Tuesday, October 6, 2015

DC Insider: Engagement Drives Lobbying Success

Smaller businesses, interest groups and causes often despair that they can't afford the cost of lobbying to win political influence in Washington, or state capitals for that matter. Recently, Alex Vogel, recognized as a leading national lobbyist by the National Journal and The Hill magazines, reassured that there is a road map to political impact for smaller players. In an interview with Direct Marketing News Senior Editor Al Urbanski, Vogel, who now heads the VogelHood Research firm creating data-driven models to predict national policy decisions, declared that the most important factor for lobbying success is visibility and direct engagement on as many fronts as possible, from home events to legislators' offices. If you are a lobbying newcomer who wants to be heard in Washington, D.C., start with an existing trade association or advocacy group to be educated about issues and political players, and to get plugged into an advocacy structure. The next step is to engage appropriate decision-makers--and to not be disheartened by their unavailability. Meeting with staffers, such as a chief of staff or legislative director, has real value because these are the folks who help prioritize, analyze and craft policy positions for busy elected officials, Vogel stresses. Be assured that the biggest barrier to advocacy success is not a lack of money or professional lobbyists but rather a lack of engagement, he insists. To achieve engagement, use a cohesive, organized and continuous effort to blanket decision-makers at all levels. That engagement will be most cost-effective with a strategy of early and often, not waiting until an issue reaches a critical stage. Vogel cites the example of Microsoft, which ignored Washington politics until faced with an antitrust suit--and ended up spending 10 to 20 times more playing political catch-up. For the whole interview, read http://www.dmnews.com/dc-direct/its-never-too-late-to-lobby-says-dc-insider-alex-vogel/article/441293/

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

TV Political Dollars: 75% Misses the Mark, Per Study

Targeted Victory, the GOP-focused digital media firm, teamed with online giant Google to produce the recently released "50 States of Waste" analysis, highlighting the huge amount of waste in TV broadcast spending by local political campaigns--at least campaigns by Congressional candidates. The analysis looked at the $320 million spent on Congressional races last year, on a district by district basis, and concluded that 75 cents of every broadcast dollar missed the intended voter audience and were wasted on out-of-district impressions. The analysis ranking of the top 10 most wasteful district campaigns is headed by Illinois Congressional District 10, where 93% of the $19 million spent included out-of-district viewers who couldn't vote for the candidate even if they loved the message. Next comes Arizona District 1, where 89% of the $16 million spent missed the voter target. Other states with districts in the top 10 of waste include Florida, Virginia, California, Colorado, Minnesota, Texas and Georgia. Of course, digital marketing champions Targeted Victory and Google have a motive to move campaign dollars from broadcast media to digital platforms and YouTube videos. And their analysis doesn't negate the potential value of TV ads in presidential bids and statewide races. Still, it's an interesting caution to local campaigners. And a reminder to all candidates and causes that audience targeting is now key to both broadcast and digital efforts. To take a look at your own Congressional district, go to http://fiftystatesofwaste.com/index.html?p=top10&d=1

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

'Every Door Direct Mail' Is Boon to Local Campaigns

Direct mail is key to drumming up donors and supporters, yet smaller, localized campaigns and candidates can be daunted by its costs and logistics. A recent Campaign Insider post for Campaigns & Elections magazine reminds mail-phobic politicos of a direct mail option especially suited to smaller budgets and novice efforts: the U.S. Post Service-enabled Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM) program. EDDM offers 100% delivery to target mail routes at lower postage costs and without permits or mailing lists. Campaigns nervous about handling the prep work on their own can work with an EDDM provider, or use EDDM2go, an all-inclusive option that allows a campaign to be created and delivered digitally. Meanwhile, campaigns that do have targeted mailing lists can turn to the DirectMail2go program to upload lists and customize mail. Both the EDDM2go and DirectMail2go programs also offer pre-designed political flyer and postcard templates for staffs lacking creative expertise. The Campaign Insider post by Victoria Belknap, who heads up EDDM2go and DirectMail2go marketing and customer relations, argues that these programs are "musts" for today's down-ballot and local campaigns. With EDDM and EDDM2go, campaigners can afford to blanket mail carrier routes, prospect for support, and use mail to build their own more targeted lists of postal addresses as well as online sign-ups and e-mail addresses, she notes. She urges politicos to get a feel for EDDM's potential by registering for a free EDDM account to access carrier route selection and mailer customization tools prior to committing. For Belknap's full post, go to http://www.campaignsandelections.com/campaign-insider/2527/political-marketing-musts-for-moving-voters-in-the-right-direction-increasing-your-campaign-s-roi

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Small-Dollar Donors Boost Long-Shot Candidates

The well-known Clinton and Bush political names may resonate with big donors, but a sea of small-dollar donors are flooding the coffers of some long-shot candidates, according to a recent U.S. News and World Report story. Small-dollar donors account for 45% of the $1.7 million raised by Republican hopeful Carly Fiorina's campaign, 60% of the $13.6 million raised by Democratic Sen. Bernie Sanders, and 80% of the $10.6 million backing Republican outsider Ben Carson. Contrast that with long-shot candidates who should be able to cash in on experience in public office and existing donor networks, such as Republicans Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, who have raised just $600,000 each. What is the formula that has won Fiorina, Sanders and Carson so many small-donor fans? Political experts cite the fed-up-with-politics-as-usual factor, the feel-good of donating to someone whose policies you support and whose persona you relate to, and a basic hope that small donations can add up to help with political success. But that last hope is apt to be disappointed, especially for backers of Fiorina and Carson, if history is any guide. The last time someone who had never held public office won the presidency was Dwight Eisenhower, political analysts note, and he had victory as a World War II general on his resume. For the full article: http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2015/09/10/small-dollar-donor-mindset-helps-long-shot-candidates-cash-in

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Candidates' Back-to-School Swag Woos Youth Vote

Hillary Clinton, Rand Paul, Donald Trump and other presidential hopefuls are hoping to lure young voters with branded back-to-school gear, reports Advertising Age. Hillary Clinton's back-to-school collection includes a "She's Got Your Back(pack)" knapsack, a cell phone case and a "college pack" with t-shirt, plastic cups, buttons, stickers and other items. Hi8llalry also offers a college "party pack" that includes a bottle opener keychain and fake gold tattoos. Meanwhile, Rand Paul's campaign store is pushing anti-Hillary items (like an erased e-mail server called "Hillary's Hard Drive") as well as a bag toss game, NSA spy blocker, and t-shirts designed by contest winners, including one with Paul's face labeled "Liberty Bro." Not to be left behind, Donald Trump offers a branded pack of 16-oz. red cups for campus beer bashes, pom poms, drink coozies and megaphones. Will it work to plaster their names and faces all over college campuses and win the hearts of young voters? Time will tell. For more, see http://adage.com/article/cmo-strategy/hillary-clinton-pushes-back-school-collection-college-students/300010/

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

How Clinton's Fundraising Mail Is Seeking Response

Direct mail is still one of the most powerful fundraising tools in the campaign marketing kit, and it is instructive to see how major candidates are using various mail response rate drivers to gather donations for 2016 races. A recent DirectMarketingIQ video from its research director, Paul Bobnak, analyzes how Hillary Clinton's campaign kickoff mail seeks to score with supporters by touching key direct mail marketing bases. Her piece starts with a slightly oversize No. 12 envelope with the well-known Clinton name prominently displayed and a personalized teaser ("First name, this is our moment. Are you with me?"), which both engages directly and induces guilt, one of marketing's proven response triggers. Inside is a letter with quick-read short paragraphs that focus on Us versus Them arguments, a bumper sticker premium, and a reply form that leaves space for the recipient to write lines to Clinton about issues of personal concern, another direct connection with the candidate. Clinton also uses her H logo with the arrow to point the reader's attention to a four-color photo of her well-known, smiling face as she asks for response. To see a sample of the actual mail piece, go to http://www.directmarketingiq.com/item/hillary-clinton-s-campaign-kickoff-mail-follows-all-the-rules

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

'Mobile' Electorate Is 2016 Game-Changer

The growth of mobile phone ownership is a definite game-changer for 2016 election campaigns, advises a recent Politico blog post by Dylan Byers. With 64% of Americans owning a smartphone and 68% of smartphone users following breaking news events, campaigns have both unprecedented messaging opportunities and tougher challenges. How different this election will be from 2012 is clear when Byers points out that only four years ago, during the 2012 election primaries, just 35% of Americans owned a smartphone! Per a quote from Chris Lehane, Democratic strategist and Clinton White House alum: "Mobile is going to be the big thing in 2016. It is what any sophisticated campaign will be trying to figure out and then maximize in 2016--and all the campaigns from both parties will be in a race to see who can figure out the tools to best lever the power of mobile." However, mobile clearly will be a double-edged sword in 2016 politics. On the one hand, big data targeting will be even more powerful when applied to mobile ads, donations and campaign organizing. Campaigns can use mobile to deliver quick, direct, highly targeted messages and videos to voters. On the other hand, campaigns and causes also face the risk of live streaming video gaffes, uncontrolled access by "citizen reporters," and more fast and furious partisan attacks. To that point, Byers first cites remarks by former Obama adviser Dan Pfeiffer that mobile will create greater engagement opportunities with millennials. He then quotes Henry Blodget, editor and CEO of Business Insider, as he warns: "Gaffes will blow up even faster. Partisan rooting will be even quicker and more intense. Anonymous trolls will swarm Twitter and brand any news story that is not highly flattering to their team as 'bias.'" For good or ill, political observers agreed, mobile has fundamentally changed 2016 political strategy. See the complete post: http://www.politico.com/blogs/media/2015/04/the-mobile-election-how-smartphones-will-change-the-204855.html