Whatever your political leaning, you have to admit presidential hopeful Barack Obama is one savvy marketer.
Whereas his Republican rival John McCain is still learning how to log onto “the Internets”â€”and I understand he recently sent his first email, although it’s not clear whether it was to ask his campaign manager to “come here” (for you history buffs)â€”Obama announced this past week he will name his VP running mate via text message.
This is smart for all number of reasons.
Not the least of which being that this will encourage thousands, perhaps tens to hundreds of thousands, of registered voters to enter their info into Obamaâ€™s already massive database.
When it comes to getting out the vote, the New York Times found during the 2006 midterm elections that text message reminders help increase voter turnout by upwards of 4 percent. And it does it at about $1.50 a vote, versus $20 to $30 for votes earned via door-to-door canvassing and phone bank calls.
This is actually just extending a mobile strategy Obama developed early on in his bid for the Oval Office: “They’ve been using [texting] to get out the vote, which is incredibly smart because it gives people a way to take immediate political action,” Julie Germany, director of the Institute for Politics, Democracy and the Internet, told ABC back in February. “It’s just what mobile technology is suited for.”
Well, mobile technology is suited for that and beyond (further every month, it seems). But Germany is spot-on with her assessment in that giving a mobile call-to-action provides users an immediate, in-world opportunity to engage with a campaign they’re passionate aboutâ€”whether it be about sneakers, hamburgers, or the leader of the free world.
That being said, however, the younger demographic is notorious for being easily distracted. So while engaging via mobile is a smart and relevant new media tactic by Obama, the polls will reveal its true effectiveness in November.
By then, McCain may even be writing on his Facebook wall.