“MILLIONAIRES AND BILLIONARIES!!”
You have undoubtedly heard this in the last year and its due to the brilliance of the Bernie Sanders Campaign and their ingenious marketing strategy to get a candidate who had a 3% chance of being nominated to now being the possible next President of the United States. Here are the lessons I have learned from this campaign cycle and how to apply them to a marketing strategy for business.
Be genuine in your message to influence people
The Sanders campaign was able to do this early by organizing together a multitude of different groups who all had matching ideals and unique goals and mobilizing the disenfranchised groups towards one common cause. I saw the first waves start on the subreddit r/SandersForPresident and if you know anything about the internet you know everything starts on Reddit. Their tagline reads “The front page of the internet” for a reason : Everything happens there first.
The genius behind this approach was that you had college students interacting with scholars, vets, teachers, and seasoned political adults about the issues and able to illustrate who Bernie Sanders was and what he stood for. This is one of the places the primary movement started but it had building for a long time before and everything else perfectly aligned. The other campaigns haven’t quite scratched the surface, meaning the Front Page.
The front page of Reddit is where the posts make it if they have enough momentum through votes, Upvotes or votes for, and downvotes if in one disagrees. If you look now , the Trump campaign noticed this and paid marketers to start a a group in a subreddit r/The_Donald not long ago which has now started to reach the front page. The Clinton campaign might have a group but the passion hasn’t manifested in the same way the Sanders or the Trump campaign has and their messages haven’t made it to the front page and remains to be seen.
Using Reddit to funnel your message can be a tricky one so use caution, understand the rules and always be genuine : There are a ton of smart people on that site who can sniff out a Marketer real quick.
Build the Passion through a Movement
Here comes the branding part of the message. You cannot have a campaign without a great Brand and a political campaign is no different. They were able to put together some great Stylesheets and Brand center pieces early on here at the Bernie Sanders Campaign Website. Once you have the peoples ear and you have crafted the message and Brand, let their creativity run wild. And this is exactly what they did.
From the Bernie Sanders 2016 Google App to the Rally – Bernie Sanders Community App in iTunes to one of my favorites Bernie Sandwiches – Run for the White House for iPad that I play with my girlfriends 6 year old all the time. Applications like these are brilliant because people generally want to help in any way they can ; you just have to make it easy for them. Plus if you put a good feeling in their heart by making a fun game like Bernie Sandwiches you win the battle for hearts and minds and thats what Marketing is all about. Donald Trump also has an iPad app Trump Dump and the Android app Trumpealo which I am not sure the campaign intended but they are pretty fun and you should try them out. The Hillary campaign has applications in both : Clinton 2016 on the iOS operating system and Hillary Clinton 2016 the Android system.
Then come the websites. Their are countless websites managing the message of Bernie Sanders. You have the main one Http://berniesanders.com , which when you land on it has a great message that resonates with the majority of people in the United States today “Nobody who works 40 hours a week should be living in poverty.” and a mail capture form. The mail capture form is huge for a campaign like the Sanders campaign where the average donation is $27 from individual donors (Full disclosure I have my paypal set up to donate to the Sanders campaign weekly because it was so effortless to do and I agree with his message.) Other websites like http://feelthebern.org , http://bernkit.com , and http://berniesandersvideo.com and countless others have popped up as a response for the passion behind Bernie Sanders. Hillary has two major websites and a bunch of anti Hillary sites on the first page of google. Also an ad for BernieSanders.com pops up which is ingenious.
In comparison , when you search for sites for Donald Trump , you get his site and then you get a bunch of news articles. To the Trump campaigns credit, they have done a brilliant job of hijacking the news cycle for most of the campaign with shock and awe marketing and their followers are passionate but lets not confuse passion with hatred. Just like the rest of Americans, they are frustrated and fearful at what lies ahead and Trump has been able to capitalize on that passion. Fear packs a ton of firepower. But without knowing the tech, its hard to spread the message. You need platforms.
Use the passion to flood Social Media with the Message
Now that you have amassed the people with the same passions and talking points, sending them out to spread the message is easy because they do it on their own. From twitter to facebook to snapchat to periscope, supporters from all sides are hitting the social media platforms something fierce. Heres how the campaigns are effectively spreading the message.
With facebook, the Sanders Campaign has a multitude of different groups directed at all the demographics of a Sanders voter. From the LGBT community to the community for Unions, the campaign has anywhere from 30 to 40 community groups that have sprung up to communicate the events and messages of the campaign. In comparison, the Hillary Campaign hasn’t seemed to gain much momentum in the groups area and the membership is small if any. Most of the Hillary groups on facebook are against Hillary in some manner or another. Donald Trump has two main groups with about 8k members a piece but not much mentions or communication inside. What you will find in a bunch of the Sanders groups are a bunch of Marketing Bots, profiles set up with the soul purpose to cause doubt and mistrust of a candidate in a group, to sell a product or to defraud someone, posting conflicting information about the candidate the group was made for. Its not moral but its definitely savvy to say the least. Managing these profiles becomes the hard part as most of the profile information is not filled out or conflicting and the original poster doesn’t have much interaction with the post they left as it becomes hard to manage the thousands of profiles the campaigns are spending good money for.
Twitter has been used mostly by the Clinton and Trump campaigns to robo message their thoughts and positions. A robo campaign is one managed by a marketing team setup to post as the situation happens but mostly to post far in advance with an editorial calendar setup to post out information at said times to influence the conversation. Twitter is difficult to use for the candidates as Marco Rubio pointed out when Donald Trump took the reigns back for a minute from his marketing team. Spelling can be an issue and once you tweet there is no recall, only delete. Between the campaigns you will find that the most retweets, reposting someones original message, and favoriting of messages goes to the Sanders campaign as you can usually find both retweets and favorites in the thousands. Donald has a habit of name calling his opposition and gets a ton of favorites that don’t translate into retweets. Hillary campaign, like the Sanders campaign has a multitude of different accounts helping garner support and fame for their respective campaigns messages.
Snapchat and Twitter’s Periscope, which has popped up on the media radar rather recently, allow the user to document and record in real time (periscope) or record in short tidbits to craft a story throughout the day as voting occurs (snapchat). Both have their pros and cons and I’m not sure either has been regularly by a campaign itself but millions or users have used it to spread the message their relative campaigns wanted to spread inadvertently.”
Stay the course with the message you have crafted
Its absolutely crucial that you stay on, and manage the message that’s been driven and crafted. As with any marketing campaign, the key to a solid political campaign is the brand, the message, and the raving fans behind it all driving traffic in the doors, to the phones, or in a campaign: donations and votes.
Written by Ed Higgins
Check him out on You Tube