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Herman Cain’s 999 Plan – A Marketing Perspective

The Impact of a Simple Message

It is difficult to ignore Herman Cain’s charisma.  Everyone I have spoken to seems to find the Republican presidential candidate likeable. The former Godfather’s Pizza CEO certainly comes across as someone who knows a lot more than how to sell pizza.  In last night’s debate in New Hampshire, he leaned on his 999 taxation message that received commentary from the other candidates. If you are unaware of what 999 means, it’s 9% income tax, 9% corporate tax and 9% sales tax. The 999 plan also translates into good marketing.

An island of simplicity in an ocean of complexity is often appreciated. Corporations feel that regulations are strangling their businesses, they don’t know what to do with all of their data and their responsive communications challenges are daunting. Consumers feel their heads are spinning in a multi-layered world that seems to move faster than they can comprehend and they welcome policy that is memorable. It gives them something to discuss around the water cooler that can be universally understood.

The other GOP candidates didn’t seem to think 999 was good policy and the frontrunner (Mitt Romney) emphasized that although simple answers often sound good, this problem was too complicated. Regardless of whether the plan is good policy, a simple message can be an effective marketing strategy. What Cain is communicating is that the voter will benefit from a simple and fair tax structure. Compare those benefits to the downside of what many feel is a complicated and unjust tax system. If I were a candidate, I would try to communicate simple messages that allowed a quick grasp of the benefits. Herman Cain may not win the nomination, but all business leaders can all learn from his marketing acumen about complex topics.

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John is an experienced leader with a strong background of defining and executing company strategies. He is especially skilled in channel management, market analysis, brand marketing and selling technology products and services. He has successfully served in a number of executive positions and has been in management for 20 years. John is currently writing a book on increasing revenue generation. He has been a co-author of a comprehensive marketing methodology for high tech companies and has helped venture capitalists and private equity firms gauge their technology investments. In 2004, John served as Vice President of Marketing for the NA arm of the $6B IT Services division of Siemens, AG. John served on the board of directors at WebTrends, purchased by NetIQ (NTIQ) for $1 billion in 2001. WebTrends was highly successful dominating the web site analysis and reporting space. Prior to WebTrends, John was the Vice President of Marketing for Tivoli Systems. John has worked as a contracted consultant for established companies, start ups and top analyst firms. John can be reached at john@johnwryan.com or you can follow him on Twitter @buyersteps