As they discussed voter turnout techniques, one panelist said GOTV is very tactical. It asks people to vote, then reminds them about it. It asks people to make a plan to vote. "We ran a lot of GOTV ads that didn't mention candidates, but made people confident that their vote mattered."
Because people who work on campaigns are so passionate about their success, it behooves agencies and consultancies to make sure there is morale and buy-in among the teams. Knowledge, especially about digital, is hard to replicate. Says one member of this panel, "My team knows their institutional knowledge is irreplacable."
In 2017, Danielle Butterfield, Director of Advertising, Priorities USA, wanted to build capacity inhouse. But given the turnaround, she didn't feel they could build a diverse and well-managed team. Instead of doing so, they built a training program. Now, they have flexibility to build more capacity inhouse. She shared other lessons learned in this session.
Peer-to-peer texting works well for urging people to vote early and to amass volunteers, this panel found. But the key is ensuring that the person one is texting wants to get that text. As more candidates start using texting, there will undoubtedly be more people who don't want to get the text. Perhaps, then, there will be spam filters.
Among the bold predictions these panelists made about the 2020 presidential election were that there will be a woman elected president, that YouTube will be the go-to platform as it particularly attracts people the Democrats want to reach, and that there will be a huge shift toward text messaging and peer-to-peer texting on individual social channels.
Here, the RNC's Doug Hochberg admits to being jealous of the other party. "[Republicans] don't like sharing what we do, we're quieter online. If we say, 'Tell all your friends that you're volunteering for this,' our people would rather look through their phone book, and select 20 friends instead of putting it on their Facebook page. It's a big difference in how to mobilize people."
Michael Steele, the former RNC chair, took note of how Democrats have kept their races very local. He spoke of one state race that pitted a trans woman against a conservative GOP candidate, who essentially ran against her sexuality. She ran on putting stoplights at certain intersections and she won. The voters didn't care about her sexuality, Steele said, they just wanted stoplights!
There was some backing of TV but most of the folks on this panel are sure that digital is the future in marketing political candidates. "I don't know if I have to see someone on Instagram drinking a beer every single day," said one, recalling Sen. Elizabeth Warren's recent appearance there. But the race is on to capture the attention of cord-cutters and others who just don't watch TV.
"Getting IT leadership support, senior leadership support has been critical ... in driving automation forward."
"One datapoint I find interesting is how often people go back to the email. If they go back to the email, then they have to be happy with it."