Print Politics

Print Campaigning vs. Telemarketing

During the height of election season, is it possible for a candidate to overshare?

Things are heating up for Presidential election candidates campaigning in Iowa. The media is abuzz over Clinton's admission that she is prepared to go on the attack, and the Obama campaign has even put together a news aggregation site covering all of her less-than-gracious behavior.

But voters have yet to express distaste for their favorite candidate's willingness to go for the jugular. What Iowans are really getting sick of is the candidates' aggressive direct marketing techniques.

In this article, Iowan voters express frustration over many campaigns' use of automated telemarketing, or 'robocalling.' During dinner, in the evenings, and often on a daily basis, phones are ringing. But when voters answer, they are greeted with an impersonal prerecorded message.

Is robocalling direct marketing gold, or a ploy suitable only for the amusement of children who consider phone calls a novelty rather than an annoyance?

According to Iowan voters, these phone calls fall into the “being driven insane by telemarketing” category. Depending on which campaign strategist you talk to, they will recommend anywhere between three to a dozen points of voter contact to secure support. But does this level of voter irritation prove that campaigns can actually suffer from an excess of telemarketing, or even of direct mail?

Some Iowans have complained about receiving direct mail from, in particular, the Clinton camp, as often as on a daily basis. Even by a printer's standards, that is a lot of direct mail printing! And a campaign this aggressive could easily go over the wrong way if it's missing the appeal of a personal touch.

The problem, of course, is that if other candidates are doing it, how can your campaign afford not to? Is all publicity good publicity? Because if this old advertising adage is true, then it doesn't matter HOW annoyed voters are getting with all the direct marketing. In the end, they'll vote for the candidate they are most familiar with, right?

Or does overly aggressive campaigning run the risk of souring voters to the election process as a whole? If, by Election Day, voters are annoyed with all candidates, will they decide they'd rather just stay home, or stay at work, than get out and vote? Could the tide of an election be turned by an annoying, impersonal telemarketing campaign?

One of the great things about print advertising, and direct mailing is that it invites voters to learn more about a candidate, without forcing the issue. With this in mind, it would seem to me that an aggressive telemarketing strategy overlooks one very key characteristic about the average American voter, that is, THEY DO NOT LIKE TO BE BULLIED!!!

Voters want information, but they also want space in which to make their own decisions, and that makes print and internet campaigning far more appealing and effective than the awkwardness and intrusion of a telemarketing campaign.

A cool website, a nice piece of full color printing – both of these offer voters something of intrinsic value, which they can peruse at their leisure. These offerings give, instead of taking, which means that by Election Day, a voter is feeling inclined to give back, and support their favorite candidate.

A phone call during dinner, on the other hand, takes up time and wears on patience, both of which could lead to voters feeling that, by the time election day roles around, they've already done enough.

Does 'robocalling' have a place in the campaign process? Tell us what you think!

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