It has been quite interesting following the Republican nomination contest in Iowa... from a marketing analytics perspective.
In marketing terms, Mitt Romney ran a traditional advertising campaign, which in politics involves local fieldwork, TV advertising, typical campaign stops and a focus on comparing yourself with the leading brand (in this case, President Obama). Rick Santorum ran a contrarian campaign, doing lots of local events and little organizing, spending very little on advertising, focusing on a highly differentiated message and generally avoiding the traditional political marketing. Rick Perry, I can only assume, ran my kind of campaign based on statistics and advanced analytics. (If Perry missed in Iowa, I will be interested to see if the lack of analytical rigor has anything to do with it.)
In my inexpert opinion, both the Romney and the Santorum approaches worked for exactly the reasons we would expect in marketing. In Romney's case, the #2 brand can benefit with a traditional approach if the focus is on beating down the #1 brand. In Santorum's case, a little-known brand can often benefit even more by going against the grain, making a spectacle in a very different style than the industry leaders and using more guerrilla-style tactics to gain advantage.
I'll be interested to see if Santorum can adapt to the #3 brand position quickly. And whether either the Romney or Santorum brands can withstand a Microsoft-like onslaught of money from the leading Obama brand.