Marketing a Political Video
By Mark Macias
How much did you spend on your last political mailer? Does the thought of someone tossing that pamphlet in the trash still disturb you?
I’m still amazed with the number of political candidates who continue to use the postal service as part of their main communications strategy. We aren’t sending birthday and holiday cards in the mail. We don’t fax letters to constituents anymore. So why are we paying thousands of dollars to mail pamphlets that nearly every voting household will label as junk?
The worst part of this communications strategy is that you can never accurately measure its success. Regardless of the research, no one can tell you which voters took the time to read your mailer and which voters threw it away.
What if I told you your campaign could reach thousands of more voters with video and for only a fraction of that mailer budget. Your video would introduce you to voters in a personal way, give them a glimpse of how you speak and what you believe. Your video would be more entertaining and compelling with its natural sound, music and moving parts. And with the power of peer groups, there is a statistically higher chance that your video would be forwarded to undecided voters.
Even better, with a targeted social media campaign (Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, political blogs), your distribution costs are zero. And for those with an actual email-marketing budget, you can measure how many people viewed your video, forwarded it or even watched it multiple times for less than a penny per video.
In the fall of 2010, I was the Communications Director for a Congressional challenger who took on a well-funded incumbent in New York. My candidate had a great story to tell. He served our country with honors in the military. He was idealistic, passionate and charismatic – traits made for TV. His narrative could never be comparatively told in a 3-fold pamphlet. His campaign bought into this video strategy and he is now representing his Congressional District in Washington, DC.
This video marketing strategy will only get better in the future. Google is now indexing its video library with key words, which means voters can see a snapshot of your video on the home page of Google.
Need more data?
Research from Nielson shows us that people are twice as likely to buy a product when video is present on a website. Consumers spend 45 percent more time on a website where video is present. And emails have a greater “click-through” rate when video is embedded into the email, according to a 2010 survey by Implix. Your website is also twice as likely to appear on the first page of Google if it has a video embedded into its code.
The Internet world is about to go through a new transformation with the introduction of 4G speed. The CEO of the fastest growing marketing company in America (according to Inc. Magazine) – Raj Prasad with WDFA Marketing – predicted last year that 4G speed will usher in a new era of productivity. He and every other techie are also predicting a drastic increase in the consumption of videos on the web since 4G speed will make it faster to upload videos.
So what does this mean for your next campaign?
It means your time to stand out with video is now. It won’t be long before your opponent discovers the benefits of video and starts bombarding email boxes with his message. When that happens it will be time to reassess strategies.
But then again, political campaigns are not exactly known for being innovative, visionary and entrepreneurial. Perhaps it will be another decade before campaigns catch on to the power of video over the web. You can only hope it’s your opponent who is late to the game.
Mark Macias is a former Executive Producer with WNBC, Senior Producer with WCBS and Special Projects Producer with NBC. He’s also the author of the communications book, Beat the Press: Your Guide to Managing the Media. Macias now consults small and large businesses on how to get publicity. You can read more on his firm at MaciasPR.