Thursday, December 22, 2011

Things We Simply Couldn't Do 15 Years Ago

An article in Bloomberg Business Week on the Obama campaign "geeks," whose job is to write software that can make sense of the reams of voter data the campaign collects, searching for information that will enable a not-so-popular President running in a lousy economy to wring out every last vote he can provides another way radio stations today can "campaign" for new listeners, a lot like politicians do.
The idea is to take the now-standard practice of “microtargeting”—where a campaign repeatedly pesters supporters with phone calls, volunteer visits, and fundraising e-mails—one step further by tailoring their message to the concerns of individual voters. A woman who tells an Obama volunteer she’s standing with the President may receive an appeal for a donation a few days later. But the software will warn fundraisers to avoid hitting up that woman’s unemployed next-door neighbor for even the smallest amount of money, which could sour him on Obama for good. Instead, they’ll try to convince him that Obama is on his side. The campaign has come up with a friendly term for this kind of data manipulation: “microlistening.”

Larry Rosin’s 1996 suggestion to A&O clients that radio needs to be more aggressive in its attack marketing shocked some in the room back then.

Here’s the key point that some seemed to miss: do the majority of your negative advertising and attacks OFF THE AIR - on media appropriate to the message, television with humor (when appropriate) or direct mail/telemarketing with specifically-targeted verbiage designed to secretly reposition your opponent on the key strategic issues that are important to ‘swing voters’ in carefully-selected areas.

It is best to take the high road on your own air! Why build negatives among people who already consume your station, when your current listeners probably don’t need to be sold in the same direct, comparative way that “their” listeners do?

Bill Clinton managed to survive in the 90's by understanding this.

Keep yourself above the attack on the air.

Carefully focus any negative message directly at the listener - where they live, work and listen - who will find it credible and understandable.

Listeners of the other station who may be dissatisfied with what they hear do not yet know you present a viable alternative.

You would be wasting energy to sling mud on your own station and could even irritate your already-loyal listener.

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