Campaigning is Marketing, of course – no one is going to argue against that. And in the United States, one may indeed argue that politics is the ultimate form of marketing – finding a need and delivering it. However, the exchange is not purely monetary and it is a challenging process to “make the deal” that opens to doors for the delivery of the need. Here are some things that modern politics can remind marketers…
1. Telemarketing works – including “robocalls.” As annoying as phone calls can be, they work. Ironically, Federal law prohibits the use of recorded phone messages by the private sector, but campaign calls are exempt. The politicians were shrewd if not hypocritical to excuse themselves from the regulation. (Thank heaven they didn’t excuse themselves from CAN-SPAM!) Robocalls can be used not only to remind people to vote, but also to remind them to come to political rallies, rapidly respond to their base, serve as testimonials by influencers, and be a reinforcing part of an integrated direct marketing campaign.
What will really be interesting is to see how the evolution of behaviorally targeted online ads and messages will be affected by proposed regulations, and whether the politicians will also exempt themselves for their own benefit.
2. Segmenting works – We have yet to see a product that segments its customer base the way campaign managers segment the voting population. Every demographic way to slice and dice, and probably every psychographic category is used to determine messaging, timing and placement of ads, and what to expect from particular donor prospects. The key here is to build data on your customers so you can be more predictive of their interaction with your brand, whether it is through email marketing or social networks.
3. Authenticity and transparency matter – What you say and share, especially in the digital world, can have consequences that were unforeseen. Without naming names, there have been politicians and candidates in both major parties who have blogged or tweeted things that are either self-defeating or easily twisted by the other side. While it is important for your company to project itself and its employees as “real,” it probably behooves you not to stray too far from your messaging or what your product and service is all about.
4. Keep it simple – When you think your message isn’t being understood, don’t blame the constituent. Do the research and understand the needs of your prospects. If they don’t need your solution (and usually they really are the best ones to determine that), they won’t buy it. The onus is on you, the Marketer, to communicate to them what the value proposition of your product or service is. The simpler that message is, the greater the chance of winning them over will be.
5. There is always urgency – for politicians, the ultimate conversion is not an email open or click-through – it’s getting a voter out of their chair and into a voting booth. And despite early and absentee voting, a majority of votes occur on Election Day. The other 364 days of the year mean nothing, relatively speaking. As Marketing professionals, unless you have an extremely seasonal or time sensitive product or service, you may not think you have the urgency that a political candidate feels; however, you should treat each day as if it matters – because it does. Before you know it, the month or quarter is over, and if you haven’t gotten as many leads to sales or had as many conversions as you should on your website, you’ll lose in the long run. Every day is election day because every day customers somewhere are thinking about buying the types of products and services you offer.