How to Brand your Campaign on Day 1 - NEW

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Macias PR

If you’re running for office in a larger media market, it will be much more difficult to get your name in the news. The competition for news stories is competitive and if you don’t have a strong editorial angle, the producers and reporters will tune you out.

Likewise, advertising in these larger markets will cost your campaign more money – both on TV and in print. So how do you brand your campaign on day 1 if you don’t have the funds of an incumbent?

Here are three strategies you can take on day one that will help voters understand what you stand for – and who you are at the root.

Press Release Strategy

Press releases are not a media strategy. One of the misnomers with press releases is that they will generate news coverage. News rooms are bombarded with press releases, so unless you have an event that is truly news worthy, don’t bet your campaign’s reputation on a press release.

However, press releases can be very strategic when you consistently punch them out and post them on your campaign website. Over time, it will help your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and it will give voters a bigger picture of what you stand for. Voters who go to your website and read up on the issues are also most likely to vote, so your branding will be targeted.

One more thing, you should continually share these press releases with local news. Even if the news outlet doesn’t cover a story on your press release, a continual cycle of press releases will begin to put you on the media’s radar.

Social Media Strategy

Research shows Millennials get their news from social media. This generation is not turning on the local TV newscast, or even picking up a newspaper. Yes, historically younger people are less likely to vote, but Millennials are approaching the age when they do vote. This isn’t a group you should overlook.

Make sure you devote resources to social media, and update these channels daily with new content, viewpoints, quotes, photos, videos or even “live” feeds. If you reliably create content on your different channels, it will pay off. Potential voters will learn about your platform via their news feed; your campaign website will rank higher with the search engines, like Google and Yahoo; you can communicate directly with your potential followers.

And just in case you don’t know it, Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Instagram are the major social media channels that should be a part of your branding strategy.

Editorial Strategy

 

Now that you are reaching younger voters via your social media page, it’s time to reach older voters. The opinion pages in local newspapers can be an effective branding tool to reach senior voters.

The opinion pages are frequently overlooked as a branding strategy for politicians. That’s a calculated mistake, even if it’s an accidental move, because editorial editors look specifically for policy opinions. If you have a strong opinion about a policy you will change or create, make sure you target these editors.

And once your story is published, make sure your campaign is leveraging the editorial on social media. When all three of these strategies are tied together, you will best positioned to tell potential voters why you are the best candidate for the job.

 

About the Author

Mark Macias is a former Executive Producer with NBC, Senior Producer with CBS in New York, and author of the book, Beat the Press: Your Guide to Managing the Media. He’s also a current contributor with CNBC and the Daily Caller. Macias runs his own PR agency – Macias PR - that focuses on messaging, branding and media in the political realm.

Targeting Voters Wins

Targeting Voters Wins
Easy Ways to Build Your Base and Turnout Your Voters

by Joseph Mercurio

Targeting voters is a way to use resources most efficiently, it will help you bring your voters to the polls, better deal with communicating to voters with a message that will persuade them and leave turning out the opponents base vote to them. Done properly, targeting can make the difference in heavily contested races.

You start out having to know who is going to vote in your election and which of those voters make up your base vote and your opponent’s base. The first thing you notice when you look at elections is that presidential years have higher turnout, local races lower turnout, open seats (no incumbent holding the office) have higher turnout, up ballot races usually have higher turnout than down ballot races and genuinely contested races have higher turnout than normal. It is also true that often race, ethnicity, religion and geography effect turnout.

If you look back at past elections, there will be elections like yours, where there will be a minimum that a candidate will get—this is the base vote. Both sides will have a base vote in each ED (election district, the smallest political district). Once you know the base, you can find out what they look like demographically to help find like voters. This can work as easily for black urban voters as it would for rural dairy farmers. Outside of EDs, groups like environmentalists, labor union members and other groups can also be targeted to add to the base vote.

After you figure out who the base is and build on it, you have to get your voters to show up. Voters have three ways to vote: for one candidate or the other or not showing up. Historically, when most races in a given election were not really contested, low turnout in a contested race could be a reflection that one party’s candidate is not good enough to come out for and the opponent is not bad enough to vote against. So in your contested race, you have to get every favorable vote to show up.

First, who makes up the actual pool of potential voters in your race? In a district that has had few genuinely contested local year races, turnout can double in a hot race, so simply using voters who have a history of voting in local races might have you communicating to far few voters than your opponent. Age, length of residence, type of election and frequency of voting in elections all predict future voting. The best way to develop a list of potential voters is to use a computer to score each voter individually grading them, using their own history, as 75%, 50% and 25% likely to vote. Then based on budget and targeting, you can communicate to each group differently.

Secondly, you can annotate the voter file with personal information you have. There are donors, supporters and volunteers on either side who can be marked as favorable or hostile. (Some things like signing a nominating petition often does not indicate support; voters tend to favor ballot access. Also, a voter sending in a postcard on an issue often only means you can use the information as a way to persuade them; it is not an automatic favorable.) After you have added all this information, you can ID (identify voters in systematic calls) the remaining voters professionally.

All voters can be called in a hard (where the voter does not know who made the call) ID call with questions like who are you voting for, strength of vote, issues that will decide their vote, and the voter file is automatically updated accordingly. Voters will be broken down into favorable, lightly favorable, undecided, lightly hostile and hostile. You can drop hostiles from your program, while you add hits (contacts in the mail or persuadable phone calls) to the undecided, lightly favorable and even lightly hostile voters using the specific issue information. Later in the campaign, undecideds and select light voters might be reIDed.

In the last days of the campaign, all the favorables should receive a GOTV (get out the vote) call and a mailing that reminds them to vote, gives them the final endorsements, and even tells them where their poling place is located with a sample ballot. You have now streamlined your campaign efforts to the largest practical potential audience and concentrated your resources on building on your base vote and getting only your voters to the polls.

Next time talk about consultants. More later.

Joseph Mercurio National Political Services, Inc. 2 South End Avenue 9J New York NY 10280-1089 212 945-4330 www.nationalpolitical.com

Know the Voter

To Win: Know Who the Voters and Important People Are

By Joseph Mercurio

Whether you are running for Assembly or Governor, you have to make lists of people who are important to winning. At first, the lists are the people that are the easiest to call to raise the contributions. Next, you have to make a list of all the important people in the area who can have an affect on winning.

You want them to get the message that you are running, that you have a solid rationale, that you will have the money and that you know how to win. This VIP list includes elected public and party officials, prominent religious leaders, important civic and business leaders and the political reporters and editorial staffs of the local papers. Everyone needs to be called and, depending on the response, their people should be kept abreast of major events in the campaign.

To manage this, you need a computer and a database. There are software packages that are designed for candidates; or just get used to working with Access, Act or another major program. Now you have a database for fundraising and a second one for important political contacts. Often, late in the campaign, the direct mail consultant will get a copy of at least part of the voter file with mail information like carrier routes, your phone people will get a different copy of the voter file setup for phone calling and your pollster will get samples drawn from the same file. Since your field operation should be sophisticated enough to use the voter file, the solution is to get as much of the voter file as you will need for the primary or the general election.

Getting the voter file early lets you set up all your data in one place with much of the typing eliminated, because basic information comes with the file. And from the beginning, the campaign can rank voters on their likelihood of voting and keep track of favorable voters, donors and VIPs through the year. Starting with “Prime voters” is not enough; tweaking turnout in certain groups can be as important as persuasion. You can get the voter file from local county (in New York City, the City Board of Elections) and in some states, the Secretary of State.

Unless you are an IT expert, you would then have to send the voter file out to a service bureau to add phone numbers, get ethnic information, and post office mail information beyond zip code, including National Change of Address (NCOA) data, and any consumer or census data that you want for targeting. Usually, it is better to go to a vendor, like Prime NY, and get the voter file with basic additional information like phone numbers, mail information and ethnic data. In most localities, the board file comes with at least name and address, age, registration date, party, sex, and in many instances, what election the person voted in. What you need and how to start is something you need to work out with your general consultant or in a small campaign the campaign manager or senior consultant.

Once you have the voter file in hand, you can add things like unlisted phone numbers, work numbers, fax and e-mail. And you can code if the voter is a donor, to who and how much, have they given to you, what issues are important to them, are they favorable, did they sign up to leaflet, put out a yard sign—the full gamut. In a large campaign, to facilitate the various people who need to get access to the file for updating and use, the file can be housed on the server where the campaign website is located, in a password protected non-public section.

Now the campaign can, in an efficient way, track prospect donors, send thank you letters, track favorables, send issue mail, set up ID (identification) campaign of favorables, hostiles and undecided voters, send out canvassers with walk lists, organize the GOTV (get out the vote) operation, get out targeted mail, help people with absentee ballots, and the logistics of election day, including assisting with getting voters to the polls. Not to leave out volunteers, invitations, meet ups, telephone trees, supporters sending personal letter campaigns, building lists, rally and street organizing, the ballot access (petitioning) campaign and challenges, and finally a recount if the race is close.

Now that you’re raising money and the important people know you’re running, you need professional help (yes possible that kind as well)—political consultants.

Want next steps? More later.

Joseph Mercurio National Political Services, Inc. 2 South End Avenue 9J New York NY 10280-1089 212 945-4330 www.nationalpolitical.com 

Also this note which you should pass along.

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At New York University's Graduate Program in Political Campaign Management (PCM), the next generation of political professionals can learn the art of politics from leading academics and top political consultants in the field. New York University has designed the PCM program as an intensive One-Year program that will train you to become an expert in political campaign management, and get you out in the field working sooner.

Students in the PCM program are taught by both academics in NYU’s Department of Politics, and senior political consultants from established firms in the country. The program includes rigorous instruction in the latest theories of voter behavior, candidate strategy, political theory, and the analysis of complex polling data. Thus, the PCM program combines the rigors of an academic program with practical training in the "nuts and bolts" of being a political consultant. In addition, the program includes internships in political shops in the specialties most interesting to the students.

To learn more about the program, its requirements, and the application process please visit our website at http://www.nyu.edu/gsas/dept/politics/pcm/home.shtml  or contact Executive Director, Joseph Mercurio, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Running for Office in a College Town

Running for Office in a College Town
Balancing interests and reaching an elusive population

by Zach Friend

You moved to the town because of the wealth of coffee shops, bookstores and music clubs. You have even been known to stop by the pizza house downtown for a slice after a late night movie. However, for all of the benefits of living in a college town it is not always the easiest place to launch a campaign.

Local community activists are often at odds with student interests and some communities have an outright divisive relationship with the student population. Yet there are great payoffs for candidates that are able to strike a balance between the two constituencies. David Wasserman, president of the University of Virginia College Democrats claims, “although it takes a lot of work to set up the infrastructure, the rewards are great and will pay off in the end.” Understanding the unique attributes of a college town can be a noticeable advantage to a candidate. As former Charlottesville Vice Mayor Meredith Richards notes, “students often care about the same issues as the general electorate, such as transportation and affordable housing, and they also are paying taxes to keep the city functioning.” Capitalizing on these issues and reaching young voters that other candidates ignore might tip the balance in a close election.

PROFILE – STUDENTS ON AND OFF CAMPUS

It is essential for college town candidates to understand the demographic make-up of the university and more importantly, the university vote. Students generally differ from the community electorate in two key ways: differing ideological voting patterns and typically lower turnout.

Many students opt to live off campus after their first year and consequently become more involved within the community. For example, in San Luis Obispo, home to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, the university houses only 17 percent of students on campus. While it can be difficult for a candidate to locate off campus students, there are some key advantages to targeting these students.

First, students that live off campus are generally interested in the same issues that face the community at-large and therefore can be targeted with the same message and materials used to reach the overall community. Candidates can focus on issues that they are most comfortable with and engage this voting bloc in similar ways to the overall electorate. Second, many of these students are first time registrants or have little voting history and consequently have not been targeted by other campaigns.

Most campaigns do not target first time registrants because of a lack of money or knowledge about this group of voters. Instead, campaigns focus on benchmarks for targeting, such as residents that voted in three of the last four elections. However, as Santa Cruz Councilmember Ryan Coonerty points out, “people that do have the money to target first time registrants will have a large advantage in reaching students.” In fact, your campaign might be the only campaign targeting these voters, which will improve your chances of obtaining their support.

UNIVERSITY RESOURCES

College towns offer a wealth of resources that are unavailable to candidates running in traditional communities. The following five simple suggestions delineate strategies that candidates running in a college town can use to their advantage:

- Utilize university media Seek the endorsement of school papers and request interviews on the college radio station. Local races are often relegated to weekly publications and buried in the back of the daily newspapers, especially during a presidential year. Given this climate it can be difficult for candidates to reach young voters – even high-propensity young voters. Santa Cruz City Councilmember Tim Fitzmaurice claims, “the use of student newspapers in college towns is crucial.” Councilmember Fitzmaurice suggests getting to know the names of the editors at the student newspapers and “taking out an ad on the back page of the publications is the first thing you should do when you run in a college area.”

- Speak to college clubs College Democratic and Republican clubs are hotbeds for political activity. These students are more likely to vote than their collegiate counterparts and are also ready and willing to volunteer on a campaign. Some clubs will actively endorse local candidates and are useful for targeting high-propensity young voters. Vice Mayor Richards claims, “the energy and vitality that they bring to a campaign can be very refreshing – when they work for your campaign they really create a spark that can revitalize campaign staff and campaign volunteers that might be a little bit tired.” Sachiv Mehta, Chairman of the College Republicans at the University of Texas, Austin, believes college clubs are an excellent way to reach a hard working young voting bloc. “Candidates should come to speak at our meetings and in exchange we will help set up an event on campus for them and will do most of the legwork. That is why we are here.” Speaking to these clubs can save the candidate a lot of time in the long run as well. Karen Emmerson, president of the University of Iowa College Democrats notes, “you do not want to print up thousands of flyers or handbills only to find out that you can’t hand them out or post them without approval in certain areas of campus. Student leaders of political groups should know these regulations in and out, so they can help you do as much as possible within the confines of school regulations.”

- Guest lecture Contact the Political Science or Government department at the university and ask the professors if you can guest lecture. Many professors would love to have a local candidate make political science real for their students. You can reach politically active students and offer volunteer and internship opportunities to civically minded students. These students might not have the time to volunteer on an entire campaign, but can be great assets for an Election Day GOTV including distributing door hangers and providing visibility. Heidi Kendall, City Councilmember from Missoula, Montana states that she “had a wonderful team of students who handled my GOTV operation. They made phone calls, marked lists and poll-watched for me on Election Day.” This is also an excellent opportunity to obtain feedback from students on the issues that they are interested in and discover what they believe should be done to address these issues.

- Set up a registration table on campus Partnering with college political clubs, you can work to register students to vote. Many elected officials interviewed suggested setting up a presence at school orientation fairs or other large student events. Keeping in mind state and federal election laws that may require non-partisan registration, you can also provide your literature and volunteer cards at these tabling events. This is especially relevant in areas that have same-day registration. Having an active on campus registration drive during the days leading up to the election might prove decisive in a close election.

- Take courses Many universities offer speech courses or classes on campaigns. Others offer courses in media targeting, message development, campaign management and polling. While you are developing your campaign abilities you will simultaneously meet students and professors interested in local campaigns and the electoral process. There may be no better way to hone your campaign skills than with your local university.

TOWN VERSUS GOWN

One unique aspect of running in a college town is the symbiotic relationship between the university and the surrounding community. Not all community members support student involvement, and some cities have gone as far as creating special university districts to lump the campus vote. Candidates often must walk a fine line between the potentially disparate interests of the two constituencies. Complicating matters are the transitory aspects of many students and the permanence of non-student residents. Traditional voting lists will often provide disproportionately inaccurate information about student locations as most students move year-to-year. Consequently, it is often difficult to locate students that are high-propensity voters because of their transitory nature.

Dr. Larry J. Sabato, Director, Center for Politics at the University of Virginia, believes running a town versus gown campaign can have its problems. In this approach a candidate would “capitalize on resentments that build up in university locales such as noise, trash and student parking in neighborhood. While this approach can succeed, it is divisive and even the faculty, a permanent, high-voting bloc, will usually not appreciate it.”

Second, Dr. Sabato believes you can run a town and gown campaign. In this format the candidate attempts to join the disparate parts of college towns. The campaign focuses on bringing students into the campaign committee, actively recruits canvassers from the student body, may attempt a student registration effort and addresses issues of interest to students (housing costs, law enforcement and transportation). This is a more balanced and integrated campaign and under our model would likely be considered ideal. Sachiv Mehta, Chairman of the College Republicans at the University of Texas, Austin, claims that candidates can run an integrated campaign that is advantageous to all sides. “A lot of issues that affect the community affect the university. If a candidate has a substantive message it can appeal to both sides.”

INCREASING STUDENT INVOLVEMENT

Increasing student involvement in local campaigns can boost your overall turnout, especially at the margins, as well as foster long-term interest in the political process. Senator Russ Feingold of Wisconsin benefited from an extremely high turnout in Dane County, home of the University of Wisconsin, Madison, in his 1998 campaign. According to Clyde Wilcox, professor of Government at Georgetown University, turnout in Dane County was a record 55 percent, yielding Feingold a 65,000-vote margin in a state that he carried by 35,000 votes.

However, typically low student turnout, estimated at 42 percent for the 2000 presidential election, creates a predictable cycle. Students find that they are not targeted by campaigns and consequently do not vote. Campaigns in turn do not prioritize young voters because they are traditionally low propensity voters. As Vice Mayor Richards notes, “students are underrepresented in the political process in proportion to their numbers and in proportion to the impact the city council has on their lives.”

San Luis Obispo City Councilmember Christine Mulholland believes the responsibility lies with both the student and the candidates to reach out. “Whenever I am at Cal Poly I encourage involvement and encourage students to pick up a council agenda, listen to the discussion and participate in comment time.” Councilmember Mulholland also believes students should be encouraged to become more involved in city advisory bodies to have a direct voice in the political process. College Republican Chairman Mehta agrees, “it is important for the candidates to understand what our needs are, but that can only happen when the students become more involved so elected officials can better understand our needs.”

ELECTED OFFICIALS SUGGESTIONS TO POTENTIAL CANDIDATES:

Many of the elected officials interviewed stressed the importance of balancing the campaign’s focus on interests of the community and the students. Santa Cruz City Councilmember Coonerty suggests that candidates “make an early personal connection with students.” He believes that students need to know that “you will be there well before other elected officials show up and well after the other elected officials leave.” As one of the youngest members of the city council, at age 30, Coonerty believes he was able to “talk, in a very real way, about the issues the students face.” College Democratic president Emmerson agrees, “candidates need to make a real effort to talk about student issues. Issues like parking, tenants rights, and fines imposed for offenses usually committed by students can be brought forward and used to get students interested.” Missoula City Councilmember Kendall encourages candidates to set up a table at the Student Union in order to reach out to students one-on-one and learn about the issues that will bring them to the polls.

In order to maintain the balance between city and community interests, former five-term San Luis Obispo Mayor Kenneth Schwartz believes that “candidates, especially new ones, need to be very careful of promises they make to either the student or the community viewpoint.” Candidates need to ensure that they do not alienate a specific constituency or box themselves in to representing a small portion of the community’s interests.

Ultimately, those interviewed emphasized the importance of developing connections that grow over time and do not merely surround campaigns. Develop trust and communication between yourself, your party, students and permanent community members. Candidates cannot ignore the student vote and need to understand the important dynamic between the university and the city on a whole. As Councilmember Fitzmaurice notes, candidates need to “pay attention to the student vote. It is not as simply homogenous as people think it is. It is complex and requires a careful plan to make your candidacy effective.”

Quality vs. Quantity

Quality vs. Quantity
Which Is Best for Your Campaign?

Published by Campaign Secrets

One of our recent Campaign Quick Tips encourages you to focus on quality, not quantity, when it comes to your campaign communication. Specifically, it warns “Talking to everyone results in communicating to no one.”

This week’s Hot Tip will address this subject in-depth and provide specific examples of how you can make sure your campaign doesn’t make this common mistake.

When you get right down to it, your campaign communication efforts are nothing more than good old fashioned direct marketing. You’re sending a marketing piece to voters asking them to “buy” your candidate.

Just like in the retail world, the success of that marketing piece isn’t measured by how many people receive it or how well it’s designed. Its success is measured by how many people actually purchased the product it was selling relative to the cost of sending the marketing piece.

Ask any successful direct marketer and they’ll tell you that the #1 key to success is the list they market to. In most cases, there is an inverse relationship between the size of the list and results it gets. The larger the list, the worse the results. The smaller the list, the better the results.

The reason is targeting. The more you can break your lists down, the more you can target your message. The more you can target your message, the better your results will be.

The same is true with your campaign.

Here’s a basic example.

In our online seminar “How Elections Are Really Won & Why Most Campaigns Waste 75% of Their Resources,” we illustrate the common mistake of knocking on every door in your district. While it might be great exercise and give you a sense of accomplishment, it’s 75% inefficient because only about 25% of the people in your district will actually vote.

To use marketing lingo, it means that 75% of the people you were marketing to weren’t even qualified buyers.

It’s a perfect illustration of quality versus quantity when it comes to campaign communication.

Going door-to-door is just one example though.

Many campaigns make the same mistake with their mail, phones, radio and more. In this Hot Tip, we’re going to review common mistakes in each of those areas and how you can void them. The most important thing, however, is for you to review each mistake thinking about how you can use the same “Quality versus Quantity” analysis in other parts of your campaign.

Unfortunately, these three mistakes are illustrative of many others made by campaigns every day.

QvQ Direct Mail Mistake

It’s not uncommon to hear a campaign bragging that they saved money on their mail using the “Postal Patron” postage rate. You’re probably familiar with this special rate from a lot of the junk mail you receive. Rather that addressing every mail piece individually, you simply address everything to “Postal Patron” and the carriers just put the mail piece in every box rather than putting specific mail pieces in specific mailboxes.

Here’s an example. Let’s say you want to send an 8.5”x5.5” postcard using the “Postal Patron” postage rates. Your postage cost will “only” be 12¢ per postcard. If you sent that same postcard using the “Standard” (i.e. bulk) postage rates you’d pay 24¢ per postcard. At first glance it looks like you are saving 50% on postage by using the “Postal Patron” rate. A more thorough analysis, however, reveals that looks can be deceiving.

Let’s start with the most simple analysis.

Depending on where you live, anywhere between 20-35% of the households in your district won’t have a registered voter in them. So, right off the top, you can add 20-35% to the cost of your “Postal Patron” mailing to account for people that can't vote but to whom you still paid to send the postcard.

Now, let’s go a little deeper.

Let’s say you do some simple targeting and eliminate everyone from your recipient (i.e. registered voter) list who either 1) Hasn’t voted in any of the last four elections, or 2) Has voted in the last three Democratic primaries (assuming you’re a Republican).

This simple “targeting” would eliminate another 10-20% from your recipient list.

So, just like that, your “discounted” postage ends up costing about the same as regular bulk rate postage. So, what’s the big deal, right? After all, if it’s basically the same price, why not send it to an extra 5,000 people? Well, we’re not done yet.

With the “Postal Patron” postage, you have to send the same thing to everyone. In other words, you’re using the same mail piece to persuade a 40 year old mother of three who’s worried about education and an 80 year old grandmother who’s worried about Social Security. And that’s not to mention the fathers, grandfathers, college students, singles, marrieds, whites, blacks, Hispanics, Asians, and countless other demographic groups that will get the exact same mailing.

Using the regular bulk mail rates, you could send each of those groups a mail piece focused on their issues for exactly the same price.

Let’s break it down. Assume your district has 10,000 households.

It will cost you $1,200 in postage to send a generic, one-size-fits-all mail piece to every household. Approximately 50% of the people who get it will be either not registered to vote, not going to vote, or have decided already they aren’t voting for you. The 50% who are going to vote, will have to sift through your mailer to find the one little section – assuming there is one – with information about the issue of most concern to them. And you can bet the farm that the majority of these people will not take the time to that and will simply choose to throw away the mailer.

Now let’s look at the same mailing sent using bulk mail.

Your targeting can quickly eliminate the 50% of the people who are not registered, not going to vote, or have already decided they aren’t voting for you. So rather than mailing 10,000 households, you only have to mail 5,000. Your postage cost for this mailing then is the exact same $1,200. However, with a little more targeting you can send each household a mail piece that features the issue of most concern to them.

For example, your mailer to young families could have the headline “Steve Smith’s Six Step Plan to Improve our Schools.” The mailer to seniors could have the headline “Steve Smith’s Plan to Guarantee Social Security for Seniors.”

Now ask yourself, if you cared about education or Social Security and you got one of those mailings, would you take the time to read it? Probably.

So, with the “expensive” bulk mail you paid exactly the same amount to reach the same number of voters, but you had a much greater impact.

There’s not a better example of the difference between quantity and quality when it comes to campaign communication.

QvQ Phone Mistake

Most campaigns use a 3-step process to make automated phone calls:

Prepare a list of voters with phone numbers. Record the message. Deliver the message to the entire list.   Again, with this approach you’re delivering the exact same one-size-fits-all message to the 40 year old mother and the 80 year old grandmother. Sure, you probably got a 1-2¢ per call quantity discount because you used a large list, but you severely diluted your effectiveness.

The more you can break up your automated call list into segments the better. How you do that is up to you. You could use demographics, economics, or geographics.

Then, with just a little extra work you can deliver a more targeted message -- focused on the issue of most concern to them -- to each of your smaller lists.

You might even consider having different people record the message for each list. For example, you could have a teacher record a message for parents with school-aged children or a senior record the message for seniors.

Again, the more targeted approach may require a little extra work and maybe even a little more money, but at the end of the day your return on investment will be significantly higher.

QvQ Radio Ad Mistake

Radio ads are another example of where the “Quality versus Quantity” mistake rears its ugly head on campaigns. It’s illustrated by ridiculous statements like, “No one listens to that radio station.”

That’s simply not true. If no one listened to that station, it wouldn’t be in business (with the exception of NPR). The truth is that while the station may have a smaller audience than others, it’s likely to be a very targeted audience. You’ll know exactly who’s listening.

When you’re buying radio ads, you’ll have to choose between running a few ads on the HUGE stations or a lot of ads on the small stations. For some reason, most campaigns tend to opt for running a few ads on the HUGE stations. In other words, they go for quantity over quality again.

The principle here, too, is simple and straightforward.

Paying extra to reach an extra large audience isn’t usually the best choice for local campaigns. Remember, a large number of the “extra” people you reach through the larger stations aren’t going to vote. In many cases, they won’t even live in your district.

On the other hand, if you buy an ad during the local radio station’s farm report you are going to know exactly who’s listening and can develop your ad appropriately.

The ad on the HUGE station will likely be less expensive when you consider the cost per listener. However, as it was with mail and phones, it will end up being more expensive in the long run.

The bottom line is simple. Campaigns are all about direct marketing. You’re constantly selling your campaign in person, through the mail, on the phone, and with advertising. And, just like it is the retail world, direct marketing success is measured by results -- not reach.

It might make you feel good to knock on every door, send everyone a piece of mail, make a call to everyone, or have your ads on the big radio station, but it’s not the best investment for your campaign.

Remember, results are what matter. And, as we said in the Campaign Quick Tip that spawned this Hot Tip, “Talking to everyone results in communicating to no one.”