Political Season's Hard-To-Get Demographic: Low-Information Viewers
Current political voter query: "What do you think of Sequestration?"
Scratching-head voter answer: "Sorry. I don't own any horses."
To be frank, the next two weeks of this rapidly expanding digital media world may come down to "low-information" U.S. voting citizens. In terms of a media plan, they are the new hard-to-get demographic which will result in massive media inefficiency.
("Sequestration" is a current political term, coined a year ago as a result of the U.S. Congressional budget agreement that would automatically start up massive U.S. government defense and domestic program cuts).
You may have heard of these people: the 5% or so "undecided" voters. They are "undecided" because apparently they don't have enough information…or are too lazy to get the right information…or, worse, aren't interested in getting any information about this year's presidential political process.
All this may sound strange in a world where this year’s presidential debates have pulled in around 60-70 million TV viewers on average -- at best, a little more than one-quarter of some 295 million possible total viewers.
Obviously, some 230 million TV viewers had other things to do like watch Major League Baseball playoff games, primetime dramas, "SpongeBob," or cable shows about tattoo parlors, storage businesses or hair styling shops -- or perhaps just gaze into space. The truth is many of these viewers -- and U.S. voters -- have all the information they need about who they want as the next president.
TV marketers for decades have worried about "light" viewers. Because TV continues to be the most powerful medium, the question is where do these "light TV" consumers go?
In part, those "undecided" viewers are modern day "light TV" viewers, hard to get, hard to figure out, and most of all hard to make a "sale."
So what you have this year this is a lot of expensive TV advertising really targeted at a small number of people -- the undecided voters. For any marketer, you are talking about a lot of media "waste."
In this digital world, one would expect a lot better from a media plan. But not for this Presidential election. We can hope the next time around we'll get better political advertising buys -- saving our eyeballs and, most importantly, saving those big, fat moneyed donors the effort of finding their checkbooks.