of the GOP's current slate of candidates. That pretty much tells the story for republican presidential hopefuls lately: they suck. Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, Ron Paul - it's like watching a rerun of a bad movie because nothing else is on. Didn't John McCain beat all these guys and he had zero charisma, zero chance of winning in '08? And what's new since then? Donald "Birther" Trump? Sarah "Polarizing" Palin? Newt "Yesterday's News" Gingrich? Give me a break. Memo to GOP: No jobs, crushing debt, sky-rocketing cost of living - American's are fed up. Read my lips: this is an extremely vulnerable president. The midterm elections are proof of that. It's yours to lose. If this was a competitive business situation with a decent marketing chief at the helm, we'd cream Obama. In fact, the way to win in 2012 isn't through political strategy, but through relatively straightforward and proven business strategy. So pay attention to how we do it in the real business world: Four Business Principles for GOP Victory in 2012

If your product isn't competitive, you lose. The republicans desperately need a competitive product, meaning a candidate who can actually go toe-to-toe with Obama -- and win. Embattled as Obama is, it's always a challenge to knock out an incumbent president. And so far, as we've already discussed, the field is unacceptably weak. Still, if the poll is right, not only is this the key to a GOP win, but if they don't find a star candidate, they will surely lose.

In America, business trumps ideology. One of the first principles of business and marketing is to answer the customer's WIIFM - What's In It For Me. Fortunately, that's pretty easy to figure out because nobody gives a crap about ideology when they're losing their jobs and their homes. The American people want jobs and an improved economy and they're not willing to mortgage their children's future to get it. Pimco, the IMF, and S&P are justifiably concerned about a U.S. debt crisis. The GOP needs to become the party of fiscal responsibility, which brings us to the next point.

The path to credibility is to walk the talk. I think the American public is a little tired of BS. Obama campaigned on a platform of 'change'. How'd that work out for him? Not so well. That's because he failed to meet his campaign promise, bigtime. And while the midterm elections definitely signaled a mandate from the people for fiscal responsibility, republicans now have to walk the talk or a win in 2012 is off the table. Look, both parties have failed the people over the last decade with plenty of excuses for runaway spending: wars, stimulus, bailouts, and entitlements. We the people have had it with BS promises.

Grassroots trumps mass marketing. Obama won in '08 by using the Internet as a tool in political organizing and building grassroots support. Political fundraising will never be the same. It's an old concept straight out of Geoffrey Moore's Crossing the Chasm, the seminal work on converting early adoption to mass adoption. Nevertheless, the Republican Party must get with the program to win in 2012 by drastically improving its web-based and on-the-ground planning, organizing, and fundraising.

    That's what it's going to take for a republican victory in 2012: a competitive candidate, fiscal responsibility, "walk the talk" credibility, and grassroots marketing. If they do those four things, they've got a good chance of winning. If not, it's another four years of Barack Obama. It's that simple. > And just so nobody accuses me of partisan politics in a business / management blog, I plan to write a similar post for the democrats in the next week or so.
    Image: jamesomalley via Flickr