Politics as Marketing


Ruble Hord has been the top salesman for Northwestern Mutual Insurance Company. He is also an early adopter in doing good and doing well.

(Yes, that is his real name: Ruble, as in Russian currency. And Hord rhymes with Lord, jokes Hord.)

He ran for elective office a few years ago. He spent $240,000. Of his own money. After-tax dollars.

He lost.

At the final get-together after his concession speech, I asked him about his public spirit, his private money.

Ruble, do you feel bad about spending that much money?

No, he says.

No? Here it comes, I thought, now he would turn philosophical.

He is almost smiling. No, There was no way I could lose.

Excuse me? I’m lost. This is not usual.

I really thought I could win and serve, he explains. But in losing the race I might win…

Win?

…more business.

In the public-spirit spirit of John Wanamaker and Ben Franklin Ruble Hord demonstrated great dexterity in attempting to make a difference. But also, incidentally, make a buck.

I’m an insurance salesman, says Ruble who has his home phone number listed in the phone book. I want people to know about me.

They certainly do now, I venture.

The money spent was the cheapest marketing I could buy, says Ruble. Even in losing, all was not lost.

Even though he didn’t plan on losing the political race, he was still a winner. Ruble Hord is a master salesman and a master marketer.

Your Business Blogger has always thought that lawyers were natural political candidates because lawyers, well, know law, I supposed.

But no. Lawyers, as small business owners being well ahead of the trend, would run for office. The political campaign is little different from a marketing campaign. Lawyers would either pick up votes.

Or clients.

Small business owners have a passion for making a difference in their neighborhoods. Running for office might be another avenue to serve.

Serve the citizens. Serve your customers.



Jack Yoest John Wesley (Jack) Yoest Jr., is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Management at The Catholic University of America. His expertise is in management training and development, operations, sales, and marketing. Professor Yoest is the president of Management Training of DC, LLC. A former Captain in the U.S. Army and with various stints as a corporate executive, he also served as Assistant Secretary for Health and Human Resources in the Administration of Governor James Gilmore of Virginia.