Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Political fundraising -- Use the web...or else?

The Internet: The Dominant Media Force in Political Campaigns and Fundraising
I have a stack of direct mailings from a political candidate in my office. I started collecting the material about a month ago, and the stack is now nearly 8 inches high. I receive about 10 direct mail pieces per week from this candidate and their political party. And I ignore all of them.

Think of the time, money and resources that are used for these mailings. And yet, the candidate and their party appear to have completely missed the point that the Internet has grown with such speed and scope that it is the dominant media force in political campaigning and the primary source of political information for generations of millions of Americans.

Why the growth? Three key reasons...Open access, low-cost technology and the fast-growing base of users.

For example, we recently ran a couple of campaigns; one for a non-partisan charity and another for a political candidate.

For the charity, ads on our Portfolio delivered double the amount in donations than the organizers sought; in eight hours we raised more than $1 million.

For the political candidate, we're generating thousands of dollars every hour for their candidate. And we had to practically beg this presidential candidate's campaign to run these ads! Apparently, some, uh, "expert" told the campaign they couldn't raise any money on our sites. Looks like the expert was wrong, just a little bit?

Political organizations, marketers and candidates who "don't get it," will soon find themselves out of power...because the Web is where the voters are now.

Some experts (okay, I lost my sources, but these are real quotes) say:
"TV is being reduced to finding its news coverage in subjects that originate on the Internet" and “The Web is helping to connect people much faster to the issues.” And everyone in media seems to be guided by the reporting on the Drudge Report these days.

The power of online political communication
- Local television news is dropping as a source where individuals learn about political campaigns, recently from 48% to 39%.
- Internet has jumped from 9% to 24%; the largest by any media.

While Intermarkets is a non-partisan firm, we have seen left-of-center candidates and organizations clearly leading right-of-center organizations and candidates in effectively using the Web, blowing away all right-of-center efforts

For example, political ad spending after the New Hampshire primary was more than $50 million with over 80% of spending on the Democratic side alone!
- Total fundraising by party (from earlier this year):
Democrats: $319,103,104
Republicans: $261,989,809
- Online political buzz:
Democratic candidates accounted for two times the share of republican candidates in political discussions online.

Why should political candidates and organizations of all kinds use the Web? Because as elite political marketers have discovered, the Internet delivers crucial advantages over all other forms of fundraising:
- 300% return on investment for political fundraising on conservative websites.
- 20% of tech-savvy users relying on the Internet for political news made a contribution after clicking on an online political ad.
- 3% of total Internet users contributed to an online political campaign in 2006

Failure to utilize Web media now could result in complete loss of an entire generation of voters for candidates and political organizations:
- 18 - 29 year olds use the Internet (42%) much more than older users (15%)
- YouTube channel views: Democratic views: 16,951,309 Republicans: 10,721,805
- Social Network Participation:
Obama (D): 89,486+
Clinton (D): 365,551+
McCain (R): 42,756+

Obama (D): 22,705+
Clinton (D): 40,935+
McCain (R): no presence

The Generation Gap Revisited
Younger voters who are interested in politics rely on online information:
- 92% of users under age 36 rank the Internet as a top 2 primary source of political news and information with 35% citing it as the top source.
- Only 17% of users aged 51 & older rank the Internet as a primary source of political news.

Left-of-center political sites lead in top political websites:
Rank Website - Market Share
1. www.huffingtonpost.com - 4.22%
2. politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com - 3.91%
3. www.freerepublic.com - 3.68%
4. www.realclearpolitics.com - 3.08%
5. www.barackobama.com - 2.78%
6. youdecide08.foxnews.com - 2.63%
7. www.dailykos.com - 2.4%
8. www.ronpaul2008.com - 2.2%
9. www.politico.com - 1.86%
10. www.democraticunderground.com - 1.5%

Where users get campaign news online:
Total % 18 – 29 Y/O % 30 Y/O + %
MSNBC.com 26 30 24
CNN.com 23 30 21
Yahoo News 22 27 19
Google News 9 10 9
Fox News 9 5 10
AOL News 7 5 8
New York Times 6 5 6
Drudge Report 3 1 4

In this Web era, political candidates and organizations need to go where the voters are...which is on the Web.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Opening salvo

Welcome to the new blog from Intermarkets, Inc.'s very own CEO, Kevin Lucido.

Within our company, we've gone back and forth about whether or not to do a blog. But our smart team of marketers convinced me that we needed to create our own forum.

So here we are, and welcome.

Let's make the world a better place. Every day.