The votes are counted. The campaigns are over. We have a winner. And while Barack Obama may have walked away with the ultimate ROI, we can take away important marketing lessons from both candidates’ campaigns. Here are the top tips from the campaign trail:
Open, honest transparency is always a winning strategy.
From tax returns to birth certificates to binders full of women, both candidates have shown us that it’s better to face scrutiny head on than to hide behind a story. When choosing a candidate, just like when choosing a brand, the public craves truth in order to form authentic relationships. Stay truthful and welcome open dialogue to form a legitimate bond between your brand and your target audiences.
Video reins supreme.
The 2012 presidential campaigns were defined by big spending and small, highly targeted audiences, and while this year’s campaigns reflected a larger media mix than any previous, it’s clear that television is still on top. The Washington Post reported that the candidates, parties and groups spent more than $1.08 billion total on commercials since April. Between June 1 and October 29 alone, they aired more than 1 million ads – almost 40 percent more than the ads run in the same time period in 2008.
Television and, more broadly, video, gave the candidates a way to connect with their audiences on both emotional and rational levels. It gave each candidate’s brand a clear voice and helped tell stories that would be less meaningful in other mediums. It demonstrates that, when done correctly, powerful storytelling through video really is worth a thousand words.
Search engine optimization matters.
For all those who still believe having a website presence is enough, look no further than the candidates’ online campaigns. Experts are saying President Obama won the online war and had a more effective online campaign because of his strategic SEO tactics. (See all the Obama vs. Romney online stats here.)
The Internet is a crowded, cluttered place, where a mountain of information can stand between your website and your target audience. Good SEO can clear tunnels through that mountain and lead people directly to your site, rather than leaving them to navigate around it themselves. It’s a critical component to any online campaign.
Conversations must be authentic.
Unlike in the 2008 election when social media was seen more as a fad, it is now an integral part of the fabric of the campaigns. Both candidates used social media to connect potential voters to their daily lives while pushing out key campaign messaging and soliciting donations. (Mitt Romney’s digital team was made up of more than 110 people!) They actively contributed to dialogue with the public, and also responded to false or negative claims against them.
The candidates each have a presence on Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram … and their wives have Pinterest accounts. They even shared their playlists on Spotify. As the New York Times points out, it’s all about being relatable and accessible, which is something the best of brands could learn from.
Now that the campaigns are over, what do you think about the marketing tactics employed by each candidate? What do you admire? What would you do differently?
(Image via. Author: Emily Cretella)