“It was like the central nervous system of the campaign,” said Julie Germany, the director of the Institute for Politics Democracy and the Internet at the George Washington University, today in the Times Online. She is commenting on the impact that Obama’s online campaign and web tactics had on his election on Tuesday. The statement bears a striking similarity to our agency’s mantra – let digital drive!
Personal politics aside, what the Obama strategists conceived, launched, analyzed and worked in their favor up until the 11th hour on Tuesday was remarkable and should significantly advance the ways which all marketers alike use the internet to drive their own brand’s media mix. Ironically, it was in fact the strategic and sophisticated approach to grow and organize a community online and offline, that made a key difference in the overall success of his campaign – the value of which was lost on the GOP. This approach to online media inspired me as a consumer of all things digital and an online media enthusiast! Their work and results will be studied and will set new benchmarks for what is possible online – not just in a political race. I sincerely hope that our clients will allow us to work with their teams, to create a sophisticated, measured movement of their own.
I recognize that a campaign with the objective to elect a candidate for president is unique and that our clients have business that hold them to different returns. But when I break this down to simple campaign stats and ignore the product or service variable, most of our clients would drool over these returns (and that budget!):
Spend: $600,000,000 total for both online and offline media
Conversions: 3,000,000 new customers in the proprietary online database
Cost Per Acquisition: ~$20 overall (and this doesn’t factor the following numbers)
- undeclared amount of mobile phone numbers and permission to re-market
- 1.5M + participants in branded online community network
- approximately 3M Facebook supporters joined branded profile page
- 867,000 friends on MySpace page
- 128,000 subscribers for branded YouTube page and nearly 20,000,000 channel views
- 120,000 Twitter followers
- undeclared numbers of volunteers and brand evangelists
Those are jaw dropping returns! If you’re curious about where the money was spent (for online only) you can study their media plan here. The media plan itself was not revolutionary, but what I hope our clients and all marketers take note of, is how the campaign was about a brand who worked tirelessly to appear to service their “customers” so much so that the customers were motivated to serve the brand in return.
And isn’t that what marketing aims to achieve?
* With smart strategists at the wheel, digital media should drive the entire marketing mix
* Invest in your campaign’s destination site and invest in the tools that you provide there for your customers to become a part of your brand and expand your brand to their own network
* Unify the brand’s creative and measure every tactic, make each accountable to the entire campaign’s end goal
* Collect customer data reasonably and make sure it’s useful to the brand’s future initiatives
* Create! Motivate! Serve your customers well and enjoy the results!