Various new marketing strategies on how to influence the target audience appear quite frequently with the development of technology. However, the most memorable marketing campaigns emerge during the election rallies. Politicians, along with their teams, try to come up with marketing tools citizens have never seen before so they could influence the vast majority of people. One of the most outstanding approaches to treating the electorate was presented by Barack Obama’s office in 2012 (Issenberg 1). The purpose of this paper is to examine the marketing techniques of Obama’s election campaign as well as to define their positive and negative aspects.
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For years, all the marketing tools for the US election campaigns relied on the electorate data formed a long time ago. According to this data, the representatives of both the Democratic and the Republican parties could figure out which states or parts of the country were more likely to support them during the elections. However, in 2012, the targeting director of the Democratic National Committee, Dan Wagner, decided to completely change the rules of the so-called “rally game” (Issenberg 2).
He suggested applying a more individual approach towards the potential electorate. Instead of relying on outdated information, Wagner decided to launch a detailed survey and make thousands of calls to find out people’s attitudes to the current political situation in the country.
Dan Wagner declined the idea that the small percentage of state representatives can serve as an indicator of the county as a whole. Instead, he suggested creating a database of the potential electorate and ask them their honest opinion about the coming elections. After receiving the answers, the office had detailed information of people who were radical Democrats, Republicans, or stuck somewhere in the middle.
Once they had all the necessary data, they could efficiently operate it because the main idea behind the survey was not only to hear public opinion but to define the ways to change it. Furthermore, Obama’s marketers decided to pay much attention to face-to-face communication and hire hundreds of volunteers who could potentially talk to and persuade the people who were uncertain about the upcoming elections. They were only able to do so because they possessed detailed information about whether certain audiences had an adequate attitude towards the potential leader. Thus, such an inclusive attitude towards society proved to have the aforementioned benefits.
It is hard to object to the fact that such a marketing technique is an absolute innovation in the sphere of election campaigns. However, speaking of the drawbacks, it should be mentioned that if the novelty is successful, it is not necessarily flawless. For instance, even though Wagner’s approach was meant to examine individual attitudes as in detail as possible, it still could not foresee all the potential risks and uncertainties. Speaking of the human aspect, one may say that operating a person’s consciousness to obtain the desired result is unethical. However, marketing as a whole means trying to find ways to influence people, so the potential effect of marketing technique depends rather on human awareness than on some moral values.
Treating voters as individuals with their views and perspectives was, by all means, innovation in the context of electoral campaigns. Actions, which were always considered unethical, cruel, and fake, have now become transparent and open to the broad audience. It goes without saying that the survey technique introduced in 2012 cannot be perfect in all aspects. Still, the eventual effect on the public and the successful outcome of the campaign claim it to be more effective than any of the techniques introduced before.
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Issenberg, Sasha. “A More Perfect Union: How Obama’s Team Used Big Data to Rally Voters.” MIT Technology Review, vol. 116, no. 1, 2013, pp. 1-17.