Friday, December 14, 2007

Marketing Matters

If a tree falls in the forest and no one hears it, does it make a sound?

If a candidate is stupendous but no one knows it, does it matter that they're wonderful?

I'll leave answering the first question to the philosophical types and pounce on the second: no. If voters don't know who a candidate is and how they'll make things better, they will not get elected.

This is where marketing comes in.

And, although you may not call it marketing, it's what campaigns are all about: crafting and delivering stump speeches, writing op-eds, sending direct mail, calling voters, running ads, etc. So how does this relate to online campaigning? Well, campaigns with meaningful web strategies use the web to extend the reach and amplify the message of everything they do offline.

The really good campaigns make sure their online offerings not only repackage offline experiences, but also make them easy for supporters to share. In fact, the December issue of the Journal of Advertising Research says that common word-of-mouth advertising by regular folks is more powerful than “key influencers.” (Article summary here.) If you're not making it easy and compelling for people to tell each other about your candidate or campaign, you're making your job harder.

--Louella Pizzuti