Change: Obama and Use of Technology, Marketing, and Social Media

November 7, 2008 · Posted in Marketing, Strategy, Technology 

I don’t think anyone can argue
that Barak Obama made history this week. 
While the popular vote was no landslide, unlike the electoral college,
Obama had several strategic game changers during election campaign that
separated him from his opponent. So it should come as no surprise that everyone
is now writing about how organizations can use the same tactics and strategies
and apply them to their own organization. 
Here are just a few articles and blog posts worth reading over.

Obama’s Seven Lessons for Radical Innovators – Harvard
Business Publishing

What Newsrooms Can Learn From Obama – Recovering Journalist
Blog

How Better Marketing Elected Barack Obama – Harvard Business
Publishing

BNET: Obama’s Communications Moving at Warp Speed

While the use of technology will was not the only game
changer in the Obama campaign, it played a significant role in my opinion.  His campaign strategically found ways to
connect with his constituents by allowing them to campaign on his behalf
through myBarakObama blogs, using text messaging for
updates, using YouTube to let video messages go viral, and use of his ever
growing email database. 

While I certainly can’t dissect his entire campaign
strategy, he also brilliantly executed an integrated marketing strategy.  He took the concept of “small is the new big”
by asking for small donations from individuals, not the maximum from them at
once.  Additionally, he asked his
database of volunteers and advocates to do small things such as calling friends
and strangers about his campaign, which resulted in a huge workforce. 

I think Obama executed two strategies extremely well during
his campaign.  First, he brilliantly used
social media to empower his followers. Jermiah Owyang, a Forrester analyst on
Social Media, researched and found stats on how Obama and McCain used social
media
.   While Owyang won’t draw any correlations to
the use of social media to his win, Obama commanded the use of the Internet. I
believe it was that use of technology that helped, if for nothing else, give
him exposure to a larger population of voters. McCain followed suit by
participating in the same space, but I believe the generation gap of a 70+ year
old using MySpace and Facebook wasn’t as authentic as a 40+ year old.  In fact to compete with Obama’s “MyBarakObama”,
McCain launched McCainSpace using social network took Kick-Apps.

Obama’s second strategic win was how he treated his
volunteers, and that was with respect and authenticity.  He would send a message (or tried on several
occasions to mixed results) to his volunteers and donors informing them of what
he was going to do next before he would do it to the media.  He understood that by informing this audience
first he not only respected that they want information, but knew that they
would spread that message beyond what the media could accomplish.  However, by informing his volunteers and
donors first he also put transparency on his campaign and that, in my opinion,
is a level of authenticity that builds trust.

And Obama’s not done either. 
Change.gov launched yesterday getting not only himself ready for the
next four years, but informing the American people as well.  As technology evolves, going back to the U.S.
Mail distributing pamphlets to America
back in the beginning of our country to TV bringing a face and live debate to
every home to the Internet, our public officials and government will change as
well.  If Obama uses the Internet as much
during his presidency as he did during his campaign, change won’t be just that
an African American is at 1600 Pennsylvania,
it will be how he has enabled the entire country to speak to him to make changes
the American people want.  

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  • Amy

    Do you really think Obama sent all of this own messages on Facebook and via email? If not, does something get lost because the messages aren’t real? Or are they? How about the CEO who pays someone to blog for him or the companies that hire companies to tweet on their behalf. Do people care who sent it as long as it looks like it is from someone they trust? Are we creating new Wizards of Oz that are not exactly what people believe them to be? Or is that just part of the new tolerance for stuff that is just good enough?

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