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Topics: Digital Marketing, Campaign Staff, Email, Advertising, Digital Acquisition

Digital is more of a "state of mind"

Despite our recent advancements, I've noticed that there still seems to be something wrong with our GOP digital mindset. Certainly we've made giant leaps forward since Obama walloped us the first time in 2008. But there's still something missing that I haven't been able to put my finger on -- until now.

I've realized that many of my clients still struggle with the overall concept of digital marketing. As a result, I've begun to speak to them about the idea that you should think of digital marketing as a "state of mind." This is an important distinction versus what I'm running into too much -- that your digital marketer is just another vendor your campaign has to have. It's another box to check off.

Digital State of Mind

Think of it this way. For years, as Republicans, we've hired a Communications person, some political staff, and then used consultants for everything else. As a result, we've lumped "digital" into the same kind of bucket and see it in the same vein as television or direct mail.

But digital marketing is to television as football is to golf. They may both be sports, but the mindset required to succeed in both of them is very different.

Many Republican campaigns still fall short due to this attitude. They miss the fact that in order to engage in effective digital marketing, it must be pervasive throughout your entire organization or campaign. To do it well, it requires daily focus- a constant and recurring use of various forms of digital marketing like social media, online advertising of all sorts, email, and your website. And this daily focus should be informed by the copious amount of data received by measuring audience interactions with your marketing efforts.

Digital marketing should be your first focus. The message of the day must be distributed via Facebook, Twitter, website content, email and related digital tactics. And the message of tomorrow must be done the same way. And the combined effect of those efforts make your digital marketing work. That means your communications operations is engaged in digital via social media and email (and a bunch of other tactics), your political department is using the website to engage volunteers and gather data, your fundraising department is issuing email fundraising emails and email acquisition campaigns, and so on. And that's months before you even THINK about television advertising.

The point? An effective and full embrace of digital is the best way to take advantage of it. It should not exist independently in a silo. Anything short of that and your campaign isn't getting all of the benefits it deserves.

Kurt Luidhardt is a co-founder of The Prosper Group. He can be reached at [email protected].

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