By Colin Jowell
 
As some context let me recap a few facts you probably already know.

a) Tony Abbott has just over half a million followers on Twitter.

Which is not bad, except when you consider Kevin Rudd has almost three times that amount. This is probably in part due to the fact that Kevin follows almost ten times as many people back. And has tweeted almost five times as much.

b) Tony is also stalling for a conscience vote on marriage equality, despite well respected market research indicating that the public is largely in favour.

Where am I going with all of this? Well can you imagine if a marketer found out that their social media footprint was lagging behind a former incumbent brand? Can you imagine a CMO choosing to ignore a major piece of market research and not change the product? Heads would roll, and fast!

You’ve got to admire them (even if it’s grudgingly) for staying the course. Abbott has often been quoted as not being dictated to by Twitter or polls. And even as the internet erupted last week with Brownyn Bishop memes, the lady herself felt nothing of updating her Facebook cover picture to an aerial view of her electorate that may well have been taken from a helicopter. You might call that stupid, or arrogant, but what if there is in fact a smarter strategy afoot.

Before you say it’s a matter of time before they get punished by being voted out, I say – not so fast! The Labor government jumped at every frisson in the polls and in policy, changing leaders to the point that none of us could keep up. And look what ultimately happened. By reacting to what the market said they wanted, they failed to give the market what they actually needed – clear and reliable leadership.

Because this is a marketing blog, not a political one, the question here is – how good are you at marrying research to behaviour? And how good are you at understanding those behaviours as evidence of what actually drives your customers?

The next election seems set to be a competition as to which one we pick as the tallest dwarf of leadership. But ultimately the one that gets chosen won’t be the one who spends the most time on Twitter. It will be the one that manages to tap into our personal needs best.