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.