Pay Attention Damn it!

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Tonight is the 3rd and last presidential debate for the 2012 election.

When I was in college one of my room mates was a national competitor in debating.  I want to say he was a national champion but not sure that was true (hell why let facts get in the way of a good story)…  So anyway my room mate, who was a national champion at debating would ask the rest of us to practice with him.  On occasion,  as I remember it,  I gave him a good run for his money.  But you would have to ask him.

I really enjoyed it and looked forward to it.  The experience of doing that is something I feel still helps me today. Not just in general but also marketing:

Check it:

Preparation – Write down 5 bullet points of messages you want to get across to make your argument.

Diversion – When you are asked a question,  greet the person, tell them what a awesome and important question it is, then move on to make your point.

When you watch the debate tonight:

Write down each question when its asked.

Pay attention to the greeting,  the diversion,  and the stump speech.

When they are called out on not answering the question what do they say? –  “Well I will answer your question if you will let me talk”.

When they are done look at your paper.  Did they definitively answer the question ?

Have you ever seen Matt Cutt’s speak?  He is VERY good at this.  Try to find some sessions where he is asked direct questions about a website.  He will talk about what a good question it is,  how important,  then talk about a remote example of exactly what the person brought up….   and when all is done the audience walks away feeling they got a great amount of “inside info”.   LOL.

Ok so how does this apply to marketing or specifically internet marketing… or better yet YOUR PRODUCT?


You can do exactly the same thing on your FAQ page.  Have a difficult question that most people ask…


Q-  How much carbon dioxide is there in your ACME Widgets and can they kill me?  – Betty Johnson  Moline Illinois

A-  First of all thank you for asking Betty.  That  is a very important question.  Its actually the same question that we require each of our inspectors to ask themselves as our ACME Widgets come off the line.  Our competitors like to say that they have the highest safety standards but the truth is we are the only american made Widget.   There is no other Widget that is 100% made in America.

There you go.  Did I answer the question?  NO!  Did I get my up on a podium and give you a great reason to buy my product? YES.

So watch the magic tonight.  Or the next time you see Matt Cutts speak ;).

31 thoughts on “Pay Attention Damn it!

  1. Damon

    Great points it is exactly what you said Shoe…. It really is not about if they answer the question it is about if they persuaded the audience to believe they did and if their response was better

  2. Dave

    Ha. The fact that these aren’t really “debates” are why it was so shocking that Obama got smacked in that 1st debate so badly. If he ends up losing, it will be because of that debate. How crazy is that.

  3. Bernie

    Most of the time I feel like they never answer any difficult question they are asked. Both candidates cut each other off. I mean is it really about the debate?

  4. Odis

    I always feel bad for the moderator. They have a tough job trying to make sure each candidate talks the same amount

  5. German

    Tonights debate is going to get heated. The last debate was one of the top rated debates talked about for years. I like that the younger generation is getting into them makes it more interesting

  6. Lenard

    I guess im not sure who this Matt Cutts dude is.. then again im new to the game so I have lots to learn.

  7. Valentin

    Wow, great points Shoe! So, true and really important for those swing voters tonight to pay attention to

  8. Waylon

    I get what your ACME example is getting at but I feel like that answer strayed waayy to far from the question. If I read that id get even more pissed cause I could tell thats what you were doing.

  9. Len

    This is exactly why I watch the debates! haha
    I already made my mind up who I am going to vote on it’s just fun watching how sly and manipulative they can be. Both of them that is.

  10. Alfred

    Iv heard Matt Cutts is pretty good at this too. Im not very good at this sort of thing cause I am not very charismatic so I try to refrain from talking as much as possible :( haha

  11. Steve

    I watch all these things and this one tonight has me really wishing I wouldn’t pay attention and just switch on over to something else. One side lies and attacks and never mentions any kind of plan. How can you debate against that?

  12. Hoyt

    Man, Jeremy.. the amount of people you know. And they are all so diverse your networking ability is unreal.

  13. Sidney

    Some of the best tools you will ever learn in life are not things you can learn in school.. its through people, such as your example with your roommate. School is a waste! But ya gotta do it..

  14. Charley

    These debates have been pretty fun I must say.. thank god for DVR tho otherwise I wouldn’t have been watching any of them. Monday Night Football comes first 😉

  15. David

    The bad part about diverting a question is when they do catch on it just pisses them off even more and can result in bad word of mouth about you and your company. So I try to be as honest as possible

  16. dan

    Debate all they like, they do the complete opposite once they’re in power. And nobody seems to have figured that out yet???

  17. Lelala

    In the long run – we’ll see it. Personally, i’m in for Obama, honestly. Even if his last show was not that impressive, watch out for the last weeks before the election :-)

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