Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Learning From 2014 Political Direct Mail Successes

Direct mail proved its value as a fundraising and political engagement tool in many successful midterm bids, and the tactical takeaways can help campaigns hone mailings for the next political cycle. Paul Bobnak, archivist for Who's Mailing What! and research director for DirectMarketingIQ.com, recently winnowed through the mass of political mail from 2014 races and pulled out three tips for success. First, go big to make a big splash, he advises, citing as one example the 8.5-by-11-inch booklet mailed out by Democrat Tom Wolf in his successful bid to oust incumbent Republican Tom Corbett in the Pennsylvania gubernatorial race. Second, use color, he urges, showing how outer envelopes with compelling four-color images and bold teaser copy stand out from the crowd of dull No. 10 mailers. Third, add door-to-door campaign tools to mailings to help put your donors and supporters on your street team. Bobnak highlights how a Democratic National Committee mailer not only included a sheet of stickers and two door hangers but also an outer envelope that folded out into a poster, a tactic that has proved effective for nonprofit donor drives. To see Bobnak's video presentation and examples, go to http://www.directmarketingiq.com/item/2014-political-direct-mail-tips

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Hillary May Tap Texas Ad Agency Alums for 2016

According to a recent Advertising Age report, Wendy Clark, a Coca-Cola marketing executive and alumnus of Austin-based ad agency GSD&M, may join her mentor at GSD&M, co-founder and Clinton confidant Roy Spence, on the presumptive Hillary Clinton presidential campaign team. Clark shares Spence's philosophy of "purpose-driven" marketing, and there is speculation that this is the kind of branding strategy that could guide Clinton's campaign messaging. Clark, who is on leave from Coke to pursue a "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity" per an internal memo, and Spence, whom Hillary Clinton counted among "the best friends I ever had" in her 2003 autobiography, were both put on the list of potential Clinton team "message makers" by a recent New York Times blog post. Spence, who is known for the "Don't Mess With Texas" anti-litter campaign and who founded The Purpose Institute in 2008 to promote his branding philosophy, urges "purpose-driven" marketing to "play to your strength in the purpose of serving the greater good." Clark's implementation of that concept has stressed integrating owned, earned, shared and paid media, with social media at the center. Barbara O'Connor, emeritus professor of communications and director of the Institute for the Study of Politics and Media at California State University, Sacramento, summed up for Advertising Age: "I think [Wendy Clark's] skill set is one that [Ms. Clinton] certainly would like to have, because Wendy is very well known and is excellent at marketing to Middle America. And that's a group that whoever is running for president needs to focus on turning out." For the full story, go to http://adage.com/article/news/hillary-adland-message-makers/296647/

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Winning Midterm Ads Told Voters 'I'm Just Like You'

Political ads, whether they go for positive vibe or negative attack, succeed by connecting candidates to the voters. A key way to do that is to convey the message that a candidate is "just like you," proposes an analysis of 2014 midterm campaign ads by Lynn Vavreck, a UCLA political science professor, writing in The New York Times' The Upshot section. Vavreck cites two contrasting "just like you" approaches that won. Joni Ernst garnered national attention for her Iowa Senate race with her now-famous hog-castration ad, promising to go to Washington to "make 'em squeal," but the heart of her campaign was to connect to Iowa voters with "just like you" authenticity, raising hogs on a farm and making biscuits at Hardee's restaurant. And the last two weeks of her successful Senate bid produced over 80% promotional and positive ads, focusing on government spending, budget and taxes. In contrast, Pat Roberts, the incumbent Republican senator in Kansas, kept his seat by producing 80% of ads that were negative attacks on President Obama and his policies--especially in the last two weeks of his campaign. It wasn't because his opponent was an Obama Democrat; his opponent ran as an independent. But by using attack ads, Roberts tapped into his electorate's disapproval and disappointment with Obama to show voters he was "just like you," Vavreck notes. Politicos gearing up for 2016 certainly should consider the power of "just like you" in planning campaigns. For the complete article, go to http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/06/upshot/midterm-political-ads-that-worked-and-why.html?_r=0

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Texas Governor Election Was Direct Marketing Coup

The mid-term elections, seen by some as a slap to President Barack Obama's policies, simultaneously saw politicos of all stripes warmly embracing the data-driven, digital marketing strategies pioneered by the President's team. A case in point is the successful 2014 campaign of Texas' newly elected Republican Governor Greg Abbott, points out Direct Marketing News Senior Editor Al Urbanski. Abbott spent about $7 million on digital marketing and data analytics in 2014, compared with the paltry $100,000 or so spent on digital by Rick Perry's 2010 Texas gubernatorial effort. Teaming with Targeted Victory, a digital agency focused on Republican clients, Abbott's election team worked to build an engaged online audience that could be called to action, moving supporters from Facebook fans to e-mail recipients to donors to voters via 74 different marketing campaigns of targeted content. Analytics and ROI even guided traditional offline canvassing efforts, so volunteers knocked only on the doors of pro-Abbott voters identified as needing a little push to the polls. One result of his data-driven strategy was that Abbott won a majority of male Hispanic voters, a coup in a typically Democratic demographic, by using statistical modeling and targeting to get pro-Abbott segments within the demographic into the voting booth. For more detail, read The Direct Marketing News story: http://www.dmnews.com/this-governor-elect-got-direct/article/382966/