Along with the fast rise of mobile internet, comes new and creative ways in which those are used in our every day lives. The 2012 US presidential election will also be the first to show us just how presidential candidates use and integrate mobile into their campaign strategies. It’s been said that Obama won the 2008 election with young voters mostly because he had an effective social media (read, Facebook and Twitter) strategy, far superior to that of his rival John McCain.
Now, just a few short years later, the social media and internet landscape has evolved drastically enough that both President Obama, and presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney’s campaigns are both focusing more on mobile. If 2008 was the year of social media presidential elections, than it can be said that 2012 is the year of mobile campaigning.
In a recent news article by the Boston Herald noted that both President Obama and Mitt Romney’s campaigns are both targeting young Hispanics with cellphones, stating
Young voters and Hispanic voters are far more likely to use their phones to go online than older generations are, so campaigns that use mobile technology are most likely to reach young Hispanics, according to Peter Levine, the director of the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement.
This is primarily because a mobile phone and an app are personalized and more engaging than a robocall or a TV ad. Since young voters are highly skeptical of one-for-all marketing and respond best to one-on-one, both campaigns are using a new and more modern strategy with mobile. Marketers as well as politicians are fast waking up to the strategies available for reaching people, in this case voters. Unlike the television or radio ads of old, there’s only one emerging way to guarantee that you’ll at least reach the target audience–through their cell phone. As Alex Velasco, a 26-year-old first-generation Mexican-American, states in the article;
“It’s really easy to reach me on my phone because I have it with me all the time – when I’m on the train, when I’m walking,” Velasco said. “If you send me something political (on my phone), I would be way more likely to read it because it is so easy.”
President Obama’s latino app allows the targeted audience, Hispanics, to register to vote and post to their social media contacts from their phones among other things. This strategy is not unique to just Obama’s campaign as the Romney camp is also using it. Neither one of the two will win over the other exclusively because of this aspect of their mobile strategies.
Using Mobile Apps In The Campaign
Besides the ‘latino app’ just mentioned, both are using various other apps as well. The Republican campaign is also augmenting its mobile strategy with its ‘With Mitt‘ iPhone app, a tool that lets supporters share photos overlaid with patriotic or pro-Romney images.
The Huffington Post posted an article last week Obama Is a Master of Social Media — New App Fuels His Campaign. The Dashboard App, as it’s called, requires all campaign volunteers to register online by giving an address and ZIP code. On the next screen, they are asked to log in with an Obama campaign account, or create one if they haven’t already. Once they are logged in, the volunteer can sign up for nearly activity, whether door-to-door campaigning or volunteering at an event.
The Dashboard app also tells the volunteer who else is working the campaign that day–meaning that working on the campaign can actually become a truly collaborative and social endeavour. This allows the volunteer to invest emotion and energy with others. There are many advantages to this app, such as how it helps fuel the sense of community amongst those who choose to freely volunteer their time for a cause like seeing their president re-elected. It is equally useful and seamless as an activity tracking tool for the people who actually run the campaign.
This particular arena may be a return on investment in voters as opposed to dollars or products, but there is plenty the marketer can pick up from this in order to implement into their own marketing strategies. Not the least of which is the brilliant way this app obtains information about its users and where they are volunteering.
Check this out to follow anything related to the US Presidential elections on an app.
Will Election 2012 Deliver a Mobile Ad Breakthrough? by Jeff John Roberts, Gigaom
Obama Is a Master of Social Media — New App Fuels His Campaign -Eric Yaverbaum, Huffington Post