Sound Bites, Anyone?

Now, back to the subject of marketing and selling.

I love the Advocates for Self-Government. They promote a broader definition of “libertarian.” Their Libertarian Communicator series has many, many excellent ideas on libertarian persuasion. Buy their stuff.

That said, I have limited enthusiasm for some of their products, especially the sound bites. It’s not that sound bites are wrong. It’s that they are overrated.

Sound bites are useful for swaying a few swing voters. They are much less useful for acquiring your base. A third party needs to be mainly concerned with acquiring its base.

People generally don’t make momentous decisions such as joining a third party, or even voting for one, based on a few sound bites.

Consider Lyndon LaRouche. He’s wacky. He’s scary. He’s not exactly good looking or charismatic. Yet he has more name recognition than the entire Libertarian Party—which gets mistaken as the party of LaRouche because both names start with an “L.”

LaRouche put nearly all his chips on a small number of half-hour late night infomercials. Viewership may have been limited, but those who saw those infomercials talked about them.

A real third party would do well to emulate this practice. If buying time on a nationwide channel is too expensive, buy in a few local markets. (Remember, geographical concentration.) Or, such an infomercial could be put on DVDs.

But the lowest overhead way of all to convey information is one-on-one conversations. The key to making such conversations work is not compressing the information into tiny sound bites. It’s about being interesting and credible enough to justify a longer conversation. Better yet, multiple conversations.

I have already given one very important key to making such conversations last: educate, don’t indoctrinate. Recognize the other person’s values and serve them. Convey knowledge and solutions that are useful to the person you are talking to.

25. And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors.

26. But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve.

--Luke 22

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Lessons Learned in the Libertarian Party
General Motors vs. McDonald's
Danger! Overhead!
Economies of Scale
Professionals: not a Panacea
It's Coke or Pepsi Time
Use the Volunteers
Morale vs. Motivation
Proof by Definition
Vote for me, you Bastard!
Voter Education vs. Indoctrination
Sound Bites, Anyone?
First, Don't Be Silly
On Herding Cats
A Better National Committee?
And More
Why Third Political Parties Fail
The Constraints Third Parties must Obey to Succeed
A Strategic Framework for Third Political Parties
Starting a New Political Party from Scratch