Interestingly enough the internet and the buzz word of the last year “new media” (I personally dislike the term but for lack of better option I will use it here) has brought back retail politics. Retail politics involves knowing everyone in the community in which you get elected and as of late has been replaced by brute force political machinery where quantity over quality is king.
If there is one thing people have learned from the most recent election is that the electorate needs to be “wooed” not blasted. “Woo” means talking to single mothers about health care and not second amendment rights, talking to home owners about loan assistance and not just tax credits – “woo” means intelligently speaking to voters on an individual level not just finding the most common denominator among the electorate.
The capabilities of internet and new media replaces chicken dinners, pancake breakfasts, coffee clatches, school symposiums and state fair booths with facebook pages, blog updates, twitter feeds, youtube videos, and the ever popular email news letters. The key for campaigns it that these tools accomplish the exact same principles as retail politics but at a micro-fraction of the cost, time, and campaign infrastructure.
Let me be clear, the answer is not to open up 5 social networking accounts, pick up a twitter account and populate it with regurgitated press releases, or send out incessant emails of the same canned dribble. Rather come up with a top to bottom strategy that fits your style and more importantly your electorate – if you don’t think you can handle this there are plenty of great people out there who can help you do it.
A top to bottom strategy includes not only communicating outward but gathering information. Keep this in mind as one of the great things about “new media” is the multi-way conversation that goes on and if you can’t store, analyze, and subsequently act on that gathered information its like talking with someone and forgetting every word they say as soon as it hits your ears.
All those voter contacts you made, emails you collected, and analysis you performed – do you really want to do it again in a year or two? Could you use it in an upcoming 2009 election (there will be over 50,000 in 2009)?
If your wondering whether this is veiled sales pitch to use Vlytics – than you guessed right but I will remind you that one of the best political operations in the last 50 years spent the weekend trying to figure out how to keep the grassroots, voter contact, and all the data gleaned from the last election going – so shouldn’t you?