Driving Outcomes With Technology

The 3 Ways to Get the Most From Digital in Your Campaign


Political campaigns and issue-based organizations share one goal: convincing the public to take action. Over the years, IDMLOCO has deployed its digital resources to drive desirable outcomes for hundreds of issue-driven and candidate campaigns. Yet, we still hear some in the political world say things like,

Most often it’s because those efforts we missing at least one of three key elements that we’ve identified over the years as essential in driving outcomes in any digital campaign. These three are:

  1. A Pie
  2. A Funnel
  3. A Tail

We’ll briefly take a look at each of these three elements which, in our experience working with clients across a broad range of industries and sectors, not only drive results in political campaigns but also in business, non-profit and public sector outreach campaigns.

1. A Pie

Most commonly when a digital effort doesn’t deliver the kind of results a campaign team was expecting, the problem stemmed from simply under-investing. There’s no question that knowing how much to invest is a major challenge, but there is a simple way to find guidance. That’s why we often advise our clients to benchmark their allocations of campaign budget between media with successful digital marketing efforts from across other industries.

For example, research from Zenith Optimedia reveals that markets in general are now investing around 25 percent of their total ad spend budgets on digital channels.

Other respected sources confirm that one quarter of the total media budget is the portion you should expect to commit to get the kind of results you want from digital marketing. That represents a significant increase in digital investment over the past few years and this trend is growing as new technology replaces old media.

For your digital strategy to pay off, you must arrange your budget so that digital is allocated the right-sized slice of the campaign budget pie.

2. A Funnel

The digital landscape is often cluttered and confusing. Take for example the digital ad technology space. Each day dozens and dozens of companies are innovating and providing ad tech solutions that are competing or complementary (or sometimes both at the same time) with each other.

In fact, Luma Partners puts out some awesome charts, called LumaScapes, to map out the ecosystems of digital ad technology space:

The paradox, of course, is that the more complex the ad tech landscape becomes, the more difficult it is for marketers of all stripes to accomplish their goals. That’s why our team created a simplified model of the digital space that concentrates on the most effective method for inspiring and sustaining action.

The IDMLOCO model is our riff on the classic marketing funnel. At the top, begin by building awareness through paid and earned channels such as public relations, paid social, display ads and video. This moves people into the consideration phase, where people move from searching on key terms to evaluation of the issues presented by landing pages, and finally into the enrollment processes in email and through social networks.

The narrow neck of the funnel is the conversion stage where visitors are directed to your main website. This is the phase when people get excited about the issues, sign up and tell their friends about the experience. With this framework, we are better able to measure and optimize the process for greater effectiveness. The funnel is a powerful system, but keep in mind that it needs time to deliver results.

3. A Tail

The typical political campaign exerts an enormous surge of public outreach activity just before a key deadline, such as an election or a vote on a bill. Fortunately, digital media delivers a much better way to wage a sustained awareness campaign. Maintaining ongoing interactions on digital channels is far less expensive than it would be by using traditional media. This extended period of educating the public and raising awareness before the vote is what we call the long tail. If you’re not running a political campaign your “vote” might be a fundraising deadline if you’re a non-profit or the expiration of a promotional offer if you’re a business.

A recent study from Pew Research found out that one of the reasons for low voter turnout is that respondents said they didn’t have enough information to vote. The solution is having enough time for digital campaigns to spread their messages through the social networks of committed supporters. No matter what you are looking to accomplish, the long tail matters because motivation requires education.

Educate and Engage

Our most successful efforts to educate and engage voters have been digital campaigns that secured the right balance of budgeting, targeting and time. This is the best way to move public opinion on complex issues. All you have to remember is that your campaign encompasses the right-sized slice of the digital pie, a grassroots action funnel and enough lead time for a really long tail.

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