The difference between a winning political candidate and a losing political candidate… is usually the strategy of the marketing that mobilizes an organized Get-Out-The-Vote (GOTV) campaign.
The election of 2024 isn’t about policy, impressions, clicks, publicity, personality, billboards, or signs… it’s about mobilization of the voter to get one more vote than your opponent.
Today’s political marketing is in some ways more advanced than traditional D2C and B2B marketing.
Winning candidates don’t need more money – they need to use money wisely.
In the 2016 presidential election, Hillary had $1.4 billion. Trump had $957.6 million. Trump should have lost.
But President Trump won in 2016 largely because he marketed smart, with a targeted audience, database, and advanced marketing/advertising – an integrated multichannel campaign all tied to a Get-Out-The-Vote (GOTV) in key states.
Much has changed since 2016 – including the development of more sophisticated marketing strategies.
But multiple election races prove more money is not an indicator of success or failure. It’s how you allocate the money.
Let me give you an example of an underfunded candidate able to outperform the “experts” predictions.
I helped a congressional candidate run a powerful marketing campaign with breakthrough success with less than $125,000.
He was running against two well-known candidates, each spending over $1.5 million, and against the Republican establishment… and he had no name recognition.
Who wins an election today?
- It’s not about money
- It’s not about the quality or looks of the candidate
- It’s not even about party registration
What wins is who better uses a formula that produces more votes for less cost.
We used a winning formula that is transforming politics and winning elections for a conservative candidate… the same formula used by the progressive/socialists to win races.
The new formula: Money + Data Collection + Messaging + Targeted Audience Marketing + GOTV = Victory.
The Formula: Data Collection + GOTV = Victory. Secondary Formula: Money + Message + Advanced Marketing
The foundation of guerilla political marketing is that they have the best customized database and mobilize it.
Here are 7 key strategies used to achieve the impossible:
#1. A powerful database,
The targeted database of identifying issue-oriented supporters became the key to success.
By selecting a hot topic – crime, homelessness, tax increase, child indoctrination – issues that are relevant to voters, driving passionate people to sign a petition on a hot topic and then collecting their names and information to raise up volunteers, donors, and most importantly, voters. When we did this, we also found 30-40% of the petition signers are not registered to vote. The campaign immediately registered them.
#2. Targeted Landing Page Petition.
There are four key “hot issues” we identified each with its own petition. The start of a data driven campaign was the landing page.
The perspective voters for the candidate were brought to a landing page to sign a powerful petition.
The petition, for example, focused on the “Ban the Bible” bill in California… By signing the petition, our candidate could follow-up gaining support from the candidate’s target voter base of pro-freedom, pro-religious liberty voters.
The petition served as the core of database building on the #1 topic of interest to the voter… a topic they are motivated about.
#3. Strategic Digital and Social Advertising.
Potential voters for the campaign were driven to this petition page through a digital and social advertising campaign that featured a powerful video with recognizable names for the target market.
For example, for the Christian market we asked well-known Evangelical leaders for a video with a script we provided Pastor Greg Laurie of Harvest Crusade, Pastor Matthew Barnett of the Dream Center and others.
Brad Dacus, President of Pacific Justice Institute spoke from his own personal viewpoint of the candidate.
These videos were used on the landing page of the petition, in digital ads, in geofencing, and email.
#4. Response-increasing email conversion series.
I also sent a series of targeted emails to the petition signers with the videos of his well-known supporters and the candidate himself.
The emails were from the candidate, and explained his commitment to protect freedom, the family and other values of concern to the targeted voters.
Emails continued up until voting day, to remind voters to mail in or cast their ballots.
Here’s one of the emails:
Today is your last opportunity to help me fight for religious freedom in Washington D.C.
Dear << Test First Name >>
Today is your last opportunity to help me fight for religious freedom, First Amendment rights, and pro-American, pro-taxpayer principles.
Today is your last chance to vote for what really matters.
It’s scary, but true: More and more Christians in America are being sued and taken to court for simply practicing their faith in Jesus.
This is a critical time in history- and could be a turning point.
Your vote matters- now, and in eternity.
Will you join me in defending your Biblical values?
Thank you in advance.
#5. High impact geofencing.
Geofencing is a powerful marketing strategy we use for commercial clients. It targets prospects and gathers their mobile ID’s based on their physical location. You can target your prospect in time – for example, someone who went to Whole Foods in the last 6 months.
For this campaign, we “fenced” 74 different Evangelical churches in the candidate’s district and gathered 94,000 mobile ID’s – building a large database in a short amount of time. In the end, we collected the contact information of 10,000 highly motivated voters who were also considered “low propensity” voters for the clients’ database.
We also generated potential voters:
- Over 100,000 landing page visitors
- 942,000 ad impressions
- And 288,000 video views.
#6. Vote-getting text messaging campaigns
Text messaging used right can be powerful. Recipients see the messages immediately on their hone and are more likely to respond.
Petition signers signed up to receive texts directly from the candidate, The key was sending the texts two days before voting day, the day before voting day, and on voting day.
Each text was targeted by topic.
Here’s an example of a text message we sent:
Today, vote to defend religious freedom and to stop dangerous bills like AB 2943. Vote for me for Congress.
Using this strategy, voters were given a final reminder to vote for a candidate that would protect their freedom and their rights.
Text messaging requires building a database, and results in donors and volunteers.
All the data and relationship building were then tied to Get-Out-The-Vote (GOTV) to bring the people to the polls or send in their vote-by-mail ballot.
The keys to success are volunteers and paid personnel to go only to those on the database – and their hot button.
With door-to-door and phone calls from the candidate’s campaign team- we saw great success. The candidate went from no-name recognition to 2nd place with the “pros” predicting we would finish last in the 17-person race.
He was a totally unknown and voter underfunded candidate for Congress… that upset the political establishment.
Of course, these same strategies apply to an effective marketing campaign – prospects receive a powerful message that speaks to their values and desires, and are given a opportunity to respond…. again and again.
Check out this article: Political Marketing War 2020: Radio Boom
If you’d like to talk about running a powerful marketing (or political) campaign, let’s talk.
Email Craig at firstname.lastname@example.org