THE POLITICS OF GETTING ELECTED

On this Presidents Day, it made some sense to showcase today’s political marketing strategies. These tactics will assist in getting candidates elected this election year.

1) Creating a brand

Similar to how Kleenex, Coca-Cola, Apple Computers and other major brands have marketed themselves, political candidates need to create a brand. A voter needs to associate that candidate’s name on Election Day with something positive. In 2008, Republican Presidential candidate John McCain branded himself as a war hero who protected our country. Conversely, Democratic Presidential candidate Barrack Obama branded himself as an alternative to old guard politics and marketed himself as a fresh approach and change to the White House. We all know the ending to that story.

2) Social Media

There is no better way for a candidate to connect with a fan base – especially a younger fan base – than through social media marketing. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other platforms can be great tools to interest millenials that may not have a large interest in politics or candidates. This is a great way to get them educated and enthused about your campaign and how their political agenda and their opponents’ agenda can impact them in the future. Social media is effective for creating awareness of political issues, encouraging people to vote and promoting candidates.

3) Direct Mail

Some perceive direct mail as junk mail. However, in a political race it can be extremely effective. Even more effective if the direct mail post card or printed piece is handed to you at your door step from the political candidate. The candidate can then ask the homeowner what issues concern him/her and/or if they have an questions at all on the candidate’s positions. Since direct mail is geographically targeted, it can be a very effective tool to motivate a voter base right before an election.

4) Broadcast media – Television and Radio

TV advertising is the most costly but also the most impactful type of advertising. With the ability to mix compelling video with strong audio, TV advertising can be very persuasive. With cable television, candidates can now strategically zone in and buy specific markets. If a Republican candidate is running a campaign and if a certain zone reaches a large percentage of Democratic voters, the candidates can choose not to air in that zone and waste valuable dollars. Radio advertising can also be very effective especially on AM News/Talk and News stations where voters are actively listening and truly care about relevant issues in a campaign that can impact their everyday lives.

5) Online Video

One of the newest strategies is running an online video campaign. Online video is similar to television but it has many added benefits. The video campaign is personally delivered to voters’ desktops, tablets and smartphones. Many times it is a forced view :15 or :30 video that is non-skippable. If a voter is searching for content online, he/she will be exposed to this message prior to seeing their content. It is easily set up to be geographically targeted, behaviorally targeted and keyword targeted. Therefore, if a Republican candidate only wants to reach voters who are Republican, this data is available and the campaign would be served only to Republican voters. If a candidate’s main issue is education, the campaign can be served only to families that have children between the ages of 2-17 years of age. Finally, once the video is playing or is over, you can click on the media player and get directed to a landing page or to the candidate’s website. Thus, the voter can either research the candidate even more or join the candidate’s “team” by giving their name, email address and/or a donation.

Roger Keys, the author, is Founder/President of Marketing Keys, a boutique media management firm headquartered on Chicago’s version of New York’s Madison Avenue – Michigan Avenue. Prior to starting his own media firm in 2007, Roger sold media for 20 years including a very successful 12 year stint working for The Walt Disney Company/ABC.