Did you know that a campaign is a communications model? What does that really mean? It means the campaign’s intent is to engage voters to have a conversation. This ensuing conversation results in voters making the decision to vote for the campaign’s candidate.
Sounds pretty simple, right? Guess what? If we didn’t live in a world where picking up the kids from day care and worrying about what to make for dinner weren’t part of the essentials for most people (because they’re normal & we’re weird), then the only thing that voters would be watching would be C-Span. Breaking through the white noise or rather filters to get directly to voters is a matter of timing and issue relevancy. If you’re talking about an issue that’s important to the voter, they’ll likely pay attention.
It’s important to realize that voters don’t think about politics in the same way that professional hacks do. We (I’m including myself into the weird category) live/breathe/eat politics and consume headline news with a voracious appetite. We know the poll numbers and have the debate schedule memorized. Voters are certainly politically savvy but they need the candidate to frame the all important question, “Why you – why now” into a personal experience. Knowing a voter’s motivation is about market research and directing a message that compels the voter to cast a ballot in favor of the candidate that best support that issue.
Technology has certainly made communicating with a mass audience that much easier, however it’s important to understand that personalized direct communication is still the best method to get a person’s attention. Think about your own relationships. Friends are developed over time. A candidate is asking for your vote. To reach that goal, they need to address issues that are important to an individual voter through direct voter contact with an established trusted source of information. When you hear a testimonial from a friend about a product that they enjoy, you trust their opinion because you value it. The same applies to the candidates voters choose.
Texting, tweets and email are extremely important components to any communications/outreach plan but it needs to be complement a robust voter-to-voter plan that allows for individuals to advocate for the candidate in a personal one to one fashion by talking about the issues in a deeper way.
It might seem ole’ fashioned but picking up the phone or seeing a person face to face really can make the difference.
So in the words of a revised version of Carly Rae Jepsen campaign styles, “here’s my number, call me, most definitely!”
- Madalene Mielke