AMPERAGE Marketing & Fundraising

One-Minute MarketerThe Iowa Caucuses Are Today

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The Iowa Caucuses Are Today

The Iowa Caucus is tonight. Many will be glad to see it go. I’ll be glad to have all the Iowa jokes end. It’s tough here in the winter, but that is a good first test of who our nation’s best and brightest should be. I talked with people on the phone trying to convince them to caucus, but many are just not interested. No matter your party, this is where your vote really counts and you can be involved at a very grassroots level.

Here’s what I’ve learned about marketing from being involved with the caucus process:

Politics is a Local Effort

Sure there is some national press and advertising that has an impact on the politics, however, people seem to be more moved by someone earnestly asking them for support. Discussions at the front porch sway people to get involved and attend, as well as swing them from indecision to supporting one candidate.

Nothing Beats Solid Planning and Organization

You may be able to fake it some of the time, but organization and strong planning always win the day. I’ve also learned that great organization leads to great decision-making and high-performance–especially when it is tense. When all the details are taken care of, you can really focus on what is important.

Advertising Works, Door Knocking is Better

Advertising does pull its load when it comes to branding a candidate. Advertising is great air cover and does help with awareness and decision-making. However, door knocking leads to signed commit cards and volunteers. You cannot sell while only worrying about the marketing materials. The door knockers close the deal even in the sub-zero cold. Both work together for maximum impact. Alone, neither is 100 percent effective.

Consistent Messaging Matters Most

In a campaign there is a lot of noise, especially at the grassroots level. The team with the simplest and most consistent message wins on the phones and at the door.

Be part of the process. There are a lot of people who complain about political issues, but fewer who actually get involved. Attend a caucus or a primary and see if you don’t feel more patriotic and more in touch with democracy—plus it is free and you’ll see a lot of marketing happening right before your eyes.

Written by:

Mark wrote his first direct-mail fundraising letter in 1981 for the University of Iowa Center for Advancement. The effort raised a few million dollars in undiscovered wills and legacy gifts. From that day forward Mark discovered a love of the big idea that moves the needle. After 12 years at KWWL, Mark became a business owner as a co-founder of ME&V — rebranded as AMPERAGE in 2015. After 25 years of leading creative teams in video production, graphic design, PR, writing and web development, Mark transitioned out of ownership in 2021. Today he serves in an employee role as special projects consultant. He is creatively ambidextrous — son of an artist and engineer — and famous for distilling complex ideas down to a few words and a few visuals. Mark is a writer. When he found that many nonprofits struggled with complex branding puzzles, he wrote the book, “NonProfit-NonMarketing .” He also wrote a novel called “Reenactment.” Mark is an active blogger OneMinuteMarketer® with nearly 1,000 readers each week on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter. One of his most popular YouTube videos is on “How to Look Good on Zoom.” One of Mark’s fondest business memories was being named to INC 500 two times and attending the INC 500 conference with other winners. Mark is considered by some a Civil War expert (and that explains his novel). Mark also served as an adjunct professor in the business and in the communications departments at Wartburg College. Mark is a graduate of the University of Iowa and is currently vice president of the University of Iowa Journalism and Mass Communications Advisory Board. Mark is married to state Sen. Liz Mathis, and the two love to travel, even when it means being trapped by a volcano in the Czech Republic for three weeks.