Anyone who is paying attention to the media in America knows that how we get information is changing dramatically.
It is happening in every form of media. Take television for example: in 1992, the average US household had access to 28 TV channels. In 2012, US households have access to over 165 channels and over 10,000 programs per month. They also watch an increasing amount of shows using DVRs or on-line media streaming services.
In 1970, the average reach of a nationally broadcast 30-second spot was 20 percent. Now it’s less than 5 percent. Marketers are desperate to make up for this drastic decline in reach. You see it everywhere you go. For example, One market research firm, estimates that a person living in a city 30 years ago saw up to 2,000 ad messages a day, compared with up to 5,000 today.
So how does a political campaign, with limited time and money, over come this saturation effect of traditional marketing and the limited reach of television?
Diversify, organize and activate.
No longer can a campaign just raise money and put it into TV or direct mail. Now the money must go into an on-line media program that reaches and engages voters. It is through multiple channels of advertising that you are able to reach voters and persuade those voters.
The key now is to use each media tool appropriately. The power of direct mail is that it can be targeted directly to voters and that its messaging can be based on their issues or concerns. TV still has the broadest reach and on-line has the ability to persuade but also to help convert voters to supporters.
Political campaigns have always been, at their core, about organizing people. The modern media landscape has made it possible for campaigns to organize large groups of people better than at any other time in history.
Because of social networks, the reach of campaigns can be multiplied hundreds and thousands of times. But it is key to give your followers and friends something to share, and for it to be compelling and consistent.
The Obama Campaign’s Life of Julia infographic is an example of a shareable piece of media. If you follow the campaign’s Facebook page, you will see regular pieces of sharable media.
A campaign that can organize and activate voters to spread the word on its behalf will amplify its message and burn through the clutter.