Sean Maher of the Oakland Tribune interviewed me last week for his story published yesterday, Obama’s technology in campaigning a potential tool for governing. Sean’s question was How did new technologies play a role in Obama’s campaign? This was my response:
There is a LOT to talk about on your subject because the Obama campaign ran an extremely strategic, multi-channel marketing campaign that was far more sophisticated than most commercial marketing campaigns, let alone political campaigns.
What typically happens with political marketing is you have one innovation per cycle which everyone then adopts and in that way you get incremental progress. Politicians are inherently cautious so the major innovation will come from the challengers, from the long-shot candidates who have nothing to lose. You saw that with Howard Dean and his success with online fundraising. What set Obama apart was the innovation he introduced into all aspects of his campaign. He absolutely leapfrogged every element of political campaigning.
The video game advertising was probably the least effective thing he did but, as with everything that campaign did, there was a deliberate reason they chose to advertise there: That demographicâ€”18-34 year old menâ€”are the hardest to reach because they spend so much time playing video games. So, as they did with all their other marketing, the campaign went to where the audience hung out to reach them.
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