Top Ten New Year’s Resolutions for GOP Consultants
Love them or hate them, make them or break them, the turn of the calendar page from December to January inspires many of us to make resolutions, positive changes we believe will make a difference.
As consultants, we took a hard look at our industry and developed the following resolutions we believe are important steps to winning in 2019 and 2020 and laying the groundwork for future victories.
“We all start somewhere. Majority Strategies has built an entire division – Majority Hunter – to help new operatives get their start and more experienced operatives grow. As consultants, we need to commit to helping up-and-coming operatives gain the experience they will need to win races in ’19, ’20 and beyond.”
– Brett Buerck, CEO
“Too often, we see vendors of all mediums, from print to digital, touting their effectiveness as a ‘boutique shop.’ Unfortunately, while being sold on being one of a limited number of races for that vendor at the start of the campaign cycle sounds good, the reality is, their lack of experience and horsepower could come back to bite you. As consultants, we need to get real about our capacity, our ability to get the job done, and our record of being tested in the heat of a campaign cycle to ensure we’re serving in the best interests of our clients.”
Pay a Little More for a Lot Better.
“Voter contact mail for your clients needs to stand out to be effective. You’re not only competing with other campaigns, you’re competing with Madison Avenue advertising in the mailbox. So don’t try to save a few dollars by going with the cheapest size formats or paper stocks. Or worse yet, don’t try to design yourself or use your local printer for design. Instead, select a political mail consultant by comparing the breadth and quality of the creative in the samples provided by various vendors. Then demand high-end creative and be willing to pay a few more cents per piece for unique folds and distinctive die cuts.”
– Randy Kammerdiener, President and Senior National Strategist
“Anyone can make an ad appear on a mobile device. That doesn't mean people do mobile advertising well. It is important to specialize on mobile – after all, more time is spent on cell phones and tablets than desktops. Majority Strategies runs all digital advertising, but specializes in mobile. That includes creating mobile-first content, ensuring deliverability, and avoiding common pitfalls.”
– Reid Vineis, Director of Mobile Operations
“Many candidates and campaigns know they need a digital advertising component to their campaign but think they can boost some posts and it will be enough. It won’t. Like all things campaign related, a winning digital plan starts with targeting, includes creative design, and needs to be comprehensive. You need to reach your supporters and potential supporters wherever they are online, and you need to make what they see interesting and engaging.”
– Jason McBride, Senior National Strategist
More Action, Less Talk.
“You can’t escape a conversation with a consultant these days without hearing the word ‘data’ or ‘data analytics’ at least a dozen times. But that’s the problem –– most of the time it’s just words. There is a big difference between understanding the availability of data and how to turn that data into an actionable strategy. When starting any political or advocacy campaign, be sure you are working with someone who knows how to find your target audience, can explain why they are your target audience, and can verify they are actually reaching your target audience.”
– Tom Whatman, Chief Strategist
Not All Screens Are Created Equal.
“When I watch a program on my regular TV, I am usually also doing something on my laptop or phone. When I watch a program on my phone or tablet, I have headphones on. I am locked in on just that program. Why in the world would I think the creative should be the same? They are two entirely different ways to consume a product. My ads should be tailored and specific to the type of viewer AND the type of viewing they are doing.”
– Chris Faulkner, Senior National Strategist
Be Nuanced With Social Media.
"For many campaigns, the allure of using that person the candidate knows personally to run social media, including social media advertising, is enticing. Campaigns have to make sure they take a more nuanced approach to social media while still giving it a true organic feel. Boosting the wrong meme to 'friends of people who follow your page' could mean combing through 100 angry responses from people asking why they're seeing it in their newsfeed. Coordinating posts that resonate and target supporters, while running ads with data-driven messaging to select and known voters is key to building a following and giving everyone content that resonates with them."
– RJ Caster, Director of Digital Operations
Deliver a Seamless Experience.
“The best campaigns provide voters with a seamless experience that blends persuasive messaging over every medium into a uniform effort. Every single thing matters, whether you are the ‘shoe-in’ or ‘can’t win’ candidate. Every dollar, every decision, every direct mail piece, every digital ad, every mobile flight, every bit of data and targeting, and every piece of coordination and timing between print, digital, mobile and television advertising – it all works in concert to deliver more personalized and contextually relevant interactions that achieve the needed repetition to create a lasting impression.”
– Josh Kivett, National Strategist
Trust But Verify.
“Every voter contact or advertising firm today claims to be ‘data-driven.’ The reality is, while these firms are trusted as strategic partners, it is paramount that there is transparency in not only audiences and the data being used for targeting, but clear and ongoing metrics to illustrate the effectiveness of your voter contact efforts. Are your absentee push and chase efforts making an impact in boosting turnout? Are your mobile and digital ads resonating with your target audiences? At Majority Strategies, we practice full and open transparency with all our clients when it comes to data and targeting. By providing you with actionable insights into the efficacy of your voter contact initiatives, we believe that our clients are able to maximize the impact of their investment.”
– Ashley O’Rourke, Director of Analytics