Thursday, November 6, 2008

Generate Audiences Like Barack Did

Barack Obama's campaign for president is being hailed as one of the best in recent history. The timing of certain campaign activities, his ability to raise millions of dollars and cultivating one of the largest volunteer armies ever seen all have contributed to his success. Whether you voted for him or not, all of us in the marketing and advertising community should study this campaign and take away valuable lessons from it to apply to our efforts. For instance trying to attract voters is not unlike trying to attract audiences for theatre productions (which happens to be my interest). One of the things the Obama campaign did was to identify people who were registered voters in the last election but who, for some reason did not actually show up to vote. These people - obviously identified as prime targets - were then personally contacted. As we know voter turn-out hit record levels. What if we applied the same strategy to our customers - or potential customers? It's should be fairly easy to identify every theatre season subscriber and when they actually did or didn't show up for a show. I could then contact those people (who are warm and hot leads because they actually have "opted in" for my services) to find out why they didn't attend, address those issues and personally invite them to the next show for an improved experience. How many times have we tried to find new customers (or audiences) by cold calling or by otherwise blindly trying to reach as many people as possible, whether they had an interest in our product or service or not? Anyone in sales or marketing knows that a qualified lead - a warm, one - is like finding prospecting gold because it can save endless amounts of time and greatly improve the chances for a sale. And someone who has signed up for our service - or registered to vote - in the past is someone who should be contacted again. Can you say "low-hanging fruit"?

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