Caucus this: 5 political direct marketing strategies we should use

Monday’s Iowa Caucus is over and in case you missed it, Cruz and Clinton did their respective alliterative victory (sorta, in Clinton’s case) laps.  The season of win or lose is officially here.

As direct marketers, winning and losing is a daily toil. Like the political scene, thanks to warp speed campaign measurement, we know who gets to woot-woot versus who goes home, head hanging.  It’s no wonder that the political arena is such a magnet for direct strategies. (Let us not forget that Karl Rove, architect supreme of George W. Bush’s career, was a direct marketer originally.)

As an homage to this crazy time, we’ve put together the Top Five Strategies from political direct marketing. Enjoy, if you can.

  1. Be mean. Political ads and strategies can be nasty, and often uncomplicated by actual truth. NOT what we intend here. What can be borrowed is the sense that your brand is the best, with features and benefits—maybe price?—that exceed the competition. Use these facts to your advantage.
  2. Be fast. Speed to market is a political hallmark. Candidate A says this, Candidate B responds, and it’s gotta be fast. Get the word out about your product or service promptly, and be prepared to react to marketplace opportunities. Additionally, digital technology makes political advertising faster than ever, with campaigns online within hours of delivery of creative. Today, 99% of political ads are transmitted digitally, using both satellite and internet. Even the direct mail is produced PDQ.
  3. Be targeted. Election cycle marketing is now all about niche groups, specific interests and issues, and voter profiling. The same applies to marketing health insurance, financial products, and just about every other service or product out there. Don’t be tempted to construct a one-size-fits-all message—it simply won’t work.
  4. Be semantically correct. Speaking of targeted messaging, the state of the art in political online promotion is semantic technology, ensuring that the meaning of certain words and contexts in certain markets, to certain target groups and at certain times hits home and does not offend. This technology has become very precise, allowing candidate marketing teams to meet the standards required to run ads effectively online, even for those super sensitive candidates. When you are marketing a national or global product, or one with a strategy involving key niche groups, semantic technology is a wise investment.
  5. Be flexible format wise. Whether it was Obama’s 30 minute “infomercial” in 2008, Romney’s quick-hit postcard series direct mail that same year, or any of the glut of varied tactics in the campaign toolbox, one thing is clear: a wide range of formats and lengths works.

2016 election

Voters will receive a finely-tuned array of messages in all shapes and sizes. When budgets permit, marketers today see optimal results from a mixed-media mashup such as these.

So, did your candidate win, or lose?

Direct Choice Inc. is a full-service direct marketing agency that has worked with national and regional brands in a wide variety of vertical markets. In addition to this blog, you can also find us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn

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