Issue Free Campaign
Tom Belford has subscribed to the email list of all the presidential candidates and is amazed at the total lack of issue focus.
In order of frequency, the email communications I’ve received since February have focused on:
1. I need your money
2. I really need your money by March 31
3. Here’s the spin on my 1st quarter fundraising
4. Here’s what I’m doing this week
Given the early start to the race, I can hardly blame potentially viable candidates for staying as general as possible for as long as possible. There’s just not much upside to taking firm stances on controversial issues, since it just ensures they’ll get hammered from all sides.
Belford is right, though, about a missed communications opportunity: “the campaigns don’t seem to know the basics of what’s called CRM (consumer relationship marketing) in the commercial world. It would be so easy for a campaign to ask me online about my issue priorities and then feed me material on those issues. At least give a nod to MY concerns. CRM 101.”
Quite right. If Google can micro-target advertising based on the content of the Web page or email I happen to be looking at, surely campaigns can do the same thing with the additional advantage of email communications, survey results, and other information at their disposal. Sending targeted weekly updates on what the candidate has said, even if the issue content is innocuous and vague, would be an easy way to reinforce connections with donors and other supporters.