Will UB the 1ST 2 NO? Why the Obama VP Text Message Tactic is Good Business

You don’t have to be a Democrat or a supporter of Barack Obama to admire the public relations savvy of the Obama presidential campaign.

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?


2 responses to “Will UB the 1ST 2 NO? Why the Obama VP Text Message Tactic is Good Business

  1. I just stopped by your blog and thought I would say hello. I like your site design. Looking forward to reading more down the road.

  2. I’ve been impressed with Barack Obama since the first day I met him at Union Park in Des Moines. I shook his hand twice that warm morning in August, then over the course of the next few months worked hard to get to know him better.

    One of things I learned is that he is definitely NOT an empty suit — he’s not only brilliant but he is an outstanding diplomat. McCain is a 2 on a scale of 1 to 10 for diplomacy, while Barack is a 10.

    And he’s a forward thinker, advocating for broadband throughout the land, and open systems. He’s recommended a CIO for the cabinet, and is a supported of Larry Lessig, and Mr. Lessig and endorser of Barack.

    It’s time for “revenge of the nerds” instead of “revenge of the beer drinking red necks” who seem intent on fighting, like a school yard bully — the “no matter what country you are, if you’re not on our side, I’m going to kick your ass” mentality.

    I’m looking forward to receiving my text message, and I’m looking forward to Obama’s 341-197 victory, or better.

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