While politics precedes policy, winning elections is only half the battle and a full battle is never completed.
The most important success stories for BIPAC and the business community as a result of the 2010 election were not necessarily the candidate victories. While these victories were and are important, the impact and the infrastructure left behind by BIPAC’s newly created political programs will continue well past the 2010 election. The impact of creating permanent infrastructure with our partners will have a longer lasting positive impact than blowing large sums of money on activities that no one remembers less than a month after the election.
In the political industry, few ever look beyond the current election cycle. Our approach will always have an eye looking at the next election (or two). With our forward-looking approach, we purposely position ourselves out on that leading edge. Many online experts, including Google, were advising organizations and candidates to spend 10% of their campaign budget using online advertising. While few hit that low mark, BIPAC spent 55% of our budget towards online advertising. Our 12,000 targeted internet ad campaigns were either event, mobile, email, search, placement or video ads, which were placed using Google, Facebook, Bing, Yahoo, LinkedIn, Hulu and YouTube. After reading that last sentence some of you may say, “Leading edge? That sounds more like bleeding edge.” Maybe, but in the near future that leading edge will make sense and become the norm.
Why? While many are comfortable and sold that traditional television advertising is the only way to go, we see the future now and that future is utilizing internet communications to reach voters. In the past, campaigns dictated to voters the medium voters would receive candidate/issue information. Today, voters select the medium they dictate they want to receive their information. The bottom line is this: if you as an organization or candidate are not making your information available to voters in the medium they want, then you are not giving yourself a chance to successfully get your message out.
Does this mean campaigns will abandon television adverting anytime soon? No, traditional television advertising will continue to play a role in campaigns, but budget percentages for traditional versus online will be changing rapidly over the next few cycles.
One opportunity that I would like to have would be to run a competitive campaign without spending a dollar on television. At this point in time, I am sure this opinion would put me in the minority, but I not only believe you could be competitive with this strategy, but I think you could win by spending none of your resources on television and nearly all of them online.
With this aggressive approach utilizing online advertisement and communications, with some old school campaigning in the mix too, we deployed in thirty-six campaigns in eleven states. By working closely with the extensive state partner network, we are able to collaborate with the best political professionals in the backyards of the most important races across the country. These partnerships, and I do mean close working partnerships, are flexible and result in creative plans that impact both federal and state races.
Being out on the leading edge can sometimes feel lonely when you are in the thick of a fight, but after the dust settled the new technology public relations firm, The Access Point, called BIPAC’s new political programs one of the five “best of the best” for 2010 for our election day buyout of YouTube. While this is nice, that leading edge has already moved forward and we all need to keep pace or we will be scratching our heads after the next election and wondering what went wrong.