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Presidents, prime ministers and mayors: How email marketing is shaping the new political campaign

Barack Obama's US presidential victory in 2008 was significant for many reasons. It came during a time when the world was at a crossroads, both economically and technologically speaking. The sudden recession that hit the US and the rest of the world that year was accompanied by an explosion in the digital sector. The world was increasingly moving into the online sphere - social networking sites such a s Facebook and Myspace experienced astounding exponential growth and as smart phones and PC's became ever more common - email cemented its place as the primary means of digital communication.
Presidents, prime ministers and mayors: How email marketing is shaping the new political campaign
Obama was able to capitalise on this particular time in history. People were hungry for political change but the world was also changing - and a changing world meant changing the way to market a campaign. Obama's campaign is remembered as one of the first political campaigns to employ the digital world of communication and specifically email marketing as part of a campaign. Obama's digital campaign, although perhaps not the first of its kind, was certainly the biggest up to that point. By harnessing the power of email, Obama was able to directly reach out to millions of potential voters and campaign donors - who helped him raise an estimated $500m in funds.

A new trend in political campaigning

Since Obama's momentous victory in 2008, other political leaders have followed suit. Now in 2012, the mayor of London, Boris Johnson, is using all aspects of digital marketing strategies to flesh out his re-election campaign. While social networks now play a bigger role than they did in 2008 - they are still trumped by email when it comes to direct communication. Johnson's "Back Boris" 2012 campaign is currently managing a blog as well as a presence on social media, but to tie in all these efforts, they are making use of a potent email campaign.

Email campaigns work for politicians for a variety of reasons - in the same way they work for businesses and brands. Emails can be highly personalised when making use of a managed, profiled database. Obama reportedly has a subscribed email database of about 13 million subscribers. That is an immense amount - but with a profiled database built up by excellent data capturing, a personalised campaign can still be tailored in order to target specific groups of people. And when specific people are presented with the information they want to be informed about - politicians as well as marketers have found that they are much more likely to take note.

The power of email marketing

The latest politician to utilise email as part of their campaign is current French president Nicolas Sarkozy. His newest mailer was sent out to his subscribers on the day he announced his candidacy. It is a direct, clear message - complete with an image of Sarkozy's actual signature.

Sarkozy, like Johnson and Obama is also campaigning for re-election and has thus learnt from past election campaign strategies. The fact that these politicians are still relying on a strong email campaign shows that email works -to rally voters, gain new ones and as a portal for donations from the public.

The immediate, personalised nature of emails make them the perfect way for politicians to effectively communicate news on election progress as well as their policies.

28 Feb 2012 11:50



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