Using Advanced Data & Models for Democratic Direct Mail Targeting
Data has come a long way as far as accessibility. For some, Democratic direct mail targeting used to be seen as a mysterious realm where your consultants pulled your targets out from behind a magic curtain. With the advent of modern voter file software by folks like Catalist, NGP VAN, Targetsmart, NationBuilder and Labels and Lists, you can have direct access to the voter data and models you need to make targeting decisions for your campaign. But if this is the first time you are running a campaign or working with voter data, here are some tips for good field program and direct mail targeting.
Get access to a good file. You should be able get access to a good voter file through your Democratic state party, but in some municipal campaigns and primaries that might not be possible. Some other options to look at are Catalist, Labels and Lists, and NationBuilder. They – and a number of other firms – all have good voter files and most offer at least some basic models to help you identify your best targets.
Warning signs from losing political campaigns
People run for office with the best intentions, but sometimes they get off track. Here are some warning signs I have heard from losing political campaigns:
10. “We can’t take a stand on that.” Don’t run not to lose. Sometimes folks spend the majority of their time worried if they are doing the wrong thing. Take some bold stances and calculated risks. If you spend all your time worrying about saying the right thing, you are not being bold enough.
9. “I refuse to dial for dollars.” Losing political campaigns don’t do enough call time. The candidate avoids it, so the staff spends countless hours creating strategies to raise money without the candidate. If you are on a call trying to figure out how to raise money without doing call time, you are losing.
Campaign Tips: Volunteer Recruitment 101
In a perfect world, a flood of volunteers would fight their way through the door the minute your campaign launched. In reality, however, volunteer recruitment is one of the most arduous challenges of a field campaign. And unfortunately, there is not a one-size-fits-all formula. Recruitment takes hard work and needs to be tailor fit to the dynamics and the personality of each turf. With those caveats in mind, below are a few general tips to start off the volunteer recruitment process.
How to be an orange running against apples
When you boil it down, elections are all about choices. Voters are choosing this candidate or that one. Some even argue that staying home and not voting is exercising choice, though I don’t find that argument (or tactic) particularly effective. In order to convince voters to choose you, your political communications have to show why you are the best choice. The best way to do that is with contrast.
It’s great to say, “I’m the best candidate! I’ve done all these great things and have all the experience!” but without putting that in context with respect to your opponents, it will more than likely fall on deaf ears. This kind of thing, particularly in a primary with multiple opponents, just feeds the “omnivore’s dilemma” of our electoral process: with so many candidates, how do we choose the best one? Do your voters a favor and tell them WHY in all of your political communications.