Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Will Meerkat Be a 2016 Campaign Game-Changer?

Social media is abuzz over Meerkat, a new service that allows users to stream live video directly from their smartphones to Twitter followers. Now Twitter has come up with  Periscope, its own rival, video streaming app.  So broadcasting an event doesn't require a satellite truck and expensive satellite time anymore; a mobile phone user can do it, as easily as texting, tweeting and Instagram posting. If the 2008 presidential election "was about Facebook, and 2012 was about Twitter, 2016 is going to be about Meerkat (or something like it)," declares Dan Pfeiffer, former senior adviser to President Obama, in a Backchannel post on medium.com. He foresees four potential impacts on 2016 political campaigns: 1) political coverage moves into the hands of Everyman, as any campaign moment at any time, such as Romney's "47%" faux pas, can be captured live and aired unfiltered for anyone to see, anywhere; 2) the line between TV and print coverage blurs further, as print reporters use Meerkat's live video to supplement their posts and tweets; 3) political engagement of millennials, who are inseparable from their mobile devices, increases as media and campaigns stream content directly to their mobile phones; and 4) the value of Twitter followers goes way up. If even 10% of Twitter users join Meerkat (or Periscope), Pfeiffer points out, that's a live video audience of almost 6 million for campaigns to reach without the filter of broadcast and cable. For the full post: https://twitter.com/medium/status/578526586674118656

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

If Tweets & Soundbites Rule, Do Speeches Matter?

When voters follow candidates and causes via media soundbites, a few lines of tweeted text or a mobile phone headline, does the old-fashioned stump speech even matter anymore? It's a question recently posed in an article in The National Journal, which noted that leading Republican presidential contender Jeb Bush didn't even give a speech at the recent Conservative Political Action Conference. Bush also has been notably "uninspired" in delivering big addresses so far this year, the article points out. Yet Jeb Bush is still confident he can meet an ambitious fundraising goal of $100 million in the first three months of the year. So why bother with scripted oratory? The National Journal asked pundits what purpose rousing campaign rhetoric still serves, and the experts cited four reasons to speechify. First, campaign speeches help gain donors. Traditionally, if donors see that a candidate can galvanize a crowd, they are more likely to offer support. Second, the discipline of creating cohesive arguments with advisors and staff is crucial to the internal campaign process, helping create a harmonious platform--and team. Third, speeches let a campaign set the public narrative, as President Obama did in 2008 with his rhetoric of hope and "change we can believe in." Finally, a great speech can simply win votes. Jon Lovett, a former Obama speechwriter, summed up, "A great speech can make you remember something about what you believe, about who you are, about who you want to be. It's rare when that kind of thing happens. But it is important, and it is real." For the whole article, go to http://www.nationaljournal.com/twenty-sixteen/the-decreasing-relevance-of-the-campaign-speech-20150304

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Data Mining Seen Spurring TV Political Ad Spending

Thanks to innovations in "addressability" and data targeting, TV political ad spending in 2016 is forecast to climb to $3 billion, according to Comcast projections recently provided during "Advanced Advertising: Profiting From a Targeted Audience," an event hosted by Broadcasting & Cable and Multichannel News publishing. Demand for spot cable is expected to see especially strong growth because it can offer targeted inventory late in political races. About 75% of ad buys come after July 4, with most post-Labor Day, when cable set-top box data and other data insights let campaigns reach a more precise cross-section of voting viewers. However, though addressability is practical on a regional or system basis, scaling up to a wider campaign is challenging. Michael Bologna, president of MODI Media, pointed out in a Broadcasting & Cable report that once a TV ad buy requires more than 30% of the U.S. audience, or CPMs over $5, broadcast "one-to-many makes more sense" than spot cable's addressability. Read the Broadcast & Cable story at http://www.broadcastingcable.com/news/bc-events/data-mining-spurs-political-ad-buying-advancedad/138701

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

In Political Races, E-mail Lists Outpace Social Buzz

E-mail beats social in political races. At least that's the takeaway from The Washington Post political blog, The Fix, which recently asked veteran digital campaigners for advice on 2016 strategy. The experts' advice can be summed up by Laura Olin, who previously was the outbound director of social media for Obama's reelection and now is a principal at Precision Strategies: "E-mail is still the largest driver of fundraising and a volunteer program. Social is a drop in the bucket compared to that." Nick Schaper, former director of digital media for House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and now the president and CEO of Engage, agreed that "e-mail is still the killer app." In reaching potential voters and donors, e-mail offers broadest reach (85% of American adults over the age of 18 use e-mail), rich targeting (data firms have built detailed profiles around e-mail addresses), and a way to directly re-contact the best prospects for more support and dollars. However, the digital marketing pros also urged campaigns to embrace social media. A basic social presence today is key to conveying legitimacy as well as organizing. "Social is obviously the best place to take advantage of network effects, like people getting their friends to do stuff for us," Olin pointed out. And for both e-mail or social networking, making it mobile-friendly is now essential, they all agreed. The outline of a good mobile strategy per Schaper: "Making sure that people can donate with one click. Making sure they can encourage their friends to do the same. Making sure that they're storing credit cards when appropriate. Making it easy for folks to give when they want to give, because that moment's going to pass." For the whole article, read http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2015/02/13/in-politics-a-great-e-mail-list-still-trumps-a-buzzy-social-media-account-and-its-not-close/

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Despite Digital Growth, Mail Still Leads Budgets

Don't let stories about online and social media politicking distract your campaign planning from the proven direct marketing leader: direct mail. Note that direct mail will top overall marketing budgets this year despite all the chatter about e-mail and digital content, predicts the Winterberry Group. At a forecast $45.7 billion spend for 2015, direct mail is showing only a 1% growth, but that still puts mail well ahead of an expected e-mail spend of just $2.3 billion, as well search dollars of $26.9 (including desktop and mobile). Although targeted digital display, including desktop and mobile promotions, has the strongest predicted growth (21.1%), it still comes in well behind mail at $28.3 billion in projected spending. Key factors driving strong direct-mail budget plans include lack of a postal rate increase in early 2015, rising mail volumes, strong acquisition mail investment to offset declining retention mailings, and a rise in digital-to-offline retargeting, according to the Winterberry study. Direct mail may also benefit from its proven ability in data-driven targeting--the Holy Grail of today's political marketing. Across channels, Winterberry predicts that 2015 marketers will invest more in data-driven promotion, with the top reason (from 52.7% surveyed) cited as the demand for more relevant, customer-centric (read donor-centric and voter-centric) communication. For an infographic summarizing results, check out the Direct Marketing News magazine article at http://www.dmnews.com/marketing-spending-in-2015-infographic/article/400487/