It’s an election year, which is great for those of us who enjoy politics and all of the drama that comes along with it. The potential of the Internet as a fund raising tool first surfaced in the 2004 presidential election, when Howard Dean raised the majority of his funds from small donations online. Things have evolved considerably since then and the impact of the Internet on politics is stronger than ever.
I recently noticed the Politics & Elections Ads Toolkit, a web site Google created to educate politicians about the value of digital marketing. (For my part, I feel confident that Google created this resource to promote democracy, not in the hopes of tapping into those campaign war chests).
Despite the political terminology, I couldn’t help but notice how similar the ideas presented are to the digital marketing strategy for any brand. Google describes the Four Screens to Victory – that is, the four elements of digital marketing that help win elections. They are listed below, with comments about how the ideas are similar to standard SEM strategy.
Google recommends a mixture of approaches at the various stages, and I highlight a few simple SEM analogies that suggest themselves:
1. Build Your Organization
Google: the candidate should Build their Organization.
Politics: A candidate needs to ensure that their information and message are easy to find, which means they need to have a good presence in Search results for the candidate’s name.
SEM: In digital marketing, Search is the primary tool to use. Launch a paid search campaign promoting your client company’s Brand name.
2. Define the Issues
Google: the candidate should Define the Issues.
Politics: A candidate wants their site to appear in Search results when people seek information relevant to political issues.
SEM: Launch a paid search campaign with keyword phrases relevant to the product or service you want to advertise.
3. Persuade the Electorate
Google: the candidate should Persuade the Electorate.
Politics: The candidate needs to have a strong presence in Social media, and good support for Mobile devices.
SEM: Today’s social web has provided people with interactivity and engagement opportunities. Social media has emerged as an essential part of any comprehensive digital marketing strategy. SEM and social media go hand in hand and candidates should monitor social media trends for real-time marketing through paid search.
4. Get Out the Vote
Google: the candidate should Get Out the Vote.
Politics: The candidate needs to rally their supporters through all digital opportunities available.
SEM: This final push should involve optimizing all digital channels including Search, Display, Social and Mobile. SEM and its immediate results will help drive the optimization of these digital channels.
From my point of view, Google has given politicians good advice: adopt a comprehensive digital marketing strategy. Search, Display, Social and Mobile all contribute to Brand awareness and action. Learn more at Webtrends.com.