Politics

GOP needs to wake up and develop an effective social media strategy

Dear Reince Priebus [chair of the Republican National Committee] – Will you stop “robo calling” my house on behalf of the Republican National Committee?  Will you stop sending me this series of disjointed email messages begging for my support of everything from  Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch and Gov. Scott Walker in Wisconsin to the Vice President’s most recent foot-in-mouth episode?

 While you are at it, please let Angela Meyers know that the practice of her forwarding your email to me with a cover note won’t work on me either. Frankly, that message is insulting to our collective intelligence.  You have made your point that President Obama and his campaign team are leveraging every opportunity they can create to raise money for his “money machine,” including surfacing George Clooney as a shill for campaign donations.

 So many of us understand that the President and his team have done all that they could to “give away the store” to every special interest group they can embrace in order to gain funds for the fall campaign cycle. It’s not lost on many of us that these “street tactics” are demeaning to the Office of the President.  I get it. Really I do.

You can stop all of this. I am not going to donate to the GOP and the effort to defeat President Obama until someone over at the GOP or Mitt Romney’s camp wakes up to the absolute urgency to build an effective marketing strategy to win the White House in 2012.

I have no desire (and neither do any of my colleagues and friends) to see my hard-earned dollars flushed down the toilet based on the tactics deployed during the primary season. Having written this column about GOP outreach for nearly six months, I can now report that have seen no sign that anybody within the GOP and/or the Romney camp truly understands that Team Obama is doing exactly what they did to win the White House in the last election again in this election. 

The GOP strategy is severely flawed and dated.  Running  billions of dollars in ads on network and spot television between now and the election is reckless at a time when every data point documents that these platforms continue to lose viewership on a month-to-month basis. You ask me to contribute to a media plan that is lining the  P&Ls of the major networks  and will accomplish nothing.  I am not that stupid.  No one seems to have studied the strategy and tactics that provided candidate Obama to amass a legion of online supporters that generated over $500 million in campaign financing in the last election. 

Can you please explain how you are going to deal with the statistics below?

 Are you folks that ignorant to believe that social media and the Internet will play no role in electing or reelecting the next president? Tell me that there are some folks inside of the brain trust for our candidate and party that are smarter than that. Where are the ideas? Who’s got the plan?

Facebook Friends

·       Mitt Romney – 1,640,205 

·       President  Barack Obama – 26,125,553 

Twitter Followers

·       Mitt Romney – 462,716

·       President Obama – 14,677,585

·       Ann Romney – 40,309

·       First Lady Michelle Obama – 781,951

I am no math major, but I can work a calculator.  Sitting a little over six months from Election Day, President Obama has a 16-fold lead over Mitt Romney in Facebook friends  and a 31-fold lead  in Twitter Followers.  First Lady Michelle Obama, a relative newcomer to the social media scene, has a 19-fold lead in Twitter Followers over Ann Romney.  Those that are in a comatose- like denial state will make comments that “the data isn’t correct,” “the Internet audience and social media community is a left wing conspiracy” and my favorite “these people don’t really vote.”

Please tell me that there are folks in our party that are just as frustrated as my colleagues and I about the lack of a data driven, methodical , rational and informed marketing and media strategy .

We have all been duped into believing that the stump speeches and frequent appearances on morning talk shows will carry the day for the Republicans on Election Day.  We have been lead to believe that spending billions of dollars on TV commercials in battleground states is the secret weapon. Sheer insanity.  There are even some that are hoping for a “surprise” that will change the dynamics and results of this race.  Maybe a Supreme Court ruling overturning  ObamaCare will do the trick.  

There will be no spontaneous reversal of fortune.

The hundred-plus professionals hunkered down in the bunker in Chicago are executing a online media strategy flawlessly on a brand (our president) that has visible flaws.  These folks have studied data until they are bleary-eyed. They are a case study for leveraging every tool within the Internet kit to compete effectively. The only random element of their strategy is Joe Biden.  We are still pivoting with direct mail, 30 second spots , radio commercials and yard signs. In marketing parlance – and based on the data above — we are being crushed.  My sense is observing the strategy is that Team Obama is storing up their dollars and tactics for an intensive battle, should it be required.

From the looks of it, they may be able to keep much of their “powder” dry.  GOP email campaigns are routine and on the verge of boring.  Facebook strategy is desperately weak. I haven’t seen a consistent, hard hitting initiative leveraging new media at ANY level. Where is our bunker..? Who are the folks responsible for this disaster?  Who do we hold accountable for this embarrassment ? Beyond making the right people accountable, It’s time to rise up and withhold funding anymore foolishness until  there is a plan to change the “numbers.”

I know that a bunch of us who understand new media and have worked helping other consumer brands leverage the power of these platforms and win would be willing to build and work within bunker.  Let’s not allow this opportunity to slip away without a good fight. There is still a lot of money in the party ready to support the right strategy.

Sign Up