Marketing success: Words to empower your audience

Lessons for marketers from the language of politicians.

The U.S. Presidential election – particularly the Clinton-Obama contest – is a wonderful example of the power of words – the right words.

The winner is the one who uses the ‘rightest’ words – words that give the audience hope and belief that change will come about as a result of voting for them.

Isn’t this what we want to do with our potential reps or customers? Offer them the words that give them the hope that maybe things will change for the better – if they say yes to us?

It’s all about the right words – words that inspire the audience to believe change is really possible after all.

Clinton has more experience than Obama, but Obama is winning because of his words. Clinton would be the first woman president, a big change indeed. But Obama’s words are trumping sex here.

People seem to believe that change can happen more – with Obama’s words. And most important for Americans, I believe, is that with his words, people believe they can be participants in that change.

His campaign slogan: Change We Can Believe In. And his official website offers this message: “I’m asking you to believe. Not just in my ability to bring about real change in Washington… I’m asking you to believe in yours

A strong call to action – not a promise to deliver the moon while they sit back doing zip – with their hands held out.

Blogger Maki sums up the winning formula:

“Mirroring your audience’s wishes is a pathway to gain their acceptance or support. Obama’s speeches are, he adds, “emotionally engaging and are skillfully delivered to nurture his audience’s belief in themselves.”

Words to nurture your audience’s belief in themselves. And to participate in the changes they seek.

Check your business or product presentation against that metric: Do the words you use nurture the audience’s belief in themselves? Does it mirror your audience’s wishes and hopes? Does it encourage them to participate in the change?

Or is it all about how great the company and the product is? And all they have to do is sign up and the world will change for them?

The ultimate aim of the words of persuaders/sellers/change agents: To express shared goals and audience empowerment.

That’s the ultimate form of marketing, writes Maki. Shared goals and audience empowerment.

That’s what we hope to do, yes?

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About the author

Kim Klaver


  • Dear Kim,

    I like this thought process.

    However, what I often see is not as noble. I find the ultimate aim of the words of the persuaders/sellers/change agents is to scare the bajezis out of the potential customer over an urgent issue they hadn’t previously considered. Of course the change agent holds the only key to successful resolution of the crisis.

    To me this type of selling is hypocritical, abusive, self-serving, and manipulative. We got trouble right here in River City. That starts with ‘t’ which rhymes with ‘p’ which stands for pool. (I am sure most of the gen Xers and Y’s won’t have a clue about that classic performance, The Music Man.)

    What can I do for you?

    Tom Doiron

  • Kim,

    I like your point in this post, and I agree with you…Obama has a way of captivating audiences with his words…he captivates them so much, that I recently learned this morning from my grandmother who is really into politics, that he has people FAINTING in the audience during some of his speeches…I was not aware of this as I have only seen snippets of 2 or so speeches he has made…Can you imagine having people faint in MLM meetings? LOL

    He is really doing a GREAT job making people believe he is the solution to solving all of their problems…and man do I give him credit for that…

    The only problem I see with Obama’s campaign and his speeches is that he says “Yes we can…and I am one who believes in change…” But the problem with all of that verbiage is…HE IS VERY UNCLEAR about WHAT he is going to change and HOW he is going to MAKE THE CHANGE HAPPEN…Yesterday morning I heard someone say this exact same comment on the radio.

    Its almost like a presenter at an MLM meeting saying…”You are going to make a ton of money” without showing the audience members what they are going to do on a daily basis, and how they are going to make it happen.

    I find that when Obama speaks he talks a lot, and is very “captivating”, but he has very little substance or very few concrete facts that a viewer can take away from one of his speeches…myself included.

    Now just to be clear…I am not saying I am for or against Obama in any way shape or form…I am just commenting on how he is presenting himself to sway the masses to vote for him…

    One other thing I would like to make a comment about politics in general is that I sometimes feel that politicians who are running for an office or high up political position make promises that they know that they can’t keep no matter what party they are from just to gather votes from the “uneducated masses”…it is kind of like a heavy hitter selling the money side of MLM at the presentation and saying “it is so easy…you will be a millionaire overnight…etc…” just to “Get People Into Their Deal and have a nice bonus check full of Fast Start Bonus’s”…Instead it would be better and far more ethical for the presenters giving those listening the concrete facts about what it REALLY takes to make it in this business…even if they don’t get as many sign ups…

    In any event, no matter what else happens regarding politics I personally feel that Obama is going to win the election when all is said and done…despite his unclear way of presenting himself to the masses… Being one who is about to finish my 4 years in college I can tell you 100% that Obama owns the college vote hands down…and with the recent endorsement from Oprah and the Kennedy organization…he is sitting pretty well.

  • I think the biggest key to success with your team and those you sponsor is to show them how to believe in themselves.

    After all, it’s that lack of personal belief that causes someone to doubt their decision when a friend rolls his/her eyes at the new business.

    The strong call to action is critical. When it is all said and done, it’s each individual who has to make things happen.

    EXPECT Success!

    Jackie Ulmer
    Fun and Fortunes Online

  • I find this article really fascinating.

    I have always appreciated the power of words and how people who have the ability to inspire others by their words tend to be the most influential.

    Now there is a very thin line between motivation and manipulation. The key difference is the true intent of the person using those words, hence a person might have the best intentions but if their words are not inspiring they would achieve very little and a person may have ignoble intentions andf may be able to influence people to do what may not be in their best interest.

    I would say rather than focusing on people who have used the power of words to manipulate others as marketers who have a genuine interest in adding value to others we should develop the ability to influence others with words.

    Thanks again Kim for a really great post.

    DJ Sobanjo

    Create An Online Business Around Your Passion

  • Regardless of the outcome of the 2008 elections in the USA, there already is one clear winner: Democracy itself. Apathy is gone.

    For this, I am thankful. What can marketers learn from Obama..
    Good question.

    Kim, thanks for the link to DoshDosh, which linked to another
    blogging teacher, which finally motivated me to re-organize the blog thing.

    Your presence in my mailbox is always appreciated.

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