I recently attended the “Digital Marketing World – Spring 2009” virtual conference (currently on demand at http://www.marketingprofs.com/events/6/conference) which featured a keynote presentation from David Plouffe, Campaign Manager for Barack Obama’s 2008 Presidential Campaign. His team utilized – at the time – a fairly new, somewhat risky medium (social media) to communicate to their target audience (voters). His success is obvious – being credited by the President in his acceptance speech for building “the best political campaign, I think, in the history of the United States of America.” And in the marketing world, this guy is a ROCK STAR!
In his presentation, Plouffe shared some simple, yet brilliant, lessons that all marketers should consider:
- Reach people in every way possible. These days, people receive information in many different ways and they don’t always overlap. Therefore, the campaign “tried to meet people where they live and not make any one communication [medium] superior to another.”
- Have a consistent message. It’s important to keep a balance between inspiring creativity (user-generated content) and making sure your message is maintained.
- Use people as your messengers and validators. The Obama team armed and empowered individuals to spread his message. As Jalali Hartman, Yovia.com CEO, wrote in his paper ‘Obamanomics,’ “The campaign was not successful simply because it got a lot of people out to vote. It was successful because it got a lot of people out getting others to vote.”
- Have a lot of information. There is no such thing as too much data. The Obama campaign provided people with information constantly and consistently in multiple formats through various channels. Most of all, they were transparent and honest, building a trust and giving people the power to make their own informed decisions.
- Have as much data on your customers. Pay attention to the audience you’re trying to reach and diversify the media and the message based on where they are and what’s important to them. After all, not everyone visits the same websites or watches the same programs. And they’re not all interested in the same issues.
- Communicate with them… a lot. Treat it as a relationship with open two-way communication. Talk WITH your audience, not AT them. Plouffe says his team received amazing feedback that allowed them to better understand barriers and how people receive information and helped them make improvements during the campaign.