The principles of campaigning don’t change. The means do. Adding digital to a campaign’s arsenal—or beefing up an outdated system—can make candidates more visible and more responsive to the people they want to represent.
Be More Places at the Same Time with Smart Targeting
Candidates will still need to press the flesh at the grocery store. When it comes to politics, people truly feel the need to “know” a potential representative, and consider them genuine. Digital campaigning can provide a complimentary addition to both getting to know a candidate as well as increasing “touches” with voters.
Now, to reach voters, candidates can be at several grocery stores instead of just one. In fact, candidates don’t even have to be at the grocery store. They can be at the manufacturer. Or the union hall. Or the transportation company. To put it another way, candidates can be almost anywhere voters are: online. And they need to be.
Consider that Americans spend 11 hours per day with digital media. You have a lot more time and more opportunities to reach voters digitally than you do running into the right people at the grocery store.
Think about this: in an increasingly mobile age, candidates won’t have to fly around the state, rushing through the meager 20 minutes they get at each county fair. Now they can be at every county fair, spreading the word about their agriculture policies.
Creating and deploying cost-efficient, effective digital ads is the new retail politics. Candidates can give their specific, relevant message to voters who are engaging in a digital version of the real-world, retail situation of days gone past.
That’s how you press the flesh in 2014.
The Personal Connection
Candidates can run video ads that provide the same eye-contact, sincerity, and emotional appeal of a TV ad for a fraction of the cost. Better yet—they can associate their message with content the voter is already consuming.
Of course, interaction is diminished in any virtual situation. But there’s no reason a creative campaign team can’t come up with engaging ways to educate voters about a candidate or her opponent.
A smart trigger campaign combined with a volunteer rewards system could actually increase the amount of “face-time” a voter gets with a campaign, and by proxy, the candidate. The Internet doesn’t have office hours, and it doesn’t get tired.