Obama Embraces The Change We Need With Email

Like many of you across the country, I stepped away from the keyboard at lunch yesterday to witness the swearing in of our 44th President.  I have to admit, I felt guilty. After all, here was our President calling on us to stand up, dust ourselves off and drive our economy forward -- and I was slacking off in front of the TV in the middle of the day!   

All kidding aside, this was not the first time I had been engaged by the Obama-Biden administration.  In fact, ever since the election's conclusion, their transition team has been reaching out to me for input, to educate me on the challenges ahead and to solicit my commitment to stand with the president to drive change, all via my inbox.   Let's look at two of the email campaigns the transition team deployed and use them as examples for how all email marketers should be engaging their customers.

Subject: Give your ideas directly to the President. It looks as if the Obama transition team clearly understands the value of user-generated content.  In this case, the team is contacting me regarding "The Citizen's Briefing Book."  This is a collection of ideas on issues facing the country that have been submitted by "the people" that will eventually find their way into the President's hands.   According to the website, over 125,000 users submitted ideas, and over 1.4 million votes were cast as to which ideas should be submitted for consideration to the President.  

The email campaign also featured a prominent link to the Web site, where a YouTube video explained the program and offered other video snippets from several key members of Obama's team to add credibility to the effort.  

How serious is your company about soliciting input from your customers?  Do you use email and other interactive channels to gain valuable insights that make customers feel more empowered and make your programs and products more relevant and effective? If not, get started!

Subject: The President-elect's plan. The situation with the U.S. economy is serious.  As marketers, we understand the impact the recession is having on our companies and on our customers' spending habits.  The Obama team has a plan to help with economic recovery and is working to implement it now.  The communication challenge is that the plan is complicated and difficult for the electorate to understand.  

This email campaign, like the one above, delivered a message with a  link to a short video clip that explained the major elements of the President's plan.  I think this is an excellent example of how email should be used to educate customers on complicated products, customer service changes, and a variety of other situations that arise as consumers interact with the products and services they purchase.  Using email in this way can have a material impact on inbound call center volume and business support costs.
Consider my recent purchase of a new T-Mobile G1.  The phone is loaded with features. I bought one for my wife about a month ago, and we have not received a single email on how to set up email, make the most of the Web browser, download applications, etc.  My wife has made at least two calls to customer care that could have been avoided by proactively sending her information on what T-Mobile already knows are complicated yet critical components of her new phone and service. 

Are there opportunities for your organization to use email to proactively educate your customers on your products and services?  If so, you should consider the approach used by the Obama team as a way to reduce call center costs and enhance your customers' overall experience.

I ‘m looking forward to watching how the President's team uses email to drive change in the coming years. Hopefully, he will execute as well in other areas as he has in his use of email and interactive communication channels!




4 comments about "Obama Embraces The Change We Need With Email ".
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  1. Fred Henkel, January 22, 2009 at 10:04 a.m.

    quit smoking that stuff and get ready for the influx of murderers into the U.S.

  2. Tonisha Gaines from Independent Contractor, January 22, 2009 at 10:05 a.m.

    Engagement is a key factor in change. The President has proved that, and has made history in more ways than one. As organizations look to "engage" their constituency or customer base, a look at the success of Obama's campaign (engagement via social mediums and relevant information) will provide a platform upon which the design of a meaningful e-marketing plan can be developed.

  3. Tim Street from mDialog, January 22, 2009 at 10:17 a.m.

    There is a fine line in email marketing between engagement and SPAM.

    What is engaging to one can be SPAM to another.

    Knowing who is on your email list and what they want is critical in moving the needle.

    Obama has done an incredible job of engaging his list but I'm sure to many it's SPAM.

    It would be interested if we could identify the people who have SPAMMED Obama's email and marketing something more relevant to them based upon what they have SPAMMED in the past.

  4. Khris Thayer from Optizmo Technologies, January 22, 2009 at 11:59 a.m.

    To Tim's point, SPAM is the issue here. At the end of the day, regardless of political beliefs, we all have and should retain the choice as to what content is relevant and welcome on an individual basis. Companies have to keep this in mind as well...being that CAN-SPAM is a Federal Regulation. I too have received copious emails during the campaign trail and although I personally am an Obama Supporter, all the emails were not necessarily welcome or easy to Unsubscribe from. So whether you are a Company, Affiliate, Network, Publisher, etc., you should implement "Best Practices" relative to CAN-SPAM compliance to maintain brand integrity.

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