Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Political Direct Mail Alive & Thriving in Digital Age

Political direct mail is not just surviving in the digital age; it's thriving, according to a recent report by Politico magazine. Campaigns, party committees and outside groups have spent at least $150 million on direct mail so far in the 2014 election cycle, according to a Politico review of Federal Election Commission reports and data compiled by CQ Moneyline. That dollar total, based on expenditures categorized as a variation of "direct mail" or "mailer," far outpaces expenditures categorized as "digital," "online," "web"” and "e-mail," which together totaled about $70 million. "Direct mail works," Walter Lukens, founder of The Lukens Co., whose clients include Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Tennessee GOP Sen. Lamar Alexander, explained to Politico. "In terms of moving the needle, it’s very effective because people still read their mail, and some even keep it around," Lukens said. "It’s got a shelf life. It’s cheaper, and you can reach a more targeted audience." What about ever-more-targeted television, the political ad budget topper? Malorie Thompson of Something Else Strategies, noted that, even with current improvements in targeting voters through TV ads, direct mail has crucial cost advantages: "You want to create a campaign that chases a voter, that can engage them where they want to engage. Not all campaigns have the luxury of going on TV. That’s why direct mail is still very efficient." For fundraising, direct mail is especially key to getting donations from older donors and people who are still reluctant to give their credit card information online, added Michael Centanni, president of Base-Connect, which represents conservative candidates and groups. He cites another advantage of direct mail over e-mail fundraising pitches: "It’s so easy to delete your e-mail without even looking at it. With direct mail, you would think it would be the same, but you at least have a few seconds." Another reason even high-tech campaigns want to keep old-fashioned snail mail in the mix: It cuts through to voters barraged by digital and televised appeals. As Kevin Mack of Mack Sumner Communications, which works for several groups on the left, noted, "In today’s day and age, you can have five to seven screens in your house, but you still only have one mailbox." Read the full story at http://www.politico.com/story/2014/08/an-unlikely-survivor-in-the-digital-age-direct-mail-109673.html

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