Matt Lewis had me back on his podcast today, and we discuss the balance campaigns must strike between different tech tactics. Specifically, we chat about Florida gubernatorial candidate Rick Scott’s very deliberate decision to avoid text messaging in favor of email to announce his running mate. In this case, the Scott campaign decided that emails were more valuable to their campaign strategy than mobile numbers. (Given Florida’s elderly population, it was probably a wise choice. Also facto in the power of email’s reach – John Boehner actually sent an email update to his supporter list to draw attention to a tweet. It sounds redundant but it’s actually the best way to make the tweet gets seen.)
As Matt and I discussed, the rumor from Scott’s consultants is that he is not averse to spending money – so this was an educated decision.
I’m excited to see the implementation of good mobile strategy – and text messaging is going in some exciting directions. But too often, the people with resources to burn don’t stop to think through their online strategy. This is especially true with issue or candidate campaigns which use tools like Facebook for messaging, but really don’t know what to do with their 10,000-person follower list after everyone clicks the like button.
To use an old-school campaign example, imagine going door to door for a candidate. When the voter opens the door, you ask, “Hey, are you going to vote for my guy?” The voter says, “Yup!” and the conversation ends. You don’t take down their name, address, or phone number, or even ask if they’d like a lawn sign. The same is true if think taking action on an issue you care about ends when you send an email to your Member of Congress. Chances are, that email will be counted and deleted because the staff knows how easy it is for any crazy person to send them an email. (That’s why advanced follow up is always recommended.)
No matter how advanced your tactic, if it isn’t applied with some measurable and impactful result, it’s a waste of time and resources.