Is the US president a CEO or a CMO?

Reimagining the Role of US Presidents – from Washington to Trump.

While my first book effort, Rehumanizing Marketing, makes its way through the publishing process, I’ve been hard at work on my next effort. Like many of you, I’ve been equal parts frustrated and disgusted at the level and tone of political discourse. I can’t think of many greater threats to our way of life than an inability to discuss issues constructively. But I’m not naive. Toxic dialog in the United States is as old as the republic. Read any good biography of Washington, Adams, or Jefferson, and you’ll see unmistakeable parallels with today’s bickering and back-biting.

Instead of complaining about it, I decided I’d dig in. What if we reimagined the role of the President as a CMO versus a CEO? How would that change our perception of their behavior? Their successes? Their failures? Would it give us a new set of tools and language to use in our collective discussions?

It can’t hurt. We’ve tried right/left tribalism, data-driven think tanks, and milquetoast centrism. Where’s that gotten us?

Here’s the basic premise:

A president is, first and foremost, the Chief Marketing Officer for the United States of America. This individual refines and expands the vision for the country, helps to align the value citizens receive with the taxes they pay, negotiates relationships with other countries, and communicates a message that (hopefully) moves millions of people to think and act in new ways. But most people don’t think about a president as a CMO. Yes, this person is an executive manager, a politician, and a historical figure, but when we examine the broad scope of the role, it’s more marketer than any of these other things. Marketer in Chief relates lesser-known, but still telling anecdotes about each of the 44 US presidents* with modern consumer-marketing situations, both successes and failures.

* If you’re wondering, Grover Cleveland served two non-consecutive terms. That’s why Donald Trump is the 45th President.

Instead of a chronological approach, Marketer in Chief adopts a more intuitive and interesting thematic approach. The four sections of the book parallel the so-called Four-Ps of marketing: Product, Price, Place and Promotion.

1. Product marketing refers to the president actively working to refine and expand the vision for the country.
2. Price marketing aligns the value citizens receive with the taxes they pay.
3. Place (or Channel) marketing involves negotiating relationships with other countries.
4. Promotional marketing describes a president’s skill in communicating a message that (hopefully) moves millions of people to think and act in new ways.

I’m not finished, but if you’re interested in learning more and staying connected, be sure to sign up for updates on my website!


(And BTW, I’m having fun hacking promotional advertisements together for each of the 44 chapters…)

Jason T Voiovich

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