Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Marketing Pro to 2016 Hopefuls: Sell Pithy Specifics

Political campaigns spend big dollars on voter-targeted direct and digital marketing campaigns, so the opinions of direct marketing pros, like well-known and outspoken consultant and author Denny Hatch, are worth noting. Hatch recently wrote an article for Target Marketing magazine, advising the crowded field of 2016 presidential candidates on how they can ease the decision-making nightmare for voters. First, he urges them to avoid BOMFOG, a term gleaned from a former candidate-client's own speech content description: Brotherhood of Man Under the Fatherhood of God. Hatch cites BOMFOG as an illustration of the general political tendency to "bloviate, equivocate, pontificate, obviate and flat-out lie" while avoiding specifics. But when you have over 20 primary candidates, Republican and Democrat, that kind of tactic will leave voters either grabbing at televised one-liners and gaffes, or confused and turned-off. Instead, Hatch suggests that, as in the business world, each candidate should create a pithy, personal resume for voters. That political resume would consist of a CV (99 words maximum about family, net worth, education and career); a Preamble about basic philosophy of governance (249 words maximum); and a series of Issue Stances (99 words each). Hatch provides his own examples of issue opinions, which readers won't necessarily accept, but the idea is to offer a manifesto that is specific, punchy and printed (no BOMFOG evaporating at the end of the speech or media sound bite). Issues include hot topics such as energy, foreign policy, climate change, health care, immigration, jobs, national security, taxes, and more. Hatch taps into marketing basics with his ideas. "Specifics sell. Generalities do not," he notes, quoting marketing freelancer Andrew J. Byrne. By creating a punchy resume, each candidate can focus on his or her USP (Unique Selling Proposition), Hatch suggests. See: http://www.targetmarketingmag.com/article/selling-president-2016-bomfog/

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Why the Fad for One-Letter Logos in 2016 Race?

Barack Obama rode his hip, single-letter "O" logo into the White House, and some 2016 presidential hopefuls may hope that emulating the one-letter logo idea will lead to the same political brand success. For example, as a recent Washington Post newspaper story reports, Republican Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal's campaign committee is playing with a "J" logo, while Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton has launched an active, rightward-pointing "H," former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) is using "O'M" instead of spelling his name out on signs, and Republican Rick Perry has unveiled a "P" logo. Why the popularity of single-letter logos? Blame the rise of digital politicking, suggests the Post. Single letters are optimized for smartphones, whether for a call-to-action button or a social media avatar. Single letters just fit better into the square icons of social media compared with long names. It's no accident that Facebook's logo is a lowercase "f," Pinterest uses a "P," and Tumblr has a lowercase "t." But the fad for bold letter logos also may reflect the pressure to stand out in a crowded field of presidential hopefuls, adds the Post story. A strong campaign logo, like a strong corporate brand logo, can set a candidate apart from the competition and quickly help voters recall a candidate's message and brand attributes. For logo examples, go to http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2015/06/04/the-rise-of-the-single-letter-political-logos/

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Want to Tap Millennial Politics? Go to Facebook

If they want to get on the Millennial generation's political radar, campaigns need to go to Facebook. A recent Mashable article cites the evidence of social media's grip on Millennial politics with the latest Pew Research Center study, which found that 61% of Millennials, those born between 1981 to 1996, said they get political news from Facebook at least once a week. That social media preference easily outpaced the 37% of political input from local TV, the preferred medium of Baby Boomers, those born between 1946 to 1964. In fact, Millennials and Baby Boomers are mirror opposites in terms of preferred political news sources, with Boomers getting 60% of their political news from local TV and only 39% from Facebook. The study, in which Pew surveyed 3,000 people, also found that the Millennial age cohort tends to recognize fewer news outlets, with less awareness of half of the 36 sources that Pew asked about when compared to the Boomers and Generation X group (those born between 1965 and 1980). The report also polled Millennials on how much they trust different news outlets. Among the most recognized and trusted, CNN led (trusted by 60%, distrusted by 16%, with 19% in the middle). Next in trust were the news divisions of ABC, NBC, and CBS. Lowest trust went to digital sources like BuzzFeed and conservative media like the Rush Limbaugh Show. Among the top social media players, Facebook outdistanced Twitter, with just 14% of Millennials saying they got political news via tweets. For more, read http://mashable.com/2015/06/01/millennials-facebook-politics-pew/

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Presidential Hopefuls Duel With E-mail Subject Lines

With e-mail a proven political campaign tool, and subject lines a key to open rates, the crowded field of 2016 presidential hopefuls is already providing interesting subject line lessons, notes a recent Target Marketing magazine article by Kevin Kelleher of Return Path, an e-mail marketing data solutions provider. Consider Ted Cruz's subject line "Exciting news this week!" It aims to generate interest/curiosity (what's so exciting?), urgency and even fear of missing out (this week), Kelleher points out. In contrast, Rand Paul's welcome e-mail subject line rambles on with "Thank you so much for signing up to learn about Rand Paul's campaign for the Republican nomination for President of the United States." Its 134 characters--which is almost too long for a tweet and will be cut short by e-mail inboxes and mobile screens--put it in the minority 3% of subject lines over 100 characters, which also have a lower open rate average of just 9%, per Kelleher. Hillary Clinton takes the opposite tack with a minimalist, one-word "Welcome" e-mail subject line, which may have an eye on mobile users since those devices are constrained to just 25-30 characters. But it certainly seems to miss the more personal, inclusive inspiration added by just three more words with Marco Rubio's "Welcome to the Team." Kelleher adds that Bernie Sanders is the only one to use a question and a soft call to action with his "Are you with me?" subject line. The answer to that question for all candidates is pending, but to give your 2 cents now on the current crop of political subject lines, go to http://www.targetmarketingmag.com/article/presidential-subject-lines-can-learn-early-candidates/

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Election Spurs Sale of Valuable Voter, Donor Data

One way presidential hopefuls raise money for 2016, and pay off debts from prior campaigns, is to rent out valuable voter and donor data. And that's a boon for other candidates and causes. "A lot of folks that ran in 2012, their lists are on the market," Ryan Meerstein, senior director for Client Strategy at Targeted Victory, a Republican tech firm, recently confirmed to The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette newspaper. Targeted Victory, for example, paid $1.1 million to rent list data from Mitt Romney's 2012 presidential bid. GOP presidential bidder Rick Santorum has earned nearly $281,000 by renting supporter lists from his 2012 election effort, while 2012 GOP also-ran Newt Gingrich has earned $434,000 off supporter lists. The most coveted data, campaign pros told the Pittsburgh newspaper, includes the personal contact information of campaign donors. Also desirable are lists of supporters "willing to turn an online action into an offline action," such as attending a rally or posting a lawn sign, added Meerstein. Of course, national candidates are not the only source of valuable political data. On the market are voters by city, state and local campaign, members of special-interest and advocacy groups, and donors to a range of politically relevant causes, with many of those lists selectable for party affiliation. Political lists are rented via data brokers, like Beyond Voter Lists, the article notes. But we would add that a good broker will help candidates and causes avoid the problems also cited in the newspaper article, such as overuse and poor targeting, by checking usage history and making sure list data is updated and matched with client targeting. See http://www.post-gazette.com/news/nation/2015/06/01/Political-fundraising-campaigns-manage-debts-by-selling-data/stories/201506010025