Cross-channel marketing. This phrase is on the minds of many as marketing moves away from the massive “pushes” of the past and toward a more customer-centric approach. Experian’s 2014 Digital Marketer Report showed that 80% of marketers worldwide plan to run cross-channel marketing campaigns in 2014 (Tweet this!). But what is cross-channel marketing, and how can it help you more efficiently reach voters, donors, and volunteers?

Novelty No More

Cross-channel marketing isn’t so much a revolutionary strategy as it is a response to the technological revolution already occurring in all of our lives. Mobile advertising alone has completely changed the game, with Americans spending an average 2.5 hours each day on their smartphones and tablets. 1 in 7 people worldwide now use smartphones, and 1 in 4 online searches are conducted on mobile devices.

This changing technological landscape has, in turn, changed audiences’ expectations. Whereas dynamic content was once a pleasant surprise, it is now an expected convenience:

“Today, [a] customer expects to seamlessly navigate across a growing array of channels and be met at every step of the way with messaging and offers tailored to his or her unique relationship with that brand. Simply put, the customer expects convenience.

—Experian 2014

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Sewing Up the Seams

The only way to offer that desired seamless experience is to unify marketing across multiple channels and devices, creating a cross-channel or omni-channel experience. It’s important to note that cross-channel is not the same as multi-channel—in fact, multi-channel is merely a part of the cross-channel campaign:

“Multi-channel is an operational view—how you allow the customer to complete transactions in each channel. Omni-channel, however, is viewing the experience through the eyes of your customer, orchestrating the customer experience across all channels so that it is seamless, integrated, and consistent … Simply put, omni-channel is multi-channel done right!”

—John Bowden (Marketo Blog)

In short, every facet of the campaign should feel consistent and complimentary across every device—as if coming from a single, recognizable voice. That’s a tall order!

The Customer-Centric Campaign

It’s obvious why this approach is important to the retail customer, but is this lofty marketing ideal really beneficial to the average political campaign? Unequivocally, yes. To reach the digital voter, you must THINK like the digital voter. That voter lives in the same hyper-connected, digital world as the retail customer, and thus has the same expectations for messaging. In a 2013 article on ending the political “turf war,” Wayne Johnson voiced the need this way:

“In retail marketing … there must be a continuity of message and experience.  It’s no less true for a campaign.  While we, of course, target different voter segments, there still needs to be an integrated approach to messaging, as well as messengers, because every voter is getting information about our campaign from more than one source.”

—Wayne Johnson

Next Steps

Cross-channel marketing is the common thread that runs throughout 2014’s top political advertising best practices. DMPs, audience targeting, and the like all do well separately, but it’s when they’re brought together under a single strategy that they really shine. Here are some next steps to help you in integrating your own campaign efforts across multiple channels:

1. Unify the data with a data management platform (DMP).

2. Segment your audience for targeting across multiple devices.

3. Map out what messaging should reach voters at each stage of the campaign.

4. Listen and respond on appropriate channels.

5. Measure everything and optimize accordingly.

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The 5 Most Tweetable Moments from CampaignTech East (#CTEast)

Last week, Team Intermarkets had the pleasure of attending CampaignTech East, an event thrown by Campaigns & Elections Magazine for political consultants, grassroots organizers, and digital marketers to share the newest and best digital tips and tricks. While we’re sure the experience differed based on your session schedule, this was our team’s cumulative takeaway—we’d love to hear yours in the comments section!

There are no shortcuts to success.

“Think of something really awesome. Test it in a small market. And then roll it out. And if you don’t want to do step one and two … find something else to do with your day.”
@bretjacobsen
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Bret Jacobsen said this in a panel called “Mobile Apps as Game Changers,” but the principle is universally true. The first step to something great is actually thinking of something great. Don’t just send out an email because an email needs to go out this week—take the time to sit down, think it through, and come up with something that your target audience actually wants to read. Next, TEST IT! Our marketing department really can’t say enough about the value of testing everything. There are some great articles out there about best practices for any marketing or advertising strategy you can think of—but truthfully, nothing beats your own data on your own audience. Test, test, test!

Great customer service never goes out of style.

“What do my clients value? Response time. Availability. Honesty. And loyalty.”
@tracyrusso
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The general session, “The Digital Consultant as Entrepreneur,” was hosted by DCI Group’s Julie Germanny, who interviewed experts in the field (over mimosas, we might add). This fun group dropped plenty of insights, but we think the focus on customer service was the thread that tied it all back together. Yes, you need to be the best at what you do. Yes, you need to be able to provide all the technological bells and whistles. But, at the end of the day, what your client needs most from you is for you to be reliable. Be their go-to person! Value quick response times and open availability. Be honest and loyal with everyone you meet along the way. At Intermarkets, we have a cultural “code” called POETIC that stands for Positive, Optimistic, Enthusiastic, Tenacious, Innovative, and Committed. Our team is great at what they do, but we believe that it’s the way we conduct business that really sets us apart.

The data doesn’t lie.

“Do audience targeting—not content judging!”
@cld276
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What a great point! This nugget came from cir.cl INC’s CEO Carol Davidsen in the session “What Your Smart TV Knows About You.” She pointed out that, often, campaigns are surprised by what TV shows are pulling their target audience. For instance, she pointed out, most campaigns aren’t going to come to a TV executive and ask to advertise during Honey Boo Boo. But the data doesn’t lie. If that’s where your swing voter is—and especially if that’s where your opponents aren’t—then that’s where you should be. Psst, by the way…the same goes for online advertising!

Target your audience AND your message.

“You can have the best targeting in the world but get minimal results if your message doesn’t resonate.”
@Joel_DC
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Good news out of this panel—”Social media targeting has come of age!” Facebook’s own Joel Cohen was joined by other digital campaign strategists, including Jenna Golden from Twitter, to talk trends in tailored audiences on social media. On Twitter, for instance, you can now bid on opponents’ keywords, target audiences (although the match rate is still low), and pin your best tweets to the top of your feed for better branding. The strategists also dropped some pointers on making the most of 140 characters (“Be specific” and “Keep it simple”). But perhaps the best creative advice came out of Joel Cohen, who pointed out that, without a sticky, targeted message, all that great targeting technology might just be for naught. Don’t forget to optimize your message!

Digital tools are just that—tools.

“Don’t put a partisan lens on it. If we’re all using digital, then we all win!”
@spedwybabs
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Indigo Strategies’ Beth Becker really brought the spirit of the conference home with this one. With campaign strategists and digital consultants from both sides of the aisle, CampaignTech East proved to be an invaluable opportunity to swap stories, learn about trending technologies, and remember that in the end, everyone’s goal is the same—a better and more connected America. The truth is, digital campaigning tools are just that—tools—and the magic is really in how you use them to take your cause to victory.

CTEast2

So tell us, fellow CampaignTechers…what was YOUR most “tweetable” moment? 

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We talked last week about the first step to any voter targeting campaign—wrangling the data! Using a data management platform to match online “cookies” to real-life voters (and their voter histories) is paramount to a successful targeting campaign.

This week, we’re talking about how to target your audience once you’ve found it—and what insights there are to gain along the way.

1. Be Specific

People are sometimes creeped out surprised by how detailed targeting can be. The truth is, there are mountains of data being collected, and data mining allows us to target by a lot of different factors! Using the Electoral roll, voter ID database, and the data that websites themselves can collect, you can target by…

  • Party affiliation
  • Propensity to vote
  • Charitable or political contribution history
  • Geographic location
  • Gender
  • Ethnicity
  • Age
  • Education level
  • Income

Basically—you name it, we can probably target it.

2. But not TOO specific.

Targeting is important, but so is scale! A rookie targeting mistake is to get TOO granular with your audience segmentations and end up messaging an audience of ten. Make your online advertising or email marketing campaign count! If your campaign is only targeting 35-year-old bankers who love dogs and hate grilled cheese sandwiches, you’re not going to be getting the scale your campaign needs to succeed. Especially since NO ONE hates grilled cheese sandwiches. Don’t target to an audience of zero!

3. Define your goals.

Before even embarking on a targeting campaign, be honest with yourself about what your movement is looking to gain. Are you looking to raise funds quickly? Build an opt-in email list? Motivate your supporters to go out and vote? Knowing what you want is crucial to defining your key performance indicators (KPIs), which are the best method to measure (and subsequently achieve) a high return on investment (ROI). Like they say, if you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there. The reverse is true too—decide where you want to go, and the road to get there becomes more clear.

4. Start early!

This ClickZ article on the targeting puts it this way: “Plant your targeting garden long before you get hungry.” Like we discussed in this blog post on using DMPs, listening to your audience is an important part of any targeting strategy. We’ve often gotten halfway into a campaign only to realize that part of our target audience is clicking and converting at a much higher rate than the other half. Realizing that early on allows you to quickly optimize your campaign to target your most engaged audience. Optimization helps you save money and reach your goals faster—who doesn’t need that?

5. Invest in voter targeting.

This may seem like the “duh” part of this list—after all, you’re reading this article, aren’t you?—but it’s actually important to keep in mind that just because the cost of online advertising may be slightly higher with targeting, doesn’t mean you’re not getting your money’s worth.

Take, for example, a campaign we at Intermarkets did to target Christian youth in Arizona through online advertising. The goal of the campaign was to identify potential supporters for local candidates whose platforms were based on Christian values.

We ran two placements: one ran untargeted ads on Christian music and lifestyle websites, while the other targeted ads to identified Christians or people interested in Christian music across the web.

While the targeted placement cost per milli (CPM) was 9% more than the direct placements, the targeted ads garnered a 66% better clickthrough rate (CTR), achieving significant returns for the grassroots organization.

Have you found success with voter targeting?

We’d love to hear what your personal experience has been with targeting your online advertising in the comments section below. Or, if you’d like to get started with voter targeting, but aren’t sure which road to take, contact one of our helpful representatives, and we’d be happy to help you out.

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The Honey Badger’s Guide to Winning

ICYMI: This part three of our 2014 Political Series. Don’t miss part one and part two!

There’s a famous quote in advertising: “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is, I don’t know which half.” As an industry, we’re closer than ever before to solving this age-old problem. With mountains of digital data at our disposal, we can finally know “which half” is which—and optimize the campaign to eliminate waste and increase ROI.

The real challenge, now, is how to tame that mountain of data.

What is a DMP anyway?

First, what is a DMP? A Data Management Platform (DMP) is simply a piece of software that collects, organizes, and stores data in a way that allows users to draw useful insights and take meaningful actions. DMPs also work hand-in-hand with Demand Side Platforms (DSPs) to intelligently target ads to voter segments.

Since DMPs have the ability to match offline and online data, they are the perfect solution to the political campaign’s biggest challenge: integrating data across channels for cohesive messaging.

Matchmaking Made Simple

There are three main types of offline-online “matches” used in campaigns:

1. True 1:1 Match

This is the best way to ensure that you’ve found the exact online persona that you’re looking for. This match is made when all the data points match up with the online profile. Because of the high level of specificity, a 1:1 match search will generally be about 30-40% successful.

2. “Soft” Match

Because information found offline and online can sometimes differ even for the same person, a number of match campaigns will instead rely on “soft” matches. Basically, rather than five of five data points matching up exactly, a “soft” match will line up along three or four of the desired data points. The idea is the the online persona is highly likely to be the real life person desired, but not 100% guaranteed.

3. Postal Address Match

This least specific form of matching uses IP addresses to make inferences on a person based on what one knows about their neighbors. While not always helpful to guess things like party affiliation, this matching strategy can prove quite accurate when looking at attributes like household income or net worth.

However, one of the best ways to increase offline-online matches is to match based on email addresses. As Dave Hendricks pointed out in a recent ClickZ article, email addresses are unique, persistent, and represent real people online. The more email addresses in your database, the better set up you are to target those people wherever they go online.

Knowledge Is Power

Our CBDO Mike Snow put it best recently at the MediaPost Marketing Politics panel, “Learning the New ABCs of Data” :

The first step to any sort of online targeting is knowing who your best audience is and what message they respond best to. With a DMP, you can…

  • Measure your organic traffic for a barometer of who your target voters really are
  • Zero in on your target voters’ passions—which issues really fire them up?
  • Define audiences for finely tuned, targeted messages

With this kind of online listening, you gain an understanding of your audience that you just can’t glean from a TV commercial. Banner and email advertising are often thought of as great strategies for fundraising (and they are!), but this kind of intent listening can do more than drive dollars. It can drive decisions.

The Legend of the “Honey Badger”

Going into the special election for Florida’s 13th district House seat last week, Republican David Jolly’s chances were looking grim. John Rogers, the deputy political director at the National Republican Congressional Committee, told Advertising Age, “Projections a few weeks out showed that we were losing absentees by an amount we didn’t like and that we needed to make a change.”

Using voter file information and a lean “Honey Badger” database, the NRCC’s data team developed analytical models to determine which voters were most likely to cast absentee ballots. Based on these insights, the NRCC’s independent expenditure campaign group launched VoteEarlyFlorida.com to make the absentee voting process as easy as possibly.

Representative Jolly won the election with 48.4% of the vote, compared to his Democrat competitor Alex Sink’s 46.55%. What’s even more impressive is the proof that the team’s absentee ballot strategy worked: registered Republicans submitted 54,184 absentee ballots compared to registered Democrats’ 48,177.

Where Do I Start?

While large-scale operations like presidential campaigns benefit greatly from contracting and using their own personal DMP, a great way for most campaigns to get started is by working with a third-party company that understands how to optimize DMP use. The benefits of doing it this way are multi-fold. There is no learning curve because a third-party company, like Intermarkets, already has the expertise necessary to seamlessly integrate a campaign’s own data with trusted third-party sources and use it to make actionable insights.

If you’re interested in learning more about how a DMP can help your specific campaign, we’d love to chat—reach out to us here. One of the most important things to remember about using a DMP is to start early. The key to eliminating waste and boosting ROI lies in learning as much about your target audience as early as possible.

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