Page 1

Business901

Podcast Transcription

Implementing Lean Marketing Systems

Political Campaign Marketing Guest was Derek Pillie

Related Podcasts: What Political Campaigns can teach business, part 1 of 2 What Political Campaigns can teach business, part 2 of 2

What Political Campaigns can teach business, part 1 of 2 What Political Campaigns can teach business, part 2 of 2 Copyright Business901


Business901

Podcast Transcription

Implementing Lean Marketing Systems Derek A. Pillie has served public and political candidates for over 15 years. He has served on the staff of Indiana’s Third Congressional District, most recently as District Director for just over a decade. In that role, he oversaw Indiana operations of the office; including constituent outreach and helping taxpayers solve problems with federal agencies. He also worked on crucial economic development projects and was heavily involved with advising the office on online media and marketing decisions. After his federal service expired Derek started working at Cirrus ABS, an online marketing and technology development company. He currently manages their business development efforts. Cirrus ABS has added political campaigns to the portfolio of industries they serve since Derek joined the team, and he continues volunteer efforts on behalf of candidates he supports. Joe Dager: Derek, I'd like to welcome you, and I have to admit, it sounds like a lot of fun, and a glamorous job to be a political campaign manager. Is it? Derek Pillie: It has its upsides and its downsides, there's no doubt about it, though, probably the most fun part of working in politics and serving the public is that you get the opportunity to do lots of different things. So, if you're kind of entrepreneurial, if you like to learn a lot about a lot of different things, it's a great job, because you can dig in as much as you want on pretty much any topic, and still derive some value from that. So, yeah, it's fun. You get to meet lots of interesting people and, some good, some bad. It's one of those jobs where every day is going to be completely different. You wake up and you may have a plan for the day, and then it'll probably go sideways on you about five minutes into it. Joe: I hear a lot about the political landscape. What is meant by that? What Political Campaigns can teach business, part 1 of 2 What Political Campaigns can teach business, part 2 of 2 Copyright Business901


Business901

Podcast Transcription

Implementing Lean Marketing Systems Derek: If you want to think about it from a business standpoint, the political landscape is just basically the market, the environmental factors that you can't really control. There is going to be the demographics that you're dealing with in the district you're trying to serve. It's going to include the media, both the broadcasters and larger traditional media as well as, now, newer media like blogs and social media and websites are all becoming a bigger part of all that. It's really just going through, if you're going to do your SWOT analysis and try to figure out, what are the factors here that I can control and what can't I control? When you put all those together, that's really what comprises the political landscape. It's not necessarily a static thing. If you follow polling data, you see that changes quite often, because Americans are, I guess everybody can be fairly fickle when it comes to what they're thinking from one day to the next. But there are some constants that you have to use to put your plan together to figure out how your campaign's going to be successful. Joe: You just mentioned the polling data. Is that really prevalent, even in local elections? Or is it just used on a grand scale, like an Obama or Clinton campaign? Derek: Well, polling data, it really depends on how high up, how far down you go. Obviously, the polling is expensive. The more resources your campaign's going to have, the more relevant polling is going to be to you. Polling is, you're going to get a lot of different opinions from folks. The way I tend to view polling is that it is very valuable for testing the value your messages have. If I'm working with a candidate, and I have the opportunity to access some polling data, I'm not going to care as much about what the poll says about where my candidate is in relation to the other people running for that office. What I'm going to be more concerned about is what the folks responding to that poll say they want to hear about the most. Because we can make a lot of assumptions about what we think people care about, or what we think is important, but ultimately, for a political campaign, it's just like any other business. You can think what

What Political Campaigns can teach business, part 1 of 2 What Political Campaigns can teach business, part 2 of 2 Copyright Business901


Business901

Podcast Transcription

Implementing Lean Marketing Systems elements of your product make it superior to all of your competitors out there, but ultimately, it's up to who's buying the product to make that decision. If you don't have access to polling data, you're basically just guessing. And that's where the real value in that comes. You can decide, I've got strong opinions on 15 different positions. What are the three positions that people want to hear about the most? The other way of doing it would be, you know, you hear about candidates for larger office, kind of, shaping their opinions to match the polling data. To me, that's just a mistake. Because, ultimately, if you're going to be moving your position around to try to achieve office, particularly at a local level, then you're probably running for the wrong reasons and want to consider something else. Joe: It's really not shaping your opinion to what the voters want it's seeing that if your opinion matches to what the voters want and expanding on that. Is that a good assumption? Derek: Right. At least educating the voters about why the issues they care about, why you're in the best position to advocate for them. Ultimately, when you're talking about any size jurisdiction that you might be running for office, you're not going to match up with 95, 85, 80, 75 percent of the people on an issue, unless it's a highly localized issue. Folks have lots of different viewpoints on things. The critical thing is, there are two different things that you want to measure. You want to measure intensity, and you want to measure volume. And intensity, you may have a particular issue that, while maybe not a lot of people care about it, the folks that do care about it, care about it a lot, and they really want to see something happen. A number of years ago, a local election issue here in Fort Wayne, we had the Smith Field Airport, was a huge issue as to whether that was going to remain open or not. Ultimately, the number of people that cared about that issue was not substantial. It was mostly people that use the airport, people that lived in the area and had concerns about what was going to happen to the airport if it wasn't an airport anymore.

What Political Campaigns can teach business, part 1 of 2 What Political Campaigns can teach business, part 2 of 2 Copyright Business901


Business901

Podcast Transcription

Implementing Lean Marketing Systems But, just because that number was small, they still had an amazing impact, because they got organized. They were very involved, they were very clear in communicating what they wanted to have happen. Candidates who, number one, candidates who didn't have an opinion on the issue needed to get an opinion on the issue really fast. Those that did have an opinion, they talked about it, because those folks wanted to hear what they had to say. You may choose what messages you're communicating to those audiences. If you have a low range of people that are actually involved, but a high intensity, that's going to leave you to communicate that message via more targeted media, that's going to reach that audience. Whereas, if you have, maybe a lower level of intensity from a broad range of people that care about an issue. Right now, based on what we're seeing in the media, that spending is a huge issue for folks, government spending, taxes and those sorts of issues. Those are issues you're going to talk about in a more broader sense, a media that's going to reach a wider range of people. Because you're going to get more value for that, because you know more people care about that, and care about your views. Whether they agree with your views or the other, you want to try to position it so that you're going to capture as many of them as possible. If you're not talking about what people care about in a way that they can understand and relate to your position, then, you're not going to be very successful. That could, that's whether it's television, whether it's radio, whether it's any form of advertising. That's one of the chief lessons candidates need to learn if they want to be successful running for office. If you can't relate your position to them, you're ultimately not going to be successful. Joe: In your experience, what really separates a successful candidate versus the non-successful? Derek: It really varies, because what you'll find in the political world is that you run across all kinds of different folks that decide they want to run for office. The interesting thing about it is that they're usually What Political Campaigns can teach business, part 1 of 2 What Political Campaigns can teach business, part 2 of 2 Copyright Business901


Business901

Podcast Transcription

Implementing Lean Marketing Systems not all facing off against each other it's usually individual head to head matchups. A lot of times, what you'll find is that one style may be more successful in one area than another, or may be more successful against a particular candidate who has a different style. But, by and large, there are a couple of keys. And this is, again, consistent with anything you would see in the private sector. A successful candidate needs to have a plan. You need to understand, the political geography, like we were talking about before. You need to understand what it is you're doing and why you're doing it, and what you're hoping to achieve through this. What would you consider the parameters of success? Do you need to win? Do you need to win by a lot? Do you care about a particular issue and that's why you're running for office? Is raising the profile of that issue really your priority? Whatever those are, then you have to figure out, I know what I'm trying to achieve, and I know what the markets like, now I need to come up with a strategy to achieve my goals, using what I know about the market. How do I go about doing that? What are the next steps? That's where you figure out how much time do you spend trying to make direct voter contact, whether it's through phone calls or walking areas or, how much do you spend in terms of financial resources on advertising, on newspaper ads or magazine ads or sending out mail. There is a lot of different directions you can go. Once you've figured out what you're trying to do, you've got to figure out how much money it's going to take tp do all that. That's probably going to inform some of your decisions as far as what your tactics are going to be to implement the strategy. If you live in a smaller community that has a relatively cheap advertising rates, or maybe they have a cable system that is highly localized that you can advertise on and it doesn't cost that much, maybe that's worthwhile. If you're having trouble raising just enough money to cover your basic expenses, then that's probably going to throw that out as an option, especially if you can't get access to cheap production equipment or

What Political Campaigns can teach business, part 1 of 2 What Political Campaigns can teach business, part 2 of 2 Copyright Business901


Business901

Podcast Transcription

Implementing Lean Marketing Systems anything like that, or don't know anyone who can place an ad for you. Then you're going to have to come up with some alternate strategy. The key to any successful political campaign, or what's going to make someone successful in an environment, or what's going to make the difference for them, it's going to be having a good plan and understanding what you're trying to accomplish from the outset rather than kind of making it up as you go along. Joe: How important is fundraising in a local race, and how large of a part is it in your efforts if you're a campaign manager? Is it taking up 25, 50 percent of your time? Derek: Fundraising is always going to be important, because whatever you're going to try to do for a local campaign, it's still going to take money. The challenge local candidates often face is the fact for whatever reason people tend to care less about local elections than they do about statewide elections or provincial elections, or national elections. They tend to overlook those things. A lot of times, if you're a candidate, nine times out of 10, you're probably going to be running against somebody who's already in office. So they're going to have an advantage on you in terms of being able to raise money. Because incumbents just generally speaking have a fundraising advantage over challengers, unless that challenger has significant financial resources of their own that they can bring into the campaign. For bigger elections, the fundraising accounts are always going to be a lot higher. I've heard as high as 75, 80, 85 percent of their time. For local elections, say you're running for an office where the population involved is probably, I'll say, 100,000 or less, you're probably going to be looking at still somewhere in the neighborhood to a third to half of your time at least trying to raise the money that you need to do that. Not always but most often -- the folks that are running for these offices have full-time jobs of their own that they have to do. So what you're doing is you're really talking about how you're spending your spare time. They can't usually take off just to run for office, unless they have a really nice employer that has some interest in that. What Political Campaigns can teach business, part 1 of 2 What Political Campaigns can teach business, part 2 of 2 Copyright Business901


Business901

Podcast Transcription

Implementing Lean Marketing Systems When you're talking your spare time, you're still trying to raise quite a bit of money. Then the rest of it's going to be probably in voter contact, trying to figure out how to get in front of as many people as possible to get what you need done, to get enough people seeing what you're trying to do. Joe: I call that in a marketing sense, touch-points. What you're telling me as a political candidate I have to create a lot of touch-points. We still go back to shaking hands, kissing babies, and the old political stomping, door-to-door walks are still pretty important. Derek: Absolutely. Because it's one of the only ways you have to reach people and spend some time communicating with them specifically about what it is you're trying to do. Again we get back to the whole issue of where the markets' priorities lie. Even with the new energy you're seeing, or the new passion you're seeing for involvement in government and politics, in spite of that, in the last election, in the U.S. anyway, actual electoral participation when down, in spite of all that. You would have expected it would have gone up. It's still an issue that we're fighting. Some countries it's not as much of an issue because they have compulsory participation in the election process. Any time you're trying to get people to care about what you're trying to do, the only way you're really going to have any ability to do that, to influence them, is going to be to get in front of them, whether it's getting in front of them in person or getting them on the phone to talk to them, or getting into their mailboxes or email or whatever method or methods of communication. The old branding rule is that people don't even recognize your brand until they've seen it seven times. Political candidates have the exact same challenges. They're not going to necessarily be able to latch on to your message and understand what you're trying to do or why what you're doing, why your campaign's even relevant to them until you've had a chance to interact with them at some level. Joe: Where do you think a lot of political candidates fail in getting their message out?

What Political Campaigns can teach business, part 1 of 2 What Political Campaigns can teach business, part 2 of 2 Copyright Business901


Business901

Podcast Transcription

Implementing Lean Marketing Systems Derek: One of the biggest mistakes that candidates make is basically a lack of understanding or not taking time to understand the market they're trying to reach out to. A lot of candidates assume they can put out some very static messages and that's going to be enough to get elected. They don't understand why if they only had one touch-point, to use your term, with a potential voter, why that wasn't enough to convince them. That can kind of go a number of different directions from there. It can be a matter of assuming shaking one person's hand in their doorway and them saying thanks for stopping by means they're going to vote for them. It could be a matter of putting a bunch of money in yard signs and plastering the whole countryside with yard signs with their name on it is going to be enough to get them elected. The reality is that's just not the case. That's just not sufficient in a lot of cases. In some cases, it may be. That's where understanding your own personal brand as a candidate is really important. What I mean by that is, if you're walking into an election and you're someone who has a very high visibility in your community and you're running against some other folks that don't have as high a visibility, that people don't really know or understand, that's where the whole name identification really comes into play. The quote that really sums this up, and I wish I knew who to attribute this to, I think it was from a poll where respondents said they would rather vote for someone whose name they knew who they knew they disagreed with rather than vote for someone whose name they didn't know, whether or not they agreed or they didn't with them. They would rather take the devil they know over the devil they don't, basically. For some candidates, they can succeed in spite of the fact that they really didn't do a whole lot because they have such a powerful brand visibility as an individual. For other candidates, it can take a lot more work overcoming those challenges and if they don't understand that going into the campaign, then they're going to face a lot of problems. Joe: I think that's the difficulty you just expanded on, why it's so difficult to beat an incumbent. What Political Campaigns can teach business, part 1 of 2 What Political Campaigns can teach business, part 2 of 2 Copyright Business901


Business901

Podcast Transcription

Implementing Lean Marketing Systems Derek: Right. Exactly. Joe: How do you advise someone who’s interested in running then, but maybe not sure if it's right for them to do? Derek: If somebody comes to me and says, "I'd like to pick your brain, I'm thinking of running for office and I'm not sure whether I should do this or not," the first thing I do is I ask them why they are interested in running for office, and if they don't have a really good answer to that question, that's my first point to say, "Look, you really need to asses why you're interested in this." If it's just a matter of "Well, it's just something I've always wanted to do," that's, especially in modern politics, that, generally, is not a sufficient answer. Because there is so much more contact and so much more visibility across the board on these things that you're going to be subject to a lot more scrutiny than you might expect you would be submitted to. Not to the point where folks are going to be stalking out your house and you're going to have paparazzi taking your picture and stuff, but things that you say and the actions you take are going to have a bigger impact that you're normally used to. If it's something you've always wanted to hold elective office, it's more of an ego trip, you definitely want to reassess that and make sure there's not something more behind that. It could be your first impulse, "I've always wanted to hold office since I was a little kid, it's been a dream of mine." But as a consequence of that dream, you've developed some things you'd like to see accomplished, well, then that's fine. But that should never be really the primary reason for why you want to hold office. The next thing I ask them is if they're prepared to work, because it's not a matter of rolling out of bed, deciding you're going to be a candidate, you step through some motions and all of a sudden you're elected. There's a lot of work involved in getting your name out, and talking to people, and interacting with folks, and understanding your positions, and going through all that stuff. I realize I'm making it sound like it's a really big production and we're talking about a local election, but in the reality... I know a guy who's running for office right now. I believe the constituency is 30 to 40,000 What Political Campaigns can teach business, part 1 of 2 What Political Campaigns can teach business, part 2 of 2 Copyright Business901


Business901

Podcast Transcription

Implementing Lean Marketing Systems folks. Not a small office, but not super large, either. He spent a lot of time really trying to understand what he's getting himself into and putting together a plan and has been working it fairly consistently, I want to say, the last seven or eight months. The election is still another four or five months away for the office he's running for. He's running for an open seat so he's not running against an incumbent. He doesn't have a lot of those institutional challenges ahead of him. Because of his relative youth and the fact that he works full-time and he knew it was going to take a lot of time to do all the things he wanted to do. He just spent a tremendous amount of time working it. I think when he first announced his candidacy; a lot of folks kind of dismissed him because of his age, because of his relative inexperience. They didn't think he was going to have much of a chance. Now, so many months into this process, they're looking at him saying, "Wow. He's actually a lot better prepared than some of the other folks that are running for this office. Maybe he's got a shot at doing this." That's why I don't want to over-emphasize the importance of it, but I don't want your listeners to come away with the idea that this is just a flash in the pan kind of thing. The old P seven rules are in effect. Prior proper planning prevents pitifully poor performance. It's true in business and it's especially true in politics. If you think about it, this is the analogy I use that really helps drive it home for folks in the private sector is that politics is no different than any other retail operation, except the difference is your store is only open for a certain number of hours one day out of the year, and your job is to get as many people to come in and buy your product over a competitor's product in that time frame. Once you start from that premise, everything else flows from that. Anything you would do to try to manage a retail enterprise or launch a retail product, you're going to use the exact same concept, and you’re just going to tailor them differently understanding your products only going to be on sale for one day. What Political Campaigns can teach business, part 1 of 2 What Political Campaigns can teach business, part 2 of 2 Copyright Business901


Business901

Podcast Transcription

Implementing Lean Marketing Systems Joe: What is really different between a political campaign and a marketing campaign? Derek: The rules. The nice thing about the private sector is, while you still have... There are regulations. There are things you can do and things you can't do. When you're talking about political campaigns, they tend to be much more tightly regulated than the private sector. Understanding those rules and understanding the fact that you're going to face a lot of scrutiny for your ability to comply with those rules is a factor that you don't normally have to consider as much with a retail operation. That's probably the biggest challenge. I'd say secondary to that is just the fact that because you are looking at a much different time frame in the sense that it's not an ongoing business enterprise -- it's basically a one day sale, for lack of a better term -- momentum and building up to that event are critically important. That's why when we were having our discussion about polling earlier I don't care as much about the horse race comparison. Who's leading who in such and such a race, if there's a poll available to you because ultimately that information is irrelevant. The real question is what is the answer to that question on the day of the election, not at some point before the election. That is why you have a lot of times candidates who don't necessarily do well early on, still wind up winning at the end. Because they have an understanding that their race is about building up to the number of voters they need to vote for them on Election Day, not necessarily who in that polling sample is expressing their preference for at that time. I would say between understanding the rules of the game and understanding the role, momentum and building up, the time frame difference are really the two biggest differences in political campaigns. And then, the third kind of subordinate to that would be the media coverage. There's a lot more media coverage of political campaigns even at the local level. Then there are typical marketing efforts. That's both good and bad because you think a lot of times people assumed the role of the media is to cover what's happening in civic life.

What Political Campaigns can teach business, part 1 of 2 What Political Campaigns can teach business, part 2 of 2 Copyright Business901


Business901

Podcast Transcription

Implementing Lean Marketing Systems You would assume there would be more coverage of what you're doing. You obviously feel what you are doing is important. You would hope the media feel the same way. They don't always do so. But you can always depend on them to provide a certain base amount of coverage of what's going on and making sure that you're cognizant of that. When there are opportunities to present your opinion particularly if the media is going to be there if you are not available to them, then that's going to factor against you. Because reporters are human whether we'd like it or not and they are going to make decisions about how they cover candidates that could impact how people perceive that coverage when they read it or view it or however they digest that information. Joe: Derek, is the entire political campaign orchestrated? Should I really sit back and think that everything that happens has been planned? Derek Pillie: Well, I think, in, for political strategists, they would love it if everything worked out according to the plan. Unfortunately, the reality is quite different. We had talked earlier about how, in this line of work, you can have your whole day planned and then, five minutes into it, everything changes on you. There are a lot of variables when you're talking about a political campaign. The biggest variable, of course, is going to be your opponent. You know, you can't necessarily control what your opponent's going to do. In some cases, you're going to have to respond to what they're going to do. Most political candidates will have some understanding of their opponent's capabilities, what their strengths are and what their weaknesses are, and what they can expect they're going to be talking about, and should be able to control for that, to the best that they can. They should try to shape up what they're talking about or frame up what they're talking about in such a way that it steers the direction to a point, to a discussion that's going to be favorable to them. If you think about it from a military standpoint, you want to claim the high ground. You want to be able to defend the position that is going to be most practically advantageous to you. What Political Campaigns can teach business, part 1 of 2 What Political Campaigns can teach business, part 2 of 2 Copyright Business901


Business901

Podcast Transcription

Implementing Lean Marketing Systems Another variable that you cannot control for is just kind of what's going on. You may have a very clear idea that six months out from the election, the budget is what's most important -- taxes and whatnot. So, you may organize your campaign completely around that idea and talking about those issues. Then four or five weeks before the election, there's a major natural disaster or something like that, and how the candidates respond to that event is probably going to shape the voters' perceptions of them on Election Day, because it's much more immediate to them. It's probably still going to be in the backs of their minds, it's going to be something that obviously attacks everybody in the community. For a local election if somebody is seen as not understanding voter perceptions have changed, you know, in terms of what's important. They're not going to be received as well by the voters. For candidates who have enough flexibility, and campaigns that have enough flexibility to accommodate those changes, they're going to be far more successful. You see that a lot more, probably, in larger scale elections, at least, you would notice it more in larger scale elections like national elections or anything where you're talking about 250,000 and more people involved in a jurisdiction. It can be just as important in local elections. It could be something as simple as a fire and what the response was to that. If they're your company, if you're in the private sector and you're running for office, and your company was involved in some kind of a scandal or did something that was really positive in the community, both of those things can affect you either way. I mean the planning is important. The planning is going to go a long way to making sure you're successful. But every campaign is very organic and a lot of that has to do with things that are outside of the campaign's control that play a significant role in how the voters are going to perceive us. Joe: Part of the plan needs to be monitoring the political landscape? Derek: Absolutely. What Political Campaigns can teach business, part 1 of 2 What Political Campaigns can teach business, part 2 of 2 Copyright Business901


Business901

Podcast Transcription

Implementing Lean Marketing Systems Joe: We hear the words "negative advertising" all the time. Does that really work well? Derek: It does work, because if it didn't work, people wouldn't be spending the money on it. They've got results that demonstrate that negative ads accomplish their objectives. Normally, those objectives are tied towards lowering a voter's opinion of someone, whether it's lowering the opinion of their stature, lowering their authority on a particular topic. The degree of their effectiveness really depends on the candidate's ability to inoculate themselves against negative advertising. This is where planning comes into play. If you understand where an opponent may try to attack you, you know, where your weaknesses are, then you need to build those weaknesses into strengths in advance of the attack. A great example, again, I'd say in a local election we've had, again talking about spending, and this is something I talk about, primary elections. In the States, the parties have a primary election to decide which candidates are going to represent that party in the general election. I love primary elections for a number of reasons. They give you an opportunity to test out themes, to test out your operations and a number of other things. A lot of people, particularly folks that finance campaigns, tend to think they're a waste of time. I think whatever money you wind up investing in a primary election is going to work out in spades for you when the general election comes around, because you'll have an opportunity to identify yourself with the themes and the issues that you think are going to be important. Locally, we've had candidates who didn't have a primary election running against another candidate who did. He was really able to define and shape the views of that candidate on certain issues. As the other candidate tries to attack the candidate who did have the primary on those issues, it's mostly spending and taxes, those negative ads aren't nearly as effective as they would like, because the first candidate had built up a reputation in a positive manner talking about their authority on those issues.

What Political Campaigns can teach business, part 1 of 2 What Political Campaigns can teach business, part 2 of 2 Copyright Business901


Business901

Podcast Transcription

Implementing Lean Marketing Systems While they can be effective, their effectiveness is really going to be determined by how much work you did trying to understand what's available to them, and some aren't going to be. You could have a negative ad run on a topic that isn't very salient or very relevant to a lot of the voters, and it can completely backfire on them. In the local elections, I really caution people against using those tactics unless... I don't like them, period. You're not going to find a lot of political consultants that will tell you that. They just make my skin crawl. I understand that sometimes they're necessary. I still am of the belief that there are a lot of times you can overcome whatever challenge is in front of you without using them, and they really should only be used as a last resort, because they are going to come back, and it's going to affect your credibility afterwards. People are going to perceive you differently because you went that direction. You have to decide whether, as a candidate, you want to be tagged with that stigma or not. I've worked in local election races that were extremely close, that never went negative at all. There are closer elections, but you feel a lot better about yourself at the end of the day, too. But there's no question that, if used properly, negative ads can be blisteringly effective. Joe: But also, on the other hand, when I take a look at, listen to you talk, thinking as a campaign manager, if I had good answers to the negative advertising, I'd come out smelling like a rose. That negative advertising stops pretty quick. Derek: Particularly if you primed it in advance of the negative ad effort coming out. That's really the key issue. Because, again, if we go back to talking about the political landscape, if you build yourself up, if you build up your hill, so to speak, on that issue that you may get attacked on eventually, then they have a lot more work to knock you back down to the same level they're on. It's almost like a good preventative defense is actually going to be more effective than the offense. You have to lay the groundwork for that in advance. What Political Campaigns can teach business, part 1 of 2 What Political Campaigns can teach business, part 2 of 2 Copyright Business901


Business901

Podcast Transcription

Implementing Lean Marketing Systems That's, again, where planning comes in. If you haven't really assessed a solid assessment on where your strengths and weaknesses are, particularly as they relate to the folks you're hoping to represent, then, you're leaving yourself wide open to one of those attacks if you've got someone who's not averse to using it, and you're going to have to play catch up. The thing about the public that is very difficult for folks running for office that have never done it before, the thing that's difficult for them to understand is that they don't know you as well as you know you. The assumption that, or the trap, I guess, that a lot of candidates fall into, is that, "Well, nobody is going to believe that about me. They know that's not right about me." I experienced it myself when I ran for office. I ran in a small caucus, so it was only a couple dozens of people that were actually involved in voting. I was hearing all sorts of crazy stories about stuff that I believed and stuff I didn't believe. Difficult to hear that, to think that people actually believe that when, in your own mind, you've developed a reputation that is something different from that. But most people don't pay attention to that. If you don't understand that going into that, then you've got to wise up really quick. The more you can do to be talking about these issues and building yourself up, it's going to be much harder for somebody to take you down. Joe: I want to just try my own little poll with you. Derek: Sure. Joe: I'm going to name out, like, 10 or 12 different items, and you rate them in their effectiveness in a local political campaign. They're pretty general, but I just want to try it? Let's go from one to 10. Which you think being the most effective being 10 and the least effective, of course, being 1. They're types of voter contact activities. Derek: Sure. What Political Campaigns can teach business, part 1 of 2 What Political Campaigns can teach business, part 2 of 2 Copyright Business901


Business901

Podcast Transcription

Implementing Lean Marketing Systems Joe: So, direct mail. Derek: Direct mail, I'm going to probably put it at... for local elections, I'm going to put it as an eight. Joe: Door to door? Derek: 10. Joe: Phoning. Derek: I would probably put phoning, it's going to depend on your volunteer base, but I would say probably a seven. It's kind of like direct mail, depends on your finances. But I would say probably just after direct mail, seven. Joe: Endorsements. Derek: Again, it's going to depend on the endorsement. But more often than not, I'm going to put it at the lower end, probably two or three. The one exception to that is that if you can get somebody for example, I grew up in Philadelphia, back when Dick Vermeil was coaching the Eagles. Everybody loved Dick Vermeil, he was a hero. If you can get somebody in your community that has that kind of a reputation, then that endorsement is going to carry a lot more weight. If you're talking about an organization endorsing, it's going to carry weight but with a much smaller audience. That's why I kind of downplay endorsements. Still they have a role. They're just not nearly as important as the personal contact. Joe: Star power is important there? Derek: Star power or just relevance.

What Political Campaigns can teach business, part 1 of 2 What Political Campaigns can teach business, part 2 of 2 Copyright Business901


Business901

Podcast Transcription

Implementing Lean Marketing Systems Joe: Relevance, if I'm running on an issue that's particular to a certain area, an endorsement by a supporting party of that target message is... Derek: It's one of the things where, we were talking about whether it's a message that you are going to broadcast to a very targeted audience or a message you're going to broadcast to a broad audience. Endorsements are great in that real, targeted niche message area. When you're talking about from a broad standpoint, generally speaking, it's not going to be as important unless, say for a city or a town, the mayor is really popular and the mayor is going to endorse it. Well, then hey, you want to take that to the bank and run with it because that's more relevant to folks. Joe: Talking in small groups like the PTAs, church groups. Derek: Oh absolutely. The tough thing about those is that you want to do a real good assessment on making sure the folks that you're talking to are either mostly in your constituency or have access to broadcast what you're talking about to people in your constituency. For example, a lot of times when you go to knocking door-to-door in different neighborhoods, you're focusing on people that you know are going to vote and that you think you can have a chance to influence. Whenever we're doing door knocking in a neighborhood, I always make sure the neighborhood association president is on the list. Whether or not they're an active voter or whether or not they're someone who might be open to supporting our viewpoint based on the party affiliation, it's still someone that needs to know you're interested in hearing what they have to say, that is someone that can provide you with valuable information about the community and will be impressed by the fact that you stopped and talked to them because a lot of times they don't get nearly as much engagement. Anytime that you can get in front of a group of people that you know is interested in a particular topic that has salience or compatibility with a message that you're trying to get out, that's going to be probably a nine on my scale.

What Political Campaigns can teach business, part 1 of 2 What Political Campaigns can teach business, part 2 of 2 Copyright Business901


Business901

Podcast Transcription

Implementing Lean Marketing Systems If it's something that's just a general community group, then probably more like a five or a six, but still important. Joe: How about preset events? I know you have to be at the debates and things like that, but a preset event, a fair or something along that line, some type of event. Derek: I would probably put that at a four, if you don't have other stuff going on that you can be doing, I don't necessarily rank it as nearly as important. It is a good way to use the retail equivalent, I call it kind of shopping at Wal-Mart, because instead of having to go out and find all these people and talk to, they're all there and you can talk to them all in one place. The negatives, which is why I rank it a little bit lower than some of the direct contact activity, is that number one, nine times out of ten, people are going there for some other purpose, they're not going there to see you. So you're trying to distract them from whatever it is they're trying to accomplish. Secondly, usually these events aren't terribly well targeted and you have a hard time identifying whether or not the folks that are at the event are voters or not, and number two, are voters that can vote for you. A lot of times these events pull folks from a wide geographic area and they may not be in their area. That said, I still encourage people to go to them because that kind of word of mouth whisper down the lane, oh, I saw so and so, he was actually at a fair. That makes an impression on them. It's good from a word of mouth whisper down the lane kind of thing. It's not necessarily going to persuade a lot of people to vote for you or give you an opportunity to deliver your message. It's just going to amp up your visibility. Joe: How about created events, your own events, where would you rate that? Derek: If you feel very strongly, you can get earned media from creating an event, in the sense that, folks from local media outlets are going to cover and give you an opportunity to deliver your message. I would say that I put them, probably, like an eight or a 9. Anytime you can get free press and have an What Political Campaigns can teach business, part 1 of 2 What Political Campaigns can teach business, part 2 of 2 Copyright Business901


Business901

Podcast Transcription

Implementing Lean Marketing Systems opportunity to deliver your message and gain credibility on the issues you're running on, that is huge. It's huge from the standpoint that it improves your credibility with folks that you're trying to get to vote for you. Number two, it gives you visibility to potential donors. And again, we're talking about the challenges, really, to fundraising. A lot of times, fundraising tends to follow activity. If you're perceived as having a very active campaign and a very credible campaign, that can attract that kind of attention from local media, then it's going to encourage donors who may not have necessarily been willing to spend money on a local election. To say, "This person's got their act together they know what they're doing. They're able to get some media attention." And it becomes something you can add. If you think about it from a marketing standpoint, when you're approaching a fundraiser to give you money to, you're basically it's like approaching an investor. You're asking that person to invest in your campaign. Well, you're going to present that potential investor with a prospectus of some sort to give them, why they should invest in you. Any kind of press coverage of an event like that is something you can kind of add to your prospectus, to give your campaign more credibility, more legitimacy, to help convince that potential investor to put money into your campaign. From that standpoint, it's great, because it can accomplish a number of things at once. But I want to emphasize that it's only an eight or a nine if you're certain that people are going to come out and see what it is you're doing. I've seen a lot of candidates who have tried to put events like that together that got zero coverage, as a result of it. Not just candidates, but organizations and whatnot. Again, planning, knowing your market, knowing the reporters involved. Don't be afraid to, necessarily, ask. If you're trying to evaluate that, don't be afraid to ask an assignment editor or a news desk editor, what is their criterion? What would be a factor in having them come out and cover?

What Political Campaigns can teach business, part 1 of 2 What Political Campaigns can teach business, part 2 of 2 Copyright Business901


Business901

Podcast Transcription

Implementing Lean Marketing Systems You can't control all that stuff. If you're having a press conference, and you're setting it up at the ideal time to have as many people come out and cover it as possible and you set it up so it's not in a traditional press conference, but actually going to give them some really good visuals that they could use on television news or make a good photo for the paper. If there's a big fire that happens at the time of your event, they're not going to cover it. You're subject, a little bit, to the whims of the environment that you're operating in. You can have the most perfectly planned and executed event and get zero out of it, just because of the fact that something else happened that was more important than what you're doing. That's the downside of it. Joe: I'm going to ask you four paid-media questions real quick, and rate them. Television. Derek: Television in local races, again, we're talking probably sub-100,000 people in the jurisdiction, I'm going to say it's probably a two or a three, unless you can really hyper-target it. That's where, if something about your personal brand... For example, if you have some local sports celebrity, like, you were Mr. Basketball for your state or something like that, or you played on a championship team that's really well-known in your community. Then advertising on outlets that are going to emphasize that, where people are going to be receptive to that, that you're running for office, is going to be really important. Like, and local sports programming. Again where local, dedicated television delivery, like cable systems can actually be surprisingly affordable and effective. You really have to understand. I will say this. I've seen this in private-sector marketing as much as I do in political marketing. Advertising a product, whether it's a political candidate or whatever, on a show and if the demographics aren't aligned, it can be absolutely the worst thing, because it just makes you look stupid. You have to be really careful with that, but it can be really effective. But for the most part, it's not going to be terribly. I would say probably a two or a three. Joe: Radio.

What Political Campaigns can teach business, part 1 of 2 What Political Campaigns can teach business, part 2 of 2 Copyright Business901


Business901

Podcast Transcription

Implementing Lean Marketing Systems Derek: Again, radio offers you greater ability to demographically target, which is important. Radio listeners do tend to be voters more than not. Again, if you can match the radio up with a good target demographic to a message that you're trying to deliver to voters that you're trying to capture, I'd say probably a four or a five, maybe even as high as a six. If you can get that targeting down really good, I know you can keep the production costs down, because the issue with television and radio is always going to be cost. If you can keep your production costs down, then the amount of money that you're spending on it can be worth its weight in gold, if it's targeted right. Joe: What about print, newspaper, magazines? Derek: I hate doing this, but I have not seen a really effective case for a lot of print media applications than local campaigns. A lot of that is I think, in order for print media to be successful, there has to be some kind of a takeaway. You know, the most successful advertisers in print media, in my opinion, are retailers, a lot, because they have coupons. It's gotten to the point where people actually get the newspaper to get the coupons, which is great. I think in newspaper advertising you don't get a lot of control over where you show up, unless you shell out a lot of money. A lot of times, your creative isn't sufficient to really draw attention to what you're doing. I tend to put newspaper advertising more like a one or a two. There are some creative things you can do with newspaper advertising now with, like, Post-It notes on the front. I know folks are doing that. That's useful to remind people, like, a get out the vote mechanism, or if there's something critical going on. I mean, you have to plan it out in advance, but if there's something you want to call attention to, particularly, and have your name associated with something going on that date, it can be useful. But, by and large, this is where... again, you're talking about prioritization. If you have limited financial resources, I would pour every cent into direct mail over newspaper advertising in a heartbeat.

What Political Campaigns can teach business, part 1 of 2 What Political Campaigns can teach business, part 2 of 2 Copyright Business901


Business901

Podcast Transcription

Implementing Lean Marketing Systems Joe: How important is your web page now? Derek: I'd say web pages are important. Again, it's going to depend on the resources you have. But what's great about websites in general is that it gives you a place that you own, that you control, where you can put all the marketing properties you're using to good use. They're also useful in the sense that websites give you an opportunity to localize fairly effectively for people that are searching for topics related to your campaign. If you invest some time, learn a little bit about how to do search engine optimization from a very basic level, you don't have to do a lot. Anything that you do on your website, it's going to be a great storehouse of information about your campaign. It's one of those things that gives you more legitimacy. I would be surprised if you approach a political donor that doesn't ask you where your website is these days. I mean, it's just something that you kind of have to have. Obviously, you want it to look professional. I'd say, the amount of resources you devote to it is going to be directly proportional to the amount of time that you have. Or if you have a volunteer that can put into it. If you don't have a lot of time, then putting together just a basic landing page, at least it's something. But you need to have something associated with your campaign online otherwise you're not going to be able to raise any money, period. From a value standpoint, it just gives you a great platform. I would say your website is in the eight to nine or maybe the ten category depending on the technical sophistication of the electorate in your market. If you're running for local office in an area that doesn't have very good Internet access, obviously, a website is going to not be nearly as important. Still important, but not nearly as important as an area that's got all broadband access and is highly connected -- or even with cell phones. It's funny, because as much as the use is on the rise, people don't always think of it, you know, making sure that you have that if somebody's searching online on their phone. Just because they don't have

What Political Campaigns can teach business, part 1 of 2 What Political Campaigns can teach business, part 2 of 2 Copyright Business901


Business901

Podcast Transcription

Implementing Lean Marketing Systems Internet access at home doesn't mean they don't have a smart phone for browsing the Internet. So, that's an important factor to keep in mind, too. Joe: Social media. I'm going to just narrow it down to, like, four areas, or four different categories and you can just kind of pick a number of how they interact with each other. The first one I'll use is, can LinkedIn be used effective? Derek: I think LinkedIn has a really good use case in political areas, because it's a great way to get more information about the topics that you want to run on, or get more expert opinions. The question and answer features are not used nearly as effectively as it could be by folks. It provides a great way to identify potential supporters based on relationships. I think, if you're running for office, LinkedIn is a pretty solid investment of your time, even if you're not going to get a paid subscription to it. Definitely, set up... If you don't set up a profile there, you're just messing up a huge opportunity to get information for free, essentially, because all you need is your email list. If you're a political campaign worth its salt, you're emailing, you're collecting as many email addresses as you can. Being able to connect with those people online, number one, if they're willing to connect with you, then you know you've got someone who's at least willing to expose their network to you, if they're not necessarily an open networker. Which, I mean, for some people, it's a huge deal. It gives you access to more folks that you can reach out to without having to essentially pay anything, and gauge your supporter networks. So, I'd say LinkedIn, I mean, that should be a no-brainer. I mean, that should just be a nine or a ten. Joe: What about Facebook? Derek: Facebook is important just because of the volume of people on there. I mean, that's just a 10, too. I mean, it's free. When there's no resource issue involved, and you're not trying to figure out how much money you need to make it work, and it doesn't take a lot of time to set up a Facebook page. I'll What Political Campaigns can teach business, part 1 of 2 What Political Campaigns can teach business, part 2 of 2 Copyright Business901


Business901

Podcast Transcription

Implementing Lean Marketing Systems emphasize, set up a page, don't set up a profile. A lot of campaigns make that mistake. If Facebook ever does start enforcing its rules, then there's going to be a lot of folks in a lot of hurt. But set up a page, don't set up a profile, and use it as an opportunity. I mean, the opportunity to engage with folks on social media in general is amazing. But the sheer volume of people on Facebook is just an opportunity you can't pass up. So, that's going to be kind of a must have. That's got to be a 10. Joe: Can a politician use Twitter effectively? Derek: Oh, absolutely. I think that, again, in local elections, because, particularly if you're Twitter savvy, you know, the funny thing is, with Twitter, we go back to that whole discussion about reach versus intensity. With Twitter, you may not have the range like that you have on Facebook, in terms of the number of users in your jurisdiction that are using it. But, the intensity of the Twitter user base is so high that when somebody uses Twitter, users flock to them. It's absolutely amazing phenomena. If you're a candidate for office, and you're on Twitter and you know, essentially, how to communicate with folks on Twitter, do not be afraid to use it and use it as a way to exchange information. It's a great way you can broadcast information. If you haven't heard of hashtags, learn about them. Learn how to use them, because it's a great way to penetrate communities with your message that can result in more amplification, which can, hopefully, get more people supporting being involved with your campaign. But it is, I would say, it's not nearly as important as LinkedIn or Facebook is, but it's... I wouldn't say, work on a Twitter profile before putting a website up, but I would definitely put it in the eight to nine category. Joe: Is there anything that I left out of the conversation that you would like to mention?

What Political Campaigns can teach business, part 1 of 2 What Political Campaigns can teach business, part 2 of 2 Copyright Business901


Business901

Podcast Transcription

Implementing Lean Marketing Systems Derek: We covered a lot of different topics there and political campaigns are one of those things where, once you start getting into them, there are a lot of things you may wind up getting into that we haven't even, touched on yet. Like you said, it's an organic environment there are a lot of variables that you don't control. Don't be afraid to reach out and ask for help. It's one of those things where political campaign, a lot of folks think it's just a matter of going out and filing and running for office, and walking door to door. The reality is there are a lot of people out there that may be willing to help you. You just need to ask them. That's the biggest challenge that any volunteer or organization faces is, they just don't ask for help enough. If you give folks the opportunity to do it, you might be surprised at the result. Political campaigns, even at the local level, can be made extremely easier if you have many hands helping put all the stuff together. It may take a little bit more effort to coordinate the resources, and if you get somebody to help you with that, even better. Any help that you can get, when you can go through a neighborhood faster exponentially, the more people that are involved. You might think it's just like, well, we're cutting the time in half, or we're cutting the time in a third, based on the number of people you have. The efficiencies you gain by having more people involved and having them being able to steer you through doors where there are people that want to talk to you, it's going to make the time you're spending in that activity that much more effective. You're not wasting time knocking on doors that nobody's at, and that such a thing. Get people involved. Don't be afraid to reach out to people to ask questions. You want to be sure it's someone you can trust, but there's a number of resources in any community that can provide perspective on how things have been done in the past. While technology and everything seems to be moving so fast nowadays, there is something to be said for getting a historical perspective on how elections have been contested in a community in the past, and What Political Campaigns can teach business, part 1 of 2 What Political Campaigns can teach business, part 2 of 2 Copyright Business901


Business901

Podcast Transcription

Implementing Lean Marketing Systems understanding the different variables involved. As different as things are in Northeastern Indiana today, they were when I first started working in this area a decade ago, I can tell you that there are some things about the elections that you can trace the roots back to 20 years before I even moved here. Finding the people in the community that are willing to share that information with you and provide their advice, as long as you feel comfortable, you can trust them, and build that relationship up. Don't be afraid to seek them out, because they may wind up giving you information that will go a long way to making sure you don't make a mistake. Joe: If someone wants to reach out to you and ask you a question, what's the best way to get a hold of you? Derek: I'm available via social media. I'm on LinkedIn. Most all of my social media is my first initial and my last name. So, it's D-P-I-L-L-I-E. Just send me a message on Twitter or LinkedIn, and I can accept messages on LinkedIn from anybody. Even if you're not in my network, I can still accept a message from you. Feel free to reach out to me, either of those channels. Or just search for me online. I'm not shy. You can find me pretty easily. Joe: I'd like to thank you very much, Derek. I very much appreciated everything. This podcast will be available, of course, in the Business901 iTunes store, and on the Business901 blog site. So, thanks again, Derek. Derek: Great! Thanks for the opportunity, Joe. I appreciate it.

What Political Campaigns can teach business, part 1 of 2 What Political Campaigns can teach business, part 2 of 2 Copyright Business901


Business901

Podcast Transcription

Implementing Lean Marketing Systems Joseph T. Dager Ph: 260-438-0411 Fax: 260-818-2022 Email: jtdager@business901.com Web/Blog: http://www.business901.com Twitter: @business901 What others say: In the past 20 years, Joe and I have collaborated on many difficult issues. Joe's ability to combine his expertise with "out of the box" thinking is unsurpassed. He has always delivered quickly, cost effectively and with ingenuity. A brilliant mind that is always a pleasure to work with." James R. Joe Dager is President of Business901, a progressive company providing direction in areas such as Lean Marketing, Product Marketing, Product Launches and Re-Launches. As a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt, Business901 provides and implements marketing, project and performance planning methodologies in small businesses. The simplicity of a single flexible model will create clarity for your staff and as a result better execution. My goal is to allow you spend your time on the need versus the plan. An example of how we may work: Business901 could start with a consulting style utilizing an individual from your organization or a virtual assistance that is well versed in our principles. We have capabilities to plug virtually any marketing function into your process immediately. As proficiencies develop, Business901 moves into a coach’s role supporting the process as needed. The goal of implementing a system is that the processes will become a habit and not an event.

Business901

Podcast Opportunity

Expert Status

What Political Campaigns can teach business, part 1 of 2 What Political Campaigns can teach business, part 2 of 2 Copyright Business901

Political Campaign Marketing  

Political veteran, Derek Pillie discusses campaign marketing on the Business901 podcast.

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you