Posted by Sid Liebenson, EVP, Director of Marketing
A lot has been written about how online media is being used in the 2008 presidential race. Supposedly, Obama has the leading Web fundraising strategy, attracting millions of dollars in small amounts from online donors. And the McCain campaign reportedly has the edge in search optimization.
But I don’t think either candidate totally “gets it” when it comes to relationship marketing. And it’s a major lost opportunity.
Take a moment to think about all of the TV advertising for the presidential tickets. With all of that media tonnage, why are there so few spots with an actual offer? You might see a superimposed URL with a “read the plan” message, but why not an honest-to-goodness direct response call to action? “Visit this site for a detailed comparison of my tax plan vs. my opponent’s, as validated by a reputable independent source, and use our online calculator to determine what it means to your family.” Or “Call now to receive your free booklet outlining my plans for economic recovery.”
When people respond, the candidates could ask a few qualifying questions, let individuals rate the importance of several issues that will influence their vote, and offer opt-in opportunities for further communication. Then, the candidates or political parties could send emails to interested individuals featuring relevant messaging at appropriate intervals.
From what I can tell, there’s plenty of political email flying through cyberspace, but little if any is carefully segmented. Everyone seems to be “blasting” the same emails to their entire list. Perhaps with so much frequency that the messages become annoying.
Recently, someone signed me up for a GOP e-newsletter. I’m getting emails every two or three days – and I don’t want them cluttering my inbox. While each email transmission gives me a number of opportunities to engage more deeply in information on the McCain Palin philosophy, what I don’t get is the opportunity to unsubscribe to the newsletters.
This strikes me as blatantly illegal. But even if there exists some loophole for political messages, one would think that email communications supporting proponents of CAN-SPAM legislation would actually follow its guidelines.
Perhaps I’m foolish to expect too much in the way of ethics (or honesty, for that matter) in political advertising. But current practices certainly do little to engender loyal relationships from American voters.