[NOTEBOOK]Political Leaders Need Better MarketingNot long ago, when I went to movie theaters, there were signs, warning "Bringing in drinks inside the theater is prohibited," which made me reluctant to buy beverages. I would hastily finish a drink I bought at a higher price in the lobby before I went inside the theater to watch the movie, since drinking while viewing the film was also banned.
But things are different now. In the multiplex movie theaters, I can enjoy a beverage during the movie without worrying about breaking the rules. This is because a cup holder is attached to every seat. People no longer have to juggle popcorn in one hand and a coke in the other.
Upscale multiplexes, like Seoul COEX Mall's Megabox movie theater, and Techno Mart's CGV have attracted older audiences in their 30s through 50s with their pleasant surroundings. This has given a boost to Korean films.
Look carefully at the door handles on the front and rear right doors on the Renault Samsung Motor's SM5. There are braille points inscribed. The points say one can pull the handle or press it to open the window. This is such a careful consideration for the small number of visually handicapped people.
Taxi drivers are now aware that SM5 has fewer mechanical defects and Renault Samsung Motors voluntarily recalls vehicles when there is a problem. As a result, SM5 has become a sensation in the midsize passenger car market.
In January and February, three thousand SM5 cars were sold, five thousand in March and seven thousand in June. SM5 came in second ahead of Kia Motors' Optima, and behind the best selling Hyundai Motor's New EF Sonata. SM5 is benefiting from so called word-of-mouth marketing.
With the spread of computers and the Internet, the speed of the change is becoming even faster. Companies have to catch up with the change to attract customers and sell products.
Marketing is not the sole possession of companies. Universities compete to recruit the best students, movie theaters fight for larger audiences and churches for more churchgoers. Politicians compete for more votes, doctors for more patients, and artists for bigger fame. In the end, marketing efforts pay off when they command interest and attention and generate good word of mouth and the desire among customers to make purchases.
Successful marketing comes from reaching out to move customers' mind. Meeting customers' expectation can satisfy them, but exceeding customers' expectation can touch them.
These days, customers are much pickier as they want the best quality and extra services, convenience, custom-made goods, and repair services at even lower prices. So, marketing must begin with love for the customers.
One has to carefully examine what customers really want. One should not be content with understanding customers' mind but also should genuinely care for their interest putting oneself in their position.
People are the customers of politicians and government officials. Politicians can succeed in marketing by attracting people's votes through activities that reflect their understanding on voters' way of thinking.
Our National Assembly's Standing Committee has not finished the supplementary budget for this year, and the National Assembly's regular session in the fall, which will examine next year's budget, is just a few days away. Congressmen always mention and emphasize the welfare of the people, but the legislation of financial protection laws for low-income families, who suffer from high interest usury, and the registration of private lenders and efforts to limit private lending interest rate, are drifting.
The ruling and opposition parties are criticizing each other to shore up the parties' interests and policies, and now the officials of the Blue House and the ruling party are at odds. People have been watching all this and are sick and tired of it.
Politicians and top ranking government officials must resort back to a marketing mindset of caring for people and loving people. Then, we can improve our country's competitiveness, stabilize our markets and revive the economy.
The writer is economic news editor of the JoongAng Ilbo.
by Yang Jae-chan