Personalized Interaction Management Comes to Politics


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Remember when we were all enamored by the mere use of social media by President Obama’s campaign team?  Though cutting edge at its time, it appears amateur when we take a look at the media juggernaut that is Meg2010. 

Meg Whitman, the Republican challenger to Jerry Brown is projected to spend more on her campaign than any other non-presidential campaign in history.  Recent estimates have Whitman spending over $165 million, including $125 million of her own money.  No doubt, she had a notable business career at eBay, but she was relatively unknown on the political scene—certainly when compared to Jerry Brown’s lifetime career in California politics.  That said, what’s caught my attention is the expert commentary unrelated to what she is spending, but focused on what she is saying, to whom she’s saying it and how she is getting her message out.

Ms. Whitman’s campaign is utilizing the tactics and techniques that business marketers have used for decades – customer segmentation.  More specifically and more compelling is that her strategy includes the use of technology to layer “personalization” on top of “channel optimization”.  Recently, Time Magazine covered her strategy citing a clear link between her marketing tactics and her quick jump in popularity.  Time called out the use of “micro targeting software that helps tailor mailings and phone calls to voters on the basis of not just traditional factors like party registration but also polling and purchasable consumer data like magazine subscriptions and car ownership.”  The article went on to mention, “If you’re a voter in California, it’s possible you have received 16 or 17 mailings but this time, all of them highly specific to you, with your name on them, talking about issues they know you care about – not just a generic ‘Vote for Meg Whitman’.”
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Taking a look at her site, you see very clear segmentation with focused campaigns designed to capture the vote of young California students and professionals through her ‘Gen-M for Meg 2010’ message.  She also targets Latinos, women, agriculture, educators and more – all through her targeted “insert interest group name here” for Meg 2010 campaigns.  Browsing her site, I counted no less than 25 specific strategies – all with unique and personalized messages.  On top of web and mobile channel segmentation, her direct mailing campaigns are tailored to the specific demographics and psychographics of each household – unprecedented in political advertising.  She understands that one message doesn’t fit all and she’s relying on technology to make sure everyone hears and experiences what she thinks is the right message via the right format.

Her strategy doesn’t stop at segmentation and personalization.  She exploits channel preference with what seems like every aspect of social media – Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, YouTube, Ning, Flickr and yes, you guessed it – there’s an App for that too.  She uses text messaging to run contests and along the way keep her supporters and followers up to speed on all aspects of her campaigning.

We won’t know until late this evening if Whitman will get the return on investment she’s looking for.  As of this writing Jerry Brown is ahead in the polls by a margin of 5 percent.  But the real point is this: six months ago Brown was clearly leading the way and Ms. Whitman was relatively unknown.  Love it or hate it, what we can’t argue is that this strategy has set a new standard for politicians and business alike.
It seems to me that if more of the consumer business community took note of Whitman’s execution, on all levels of segmentation, personalization and optimization, that we might have happier customers and, who knows—more profit.

Republished with author's permission from original post.


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