In case you’ve been living under the proverbial rock the last ten days, the Obama campaign announced on August 10 that it would announce the Democratic vice presidential nominee via an SMS text message to supporters. To get the message, all you have to do is sign up here.
Here’s why this is good politics, good business and a smart way to leverage the possibilities of new media:
- It allows Obama to harvest the cell phone numbers of supporters for use later in “Get Out the Vote” efforts in November. Pollsters and other marketers have long complained that the increasing number of people who have “cut the cord”, makes it hard to conduct accurate polling or effective telemarketing, because cell phone number are unlisted. This helps solve that problem and allows the campaign to effectively target the under 30 demographic which populates the “cut the cord” generation.
- Obama can bypass the print and broadcast media and go straight to supporters with his message on why his VP pick makes the most sense for his campaign and for the country, should he be elected. This has the added effect of driving the media absolutely crazy because it makes journalists question their relevance to the political process. As a result, the number of stories speculating on who the pick will be has far surpassed the coverage of the selection of John Edwards in 2004, Dick Cheney and Joe Lieberman in 2000, or Jack Kemp, Al Gore or even Dan Quayle before that.
- This sends the message to supporters that they matter and that this is a different kind of campaign. Too often in politics and in business, voters and consumers, are taken for granted. Of course they will vote for us, of course they will buy our product — they always have. This tactic helps the campaign build a relationship with the voter, as supporters are given “inside information” before anyone else.
As of this writing, it’s unclear who the VP pick will be. The Obama campaign has only promised that an announcement will be made this week. They’ve also indicated that only a handful of people know who was selected — perhaps six individuals according to media reports. And guess what? These six folks aren’t talking. That only adds to the suspense and to the positive media coverage.
I’m wondering how soon after the campaign, the social media team that Obama has assembled will be recruited for similar positions in businesses like the one where I work.
I would hire them. Would you?