How Obama Changed the Face of Campaign Marketing

January 21, 2009 at 2:48 pm | Posted in Campaigns | 3 Comments
Tags: , , , , ,

In honor of yesterday’s presidential inauguration, I wanted to take some time to look at the 2008 Presidential campaign. Let’s put aside the issues and political parties, let’s leave Sarah Palin’s perfectly-styled hair alone… let’s talk about the marketing efforts of the Obama camp.

Pioneer of Emerging Media

Rhinestone Obama: Pioneer of Emerging Media

Obama has changed the way presidential campaigns are run. He has connected with the American public in a way not seen (or heard of) since FDR started his fireside chats. But how did he do it?

New Tools to Reach a New Generation

Obama used the iPhone to reach his audience by creating an application which announced news about the campaign and local events. Users could also text their friends through the app to spread Obama's message.

Obama used the iPhone to reach his audience by creating an application which announced news about the campaign and local events. Users could also text their friends through the app to spread Obama's message.

Never before has a presidential candidate texted voters; I’m pretty sure John Kerry didn’t have a Facebook page; and I’m positive that Al Gore was not updating his status on Twitter. But Barack Obama used these tools to his advantage. He understood that the youth vote was becoming ever-important, and the best way to reach this demographic was through emerging media tools. Besides his normal campaigning activities (speeches, television commercials, debates, etc.), Obama integrated the following marketing tools into his campaign:

Obama’s team understands the importance of information, and they understand how quickly this generation expects to receive information. In the age of technology, voters do not want to wait for the daily paper to arrive the following morning to know who was chosen as the candidates’ running mates. Voters don’t even want to wait for the 10 o’clock news. They want the information quickly, and they want it where they can easily access it- online, and on their phones. Obama used this to his advantage when he announced the addition of Joe Biden to the ticket by text message.

Change We Need

As many of you will recall, the 2004 election was gory. Tons of negative ads, limitless finger pointing, false reports

Americans left the door open for Obama's new marketing efforts.

Americans left the door open for Obama's new marketing efforts.

how depressing. With everything else that was going on in 2008, I don’t think Americans wanted a repeat performance. While John McCain continued to use television ads as his main marketing avenue, Obama saw the need (and desire) for change. The overwhelming desire of the American people for something new coupled with all of this new technology opened the door for whoever wanted to step through. Obama took that step, putting him leaps and bounds ahead of McCain as far as marketing is concerned.

It is clear that Obama has completely changed the way presidential campaigns will be handled in the future. Not only will candidates pay closer attention to the youth vote; they will pay close attention to the emerging tools through which they can comminicate to their audience.

Advertisements

Bluetooth: it’s no longer just a fashion accessory!

January 19, 2009 at 12:32 pm | Posted in Mobile Marketing | 5 Comments
Tags: , , ,
Trendy? Maybe. Abnoxious? Sort of. Marketing Tool? Oh yes.

Trendy? Maybe. Obnoxious? Sort of. Marketing Tool? Oh yes.

You’ve seen it: the “all-important business guy” who can’t take the chance of missing an important call, so they leave their Bluetooth in their ear while walking to the store, grabbing a bite to eat, working out…is that thing permanently attached to his ear? Back in my waitressing days, I actually had a conversation with a woman who wasn’t talking to me. She was chatting away on her Bluetooth, and I was answering her questions, thinking she was asking me about the menu. You can imagine how embarrassed I was when she turned her head and pointed to her Bluetooth with an annoyed look on her face, as to say “God, can’t you see how important I am? Don’t bother me with your ridiculous banter about my lunch.”

Anyway, it turns out that these little things may be the newest tool in a marketer’s arsenal.

Earlier this week, Macerich Group in Los Angeles announced that it was partnering with the marketing group Intera in order to set up bluetooth proximity advertising in five LA malls.

What does this mean? Well, for one, your trip to JC Penny for a new tablecloth may wind up in a trip to Victoria’s Secret, Macy’s, Neiman Marcus…and possibly a quick stop at Orange Julius. Ok, ok- let’s back up a second- why are we stopping at all of these stores?

Bluetooth proximity marketing is the localized wireless distribution of advertising content associated with a particular place. Transmissions can be received by individuals in that location who wish to receive them and have the necessary equipment to do so. (Thanks, Wikipedia!) In layman’s terms: an advertiser uses strategically placed Bluetooth message transmitters to seek out all Bluetooth users in the area in order to send them a message. This “message” can be anything from a coupon, an invitation to an unadvertised sale, or even movie trailers.

A Bluetooth Messaging Center searches for local Bluetooth users, then sends out a "message" to them.

A Bluetooth Messaging Center searches for local Bluetooth users, then sends out a "message" to them.

So, as you finish checking out at JC Penny, you receive a text message alerting you of a sale at Victoria’s Secret (hey, $20 off my purchase? Not bad!), a free giveaway at Neiman (I’ve always wanted to try that perfume!), and a BOGO promotion at Orange Julius (who cares if it’s just me- I can drink 2 of those bad boys!). At the end of the day, you’ve spent $75 more than you had planned, and you’ve got a terrible belly ache (Orange Julius was a bad choice).

As a marketer, you’ve struck gold! That’s $75 extra in your company’s pocket at the end of the day.

Is this a good thing?

Personally, I think that Bluetooth marketing has the ability to provide extremely effective marketing messages. If people are already at a specific location (say, right outside of your store), and you entice them with the offer of 10% off their order if they shop right now- you may have a pretty high response rate. Since the customer is already there, it takes a lot less effort on your part to get them to stop in.

But what happens when the clutter becomes too much?

What if Bluetooth marketing takes off and becomes the latest and greatest advertising medium? More and more messages will be sent out, causing clutter and ultimately frustration on the consumer’s end. A trip to the mall could result in 50 text messages from retailers you don’t even buy from. So what’s the answer?

Opt-In Bluetooth Marketing

What if you sign up with your favorite retailers to receive alerts about sales and promotions? That way, when you hit the mall you’re only receiving texts from stores you actually shop at. You don’t have to worry about Motherhood Materntity sending your teenage daughter a message about the great discounts they’re offering right now (it’s bad enough Bristol and Jamie Lynn are putting these thoughts in her head!).

Currently, companies using Bluetooth marketing send out a preliminary text asking if the user wants to receive a message from the company. (Wait, are they asking permission for the text they just sent? No? For future ones? Ok, I’m confused.) I understand that this allows marketers to reach consumers who may not be aware of the brand, and therefore cannot sign up to receive messages. But it would still be annoying to me.

Currently, Bluetooth users are asked if they would like to receive promotional messages from an advertiser. But is this considered intrusive, too?

Currently, Bluetooth users are asked if they would like to receive promotional messages from an advertiser. But is this considered intrusive, too?

When I sign up for email alerts from my favorite stores, I most likely read through what they have to offer. But when I get an email advertisement from a store I have never purchased from, it gets sent to the SPAM box. I have a feeling most other people respond the same way, and the same would hold true for Bluetooth marketing. Sending unsolicited messages via Bluetooth could anger the customer and may even damage brand image.

Conclusion: Marketers need to tread lightly as they start using this new technology.

I would love to hear what others think about this new technology- will this be the wave of the future, or are marketers entering a zone that is deemed too personal? Mobile marketing is just starting to take off, but many worry that consumers will not be receptive to advertising on their cell phones. How would you react to receiving messages from local stores in the mall?

Blog at WordPress.com.
Entries and comments feeds.