The Audacity of Marketing

Regardless of your political affiliation, I think we can all agree that the rise of Barack Obama has been a remarkable case study in the use of e-marketing. Never before has a political candidate used virtually every new media tool at his/her disposal to generate so much buzz and communicate effectively with constituents.

Obama’s campaign not only has a presence on sites like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, they’ve made these sites key components in how they market to and manage relationships with constituents. Additionally, they use each channel differently to communicate with different segments of their constituency. Remember the late evening SMS message alerting the most die-hard fans of Obama’s VP pick?

Sites that didn’t even exist during the last presidential election are now playing an integral role in the communications plans of both candidates. I only mention Obama because of the effectiveness of his outreach efforts (in fact: he was named Ad Age’s Marketer of the Year this week).

Surely, there are lessons to be learned on how quickly both presidential candidates, and other politicians, have been able to adapt and incorporate new media into their strategies. However, as Future Now’s Jeff Sexton points out, there are other areas where marketers could benefit from paying closer attention to how politicians sell their ideas. And, in my opinion, it’s just as important as keeping an eye on what tools they’re using to get the message out.

According to Sexton, the reasons why the best political strategists often create better messaging strategies than their marketing counterparts are not skill or deep theory (or new tools) but:

  1. Measurement – they invest time and money to see the effects of their efforts so they can know what is and isn’t working.
  2. Testing – they tweak and fine-tune copy and messaging during a campaign
  3. Agility – coming up with a great new strategy is worthless if you can’t implement it in time to win the election.

Not too complicated, but something to consider as you add new tools to your marketing mix. Even in a world flooded with new media options, the basics still apply.

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