Obama Overload   2 comments

First, a personal disclosure.  I am a registered Democrat and have almost always voted for Democratic candidates. On November 6th, I will cast my ballot for Barack Obama with support and pride.

As a marketer though, I have a beef with the Obama campaign and thus this blog to vent just a bit.

The Obama campaign has gone overboard in the use of email, mobile marketing and mobile apps to generate donations and support.  Overboard to the point of being downright annoying.  I wholeheartedly support the candidate and the use of these marketing tools to engage an audience and to build loyalty and momentum.  But their tactics teeter on a turnoff.

At first I thought it was cool and savvy the way the Obama folks have been sending out messages that feel personal and intimate and important. So at first I’m thinking, “good going, you guys are smart marketers”.  I click, I donate a little here and there. And then… the avalanche of emails begins. And the inbox fills each week with multiple urgent messages about a looming deadline. Really?  Come on, I’m smarter than that.  I know it’s important but the level of urgency – as demonstrated in these email subject lines – is downright laughable.

  • Last call for Dinner with Barack EVER
  • 583,282 people named Amy
  • I’m asking one last time (dated  9/25 but on 10/22, not one month later, Mr. Obama was asking again)
  • Obama Store: Our biggest sale EVER (Is this sale from Macy’s or a presidential campaign?)

And the volume? You may have seen the President on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart recently.  During the interview Stewart jokingly asked the President how many new emails he’d have in his inbox by the time the interview was over.  I can relate. While writing this blog late one night, I received an email from both Barack and Michelle Obama asking for donations.  And a quick search for “Obama” in my delete box turns up over 200 entries from everyone from Obama himself to Bill Clinton to Joe Biden.

Then there are the mobile solicitations. One day, I received a text that said “Show you’ve got the President’s back.  Reply with a number and we’ll charge your saved credit card.

I mistakenly thought that meant my phone number so I nearly made a 10-digit donation to the Obama campaign. Try explaining that one to your spouse. Luckily, I caught my error when the auto-reply asked for confirmation.

So yes, I support Obama and do have his back and have donated to his campaign. The lesson about marketing though is clear. Whether you are president of a country, a corporation, or a mom and pop retail store, it’s important to personalize the conversation and engage your audience when using email or mobile marketing. But use caution…overuse and overkill are sure to turn them off. If you have had similar experiences with a marketing campaign on steroids, we’d love to hear about it.

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Posted October 29, 2012 by Amy Blum in E-Marketing/Web, Mobile

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2 responses to “Obama Overload

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  1. I definitely agree with you, Amy! I thought I was the only one getting punished (in terms of my inbox) as a “thanks” for a few donations! Glad to know I’m not alone.

  2. totally agree. I support Obama, have donated several times, & have already voted for him via my mail-in ballot. But I am disgusted with the overload of soliciations and “urgent” emails…and especially the decidely non-Presidential tone. I also really don’t need an email from the Commander-in-Chief with the subject line “hey.” If I didn’t loathe Romney so much, this insulting use of direct marketing might have swung me in a different direction this election.

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