Why Do We Do That?

It’s Time to Step Back, Review the Data, Analyze Your Strategy, and Diversify

The phrase “we’ve always done it that way” is just as dangerous in public affairs and political advocacy as it is in businesses. All too often, we see organizations and public affairs campaigns leveraging the same tactics that have been used in the past, without stopping to understand why they do so or when they should pivot. 

Outdated approaches, such as email bombing and uninformed online advertising, often lack creativity and are sometimes just plain lazy.  

Worst of all, they can hurt your organization by driving your audience to become disengaged.

There is value in institutional knowledge and standard practices, but the reality is the public affairs landscape is constantly (and these days, drastically) evolving. For example, during this COVID pandemic, many public affairs campaigns failed to stop to evaluate the significant impact of the virus on people’s online behaviors. 

While many organizations hit pause, with the fear of being insensitive or tone-deaf, groups who realized online digital behavior would be different excelled. By understanding that more people would be online, spending more time browsing the internet, reading emails, and binge-watching content from their favorite OTT platforms, savvy organizations saw a unique opportunity for audience engagement. 

If you stop and analyze the data you already have available, you will discover you have all the information you need to understand your audience.

Do you have Google Analytics, social media analytics, email service provider reporting, membership lists, or other information? If so, the breadcrumbs to understanding your audiences are readily available for your public affairs campaigns or your organization.

If you have digital expertise, great – otherwise, you should reach out to an expert to evaluate your data. Because if you know where to look and how to review it, the information is there. What your audience wants and cares about can be found both quantitatively and qualitatively. 

Not only can you use your data to learn when and how your audience wants you to engage them, but you can also learn their preferred means of communication and the language that will be most effective.

According to a good friend, “numbers, without analysis, is just counting.” He is exactly right, having the data and information is excellent in concept, but without putting it to work, it isn’t meaningful. After you’ve processed and analyzed your data, you have to review your strategy and update it based on the insights you’ve gleaned.

Make strategic changes that diversify and improve the ways you communicate with your audience. This diversity of communication will lead to better engagement, more actions taken by your audience, and improved fundraising.

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