Battleground State of Confusion

Battleground State of Confusion

 

It’s Super Tuesday and many pundits are saying that Mitt Romney could achieve true front runner status tonight when the votes are all counted across the 10 states holding primaries.  I chuckle when I hear numerous pundits debate the battles and challenges that candidates have relative to battleground states like Ohio, Georgia and Tennessee.  All candidates have spent tremendous blocks of time on the ground crossing our country in the last couple of weeks trying to do what they can to secure momentum in one state or another  thru a dizzying array of stump speeches , radio appearances and spot television campaigns.  What boggles my mind is that the biggest prize on Super Tuesday and every other Tuesday from now to election day is the growing constituency whose state is the social media precincts . For the life of me, I can’t understand why NONE of the Republican candidates is paying any attention to this massive group of voters online.

 

With 8 months to go until Voting Day, I keep receiving comments from all kinds of groups that a new and compelling strategy is forthcoming. Wait and See. We are going to surprise everyone with our tactics and methods. Having been in marketing my entire life I can tell you that I haven’t EVER seen a strategy that can take down a brand that is THIS far ahead with only 8 months to go until all the votes are counted. Any of you folks that are waiting to hatch your “killer strategy” had better get moving  yesterday to have any impact on the election in November.

 

Just take a look at what has happened this week…

Facebook Friends

 

Mitt Romney – 1,512,755 – UP 15,510

Ron Paul – 895,193 – UP 12,281

Newt Gingrich – 292,124 – UP 3472

Rick Santorum – 167,207 – UP 7538

President Barack Obama – 25,461,457 – UP 78,638

 

  • Mitt Romney – While Romney continues to grow in Friends on Facebook, It appears that his team is in mental lockdown. Only thing that has changed on his page this week is that they have taken down his ‘thirty second video spot showcase” and replaced it with a series of posts from the candidate that resemble the basic planks of his stump speeches. Visitors like me continue to ask the nagging question…where’s the beef. It’s ok to slam the Obama…but that horse is going to get tired…unless Romney starts showing his cards on the key issues and how he will change America.

 

  • Ron Paul – While Ron Paul doesn’t get the glamour shots that a Rick Santorum does, his machine continues to hum as he builds his base online. Here again…is a candidate that definitely has a loyal following but is doing little or no imaginative and/or engaging marketing within the social sphere. Another case for a candidate who seems to “get it” from the interactive opportunity standpoint…but doesn’t have the social media chops within his campaign team to knock it out of the park.

 

  • Newt Gingrich  – Newt continues to fade badly despite all of the media attention that he is somehow going to change the game on Super Tuesday. It’s an incredible power the broadcast television has.  They can take a relative unknown and by  glitz and marketing build that lowly personage into the next American idol. Newt benefits from the media attention and spotlight. Online he isn’t growing nearly as fast as he needs to be in order to compete for the White House against the Obama Juggernaut.

 

  • Rick Santorum – The Santorum surge looks to be a two week phenomena. Rick’ s facebook page hasn’t moved an inch since he posted his recruiting poster.  As such, this week’s growth places him at the bottom of the group of four in friends. While the media loves covering Santorum and propping him up as a viable combatant to Mitt Romney; within the social media world Santorum is  an also ran. You can’t win anything from 4th place.

 

 

Twitter Followers

 

Newt Gingrich – 1,444,594 – UP 1870

Ron Paul – 392,427 – UP 5007

Mitt Romney – 362,291 – UP 10,622

Rick Santorum – 155,018  – UP 7,956

President Barack Obama – 12,851,171 – UP 106,211

 

  • Newt is Twitter Leader – Gingrich got out early in primary season and built his twitter base but over the last weeks has stumbled a fair bit and it shows in his anemic growth in recent weeks. The message is still strong from the candidates viewpoint but the following is no longer as excited and engaged as it was in the early days.  On Reality Wednesday Newt’s power may come from who he backs going forward.

  •  Paul holds on to Second Place – While Dr. Paul continues to be passionate in his posts, he too is fading badly in recent weeks as it appears that Tweet messaging isn’t hitting the mark. All candidates seem to be suffering from message paralysis.  Leveraging social media is all about keeping fresh and exciting as the months go by. Paul’s message is consistent but growing stale.

  • Romney has Best Week – With the Santorum surge behind him, Mitt bested the rest of the field in growth this week on Twitter He continues to gain “momentum” on Twitter by being a bit more topical in his posts. He is starting to look more like a front runner here as well.

  • Santorum Swoon. – Despite all of the media attention, the Santorum camp has had their moment in the spotlight and it doesn’t appear that the movement of the last two weeks is sustaining itself online. Rick has returned to the modest growth rates both on Twitter and Facebook.  My thought is that Santorum was outgunned in terms of broadcast media dollars and would have been advised to spend “some” of those dollars fueling a groundswell online. It didn’t happen. He remains locked in 4th place here as well.

 

 

After weeks of explosive growth for President Obama on Facebook, the President had his first “off week” . For the first time in our tracking, the President is under 100K weekly growth rate in Facebook friends. Likewise within the Twitter landscape his rate of growth has slowed down dramatically. Not that anyone in the Obama camp is worried right now.  President Obama has a Facebook friend base that is 17X greater than Mitt Romney ! On Twitter Obama has a Twitter follower base that is 35X greater than the republican front runner.  In fact, the President’s position on Twitter is 5.5X greater than the entire republican field combined. On Facebook the story is even more compelling; Obama’s friend base is 8.8 X greater than the republican field.

 

How is he doing this ?  Once again the Obama team is a group of highly trained marketing professionals. Let me remind you that President Obama has yet to run anything close to a significant television effort. All of this success has come from leveraging the power of the interactive toolkit within the social media universe.  These guys are well schooled in the state of the art in interactive marketing.  Here is just one example. Take a look at Barack Obama’s Facebook page. You will see a series of pages that Obama likes.The Presidents team has created a new “Obama for America “ page for each of the 50 states.  This is brilliant marketing.  Each of these pages has been integrated with uStream so that the President can literally address each state individually via Facebook.  Talk about leveraging the power of the medium.

 

How about the ploy on the page that features “every day” citizens posting videos and photos that answer the page’s question “What’s the #1 reason you are supporting President Obama” . There is a level of understanding of how to use this platform that makes what the republicans are doing look childish.

 

There are some in the marketing world that view the relationship that they have with clients from a vendor v. client basis. Production houses that knock out exactly  what the client wants irrespective of thoughts around a winning strategy.  They say…heck…we are just doing what we were told. They collect their fee and move on to the next job. Then there are folks like me and the professionals that I have always worked with who really care about winning the battle despite how egos and biases get bruised along the way.

 

What is going on within the republican camp is a waste of time from my standpoint. It’s bad marketing both from a messaging and execution standpoint. While everyone is focused on counting the votes tonight, It is my hope that someone starts paying attention to the most important of all battleground states.

 

 

Al D

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