By now our ballots have been cast, final results have been tallied (or soon to be tallied in smaller local elections or in the event of a November surprise) and most of us are glad the election cycle is over.
Pundits are calling this the most expensive presidential campaign in history, and the price tag on several congressional and constitutional issues have raised a few eyebrows. Regardless of which candidate or issue wins, it’s interesting to note the prominent role direct marketing has played in these elections.
Much like direct marketers use cross-channel marketing to resonate with customers, political campaigns use multiple touch points to connect with voters. This includes direct mail, online advertising, emails and various social media platforms. Those of us in “battleground” states have been reminded that political campaigns are exempt from Do Not Call.
Of course, a large portion of both presidential campaigns’ marketing dollars went toward television buys, due to the high costs of broadcast advertising. According to political journalism website Politico.com, Obama spent $49.5 million from Oct. 1-17 alone, while Romney totaled $31.2 million in as many days. And while it’s no secret campaign strategies have evolved to embrace social media and other forms of digital communication, political direct mail is an indispensable and effective tactic – and its role remained stronger than ever during the 2012 elections.
In fact, a recent article published on WashingtonPost.com claims both presidential campaigns spent twice as much on multiple direct mail formats ($170 million between the two candidates) compared to Internet advertising. Perhaps Richard Beeson, Senator Romney’s national political director, said it best, “We believe in voter contact. There are a number of different ways to talk to voters, and the mail is one very effective way.” What’s more, the USPS is hoping to meet or top its revenue from 2010 for all political direct mail, which was approximately $338 million according to CNNMoney.
Indeed, this election cycle has shown us that direct mail continues to be a requisite piece of the marketing puzzle. It should be considered a primary driver of most cross-channel campaigns – whether you’re aiming to increase votes, or sales.