We looked at best practices, studied the scientific research and looked at innovation in the marketing industry and then applied it to political campaigns. Here is what we found:
1. Getting your campaign to go “viral” is about how well you engage volunteers and build a sense of community.
2. Swing voters make political decisions emotionally, not rationally, based primarily on their feelings about the political Party first, the candidate second and the issues third.
3. Talking about your opponent only gives them more “air time” in the minds of the voters you are trying to persuade. Use your time to promote your own value system. Voters respond emotionally when you talk about what you believe to be right and wrong.
4. For more than 50 years, marketers have known that one in ten people influence the opinions and decisions of the other nine. Getting those Influencers equipped to spread your message is the most effective way to communicate.
5. Different people are Influencers in different topics. Political volunteers and activists are usually the Influencers who their peers look to for voting recommendations.
6. Ninety percent of those peer recommendations happen offline, either on live phone calls or face to face.
7. Visual cues in the environment (signs and promotional products with brand logos and slogans) trigger conversations. They are critical to making your word of mouth grow instead of dying out.
The best way to motivate your base AND persuade swing voters is to engage your volunteers and supporters to share a positive, emotional message with their friends, neighbors and co-workers.
Campaigns >> Supporters and Volunteers
Campaigns distribute talking points and sharable stories to volunteers and supporters through meetings, phone, text and email. Even broadcast media and other paid advertising should serve primarily to deliver verbally sharable content to supporters that they can carry forward.
Supporters >> Voters
The campaign should focus on encouraging those supporters and volunteers to deliver those memes and stories to their friends, neighbors, co-workers and other community members through a wide variety of direct outreach activities.
The campaign should help trigger those conversations by blanketing the environment with visual cues in the form of signs, posters, hats, t-shirts, bumper stickers and buttons.