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Presidential Marketing Smackdown!
We really enjoy breaking the number one rule of social conversation. Around the DMA office, we talk politics all the time. Even with views that span the entire ideological spectrum, we’re able to continue these debates because we’re (mostly) civil and (sometimes) good listeners.
While none of us are policy experts, we do know a thing or two about marketing. So, on this eve of the South Carolina primary (and before any more candidates drop out), we felt it was the perfect time to let these two worlds collide and present our PRESIDENTIAL MARKETING SMACKDOWN! We’ve chimed in on President Obama’s skilled use of social media before, and we wanted to see how this cycle’s candidates are faring in that marketing arena and beyond.
We perused and reviewed the marketing assets of each of the Presidential candidates remaining in the race, donning our oft-worn marketing hats rather than our political ones. Remaining politically unbiased, we judged their marketing communications in the categories outlined in the chart below. We awarded a winner in each category and then an overall winner who, in our opinion, is the best marketer of the pack. Our reasons are summarized below the graphic.
With a score of four stars, Mitt Romney handily wins our marketing smackdown. Sure, the best marketer doesn’t always capture the Electoral College Crown, but it sure will be interesting to see how these candidates, and our country, fare. We really want to hear what you think – Who, in your opinion, most effectively and broadly communicates his messages?
Sure, numbers aren’t everything, but Newt Gingrich achieves both numerical and not-as-easily-quantifiable excellence in the Twitterverse. All candidates tweet, but Gingrich is what we like to call “Twitter Optimized”. Though his 1+ million followers may have brought about skepticism and his Klout score falls short of Obama’s score of 87, Gingrich bests runner-up Obama in frequency of updates and audience connection. He fosters this connection by providing a glimpse of his personal life in his bio space, and makes the most of his Twitter background by linking to his other social networks. His best “pro”? Newt takes full advantage of Twitter’s two-way communication by replying and retweeting other Twitter users.
WEBSITE & BLOG:
We judged the candidates’ websites in terms of design/visual appeal; ease of navigation; calls to action and available blog/news reel and our winner is Mitt Romney for lots of reasons.
When conducting a simple search on Google for “Romney,” we reached his campaign website immediately. Landing on the home page, we were greeted by clear messages and calls to action in a rotating graphics area that we found visually appealing.
In terms of the navigation, we found that it was straightforward and easy to peruse. His website is loaded with useful content and serves as a portal to connect with his campaign through various forms of media.
Running a close second was President Obama’s website which features more imagery of citizens and less of the President on the home page (a thoughtful touch in our opinion). We mostly appreciated his website because of the social media integration featuring a live Twitter feed and sharable links under each blog/news post, which in today’s digital world, is key to viral marketing.
Of course all the major candidates have a Facebook page, most with a pretty impressive following. And each uses the medium effectively. So, to pick a winner in this category, we had to dig pretty deep and judge beyond layout, big message delivery and engagement (they all had pro’s in each of these). We stand with Mitt in this category because of (contrary to what pundits from both sides of the aisle will say) his personality. The “voice” used on Mitt’s Facebook page is first person and positioned as HIS (as opposed to some which just quote their candidate or talk about him like he’s the star of The Truman Show). And his lists of interests on his Info page give insights into Mitt the man that you won’t get from sound bites or prepared speeches. So, in a nutshell, we feel Mitt wins the Facebook war because he best uses this social platform for what it was made – to personalize and present a bit of yourself on the World Wide Web.
Romney has several microsites, all of which were easy to find via search, indicating that they are well-optimized. One of his fundraising microsites, fortyfore.com, is certainly clever and has reached viral status, being featured on several blogs since its launch. Each of his microsites contains a clear purpose, calls to action, and opportunities to share. We’re not keen on “negative attack” nature of most of his microsites, but this is politics!
PERIPHERAL SOCIAL MEDIA:
Most of our candidates have not ventured too far beyond Facebook and Twitter in their social community building. With the longest tenure in this space, we aren’t surprised to see that Barack Obama was dabbling in the largest number of social platforms with 7 total. Actually the tie breaker between the President and Gary Johnson, the Libertarian candidate who came in with 6 social platforms, was Obama’s use of SMS texting as a means for followers to catch the latest news. While it’s not traditionally defined as a “social media” tool, it’s definitely serving as an alternative way for Obama-ites to stay informed and engaged and that’s really all that matters.
Gingrich may be known for his YouTube creativity and Ron Paul may have a TON of loyal subscribers, but Mitt Romney really stands out from the entire pack with nifty features on his YouTube Channel that no other candidate has. Romney’s uploads are categorized into convenient sub-channels for quick browsing, he has real time social media feeds flowing and his content’s complete “shareability” and clear message make his YouTube Channel something special.
Posted by: The DMA Solutions Team
Tags: Barack Obama, blog, Election 2012, Electoral College, Facebook, Gary Johnson, Microsites, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Political Candidates, Political Marketing, Political Microsites, Politics, President Obama, Presidential Candidates, Presidential Marketing, Rick Santorum, Ron Paul, South Carolina Primary, The Truman Show, Twitter, website, YouTube