QUALITY vs. QUANTITY: Which Is Best for Your Campaign?
One of our recent Campaign Quick Tips encourages you to focus on quality, not quantity, when it comes to your campaign communication. Specifically, it warns “Talking to everyone results in communicating to no one.”
This time’s Hot Tip will address this subject in-depth and provide specific examples of how you can make sure your campaign doesn’t make this common mistake.
When you get right down to it, your campaign communication efforts are nothing more than good old fashioned direct marketing. You’re sending a marketing piece to voters asking them to “buy” your candidate.
Just like in the retail world, the success of that marketing piece isn’t measured by how many people receive it or how well it’s designed. Its success is measured by how many people actually purchased the product it was selling relative to the cost of sending the marketing piece.
Ask any successful direct marketer and they’ll tell you that the #1 key to success is the list they market to. In most cases, there is an inverse relationship between the size of the list and results it gets. The larger the list, the worse the results, the smaller the list, the better the result
The reason is targeting. The more you can break your lists down, the more you can target your message. The more you can target your message, the better your results will be. The same is true with your campaign.
Here’s a basic example: In our seminar “How Elections Are Really Won & Why Most Campaigns Waste 75% of their Resources,” we illustrate the common mistake of knocking on every door in your constituency. While it might be great exercise and give you a sense of accomplishment, it’s 75% inefficient because only about 25% of the people in your constituency will actually vote.
To use marketing lingo, it means that 75% of the people you were marketing to weren’t even qualified buyers.
It’s a perfect illustration of quality versus quantity when it comes to campaign communication. Going door-to-door is just one example though.
Many campaigns make the same mistake with their mail, phones, radio and more. In this Hot Tip, we’re going to review common mistakes in each of those areas and how you can avoid them. The most important thing, however, is for you to review each mistake thinking about how you can use the same “Quality versus Quantity” analysis in other parts of your campaign. Unfortunately, these two mistakes are illustrative of many others made by campaigns every day.
Quantity vs. Quality Phone Mistake
Most campaigns today use a 3-step process to make automated phone calls like we had president Museveni use in 2011 campaign:
• Prepare a list of voters with phone numbers.
• Record the message.
• Deliver the message to the entire list.
Again, with this approach you’re delivering the exact same one-size-fits-all message to the 40 year old mother and the 80 year old grandmother. Sure, you probably got a 1-2 per call quantity discount because you used a large list, but you severely diluted your effectiveness.
The more you can break up your automated call list into segments the better. How you do that is up to you. You could use demographics, economics, or geographic.
Then, with just a little extra work you can deliver a more targeted message — focused on the issue of most concern to them — to each of your smaller lists.
You might even consider having different people record the message for each list. For example, you could have a teacher record a message for parents with school-aged children or a senior record the message for seniors.
Again, the more targeted approach may require a little extra work and maybe even a little more money, but at the end of the day your return on investment will be significantly higher.
Quantity vs. Quality Radio Ad Mistake
Radio ads are another example of where the “Quality versus Quantity” mistake rears its ugly head on campaigns. It’s illustrated by ridiculous statements like, “No one listens to that radio station.”
That’s simply not true. If no one listened to that station, it wouldn’t be in business. The truth is that while the station may have a smaller audience than others, it’s likely to be a much targeted audience. You’ll know exactly who is listening.
When you’re buying radio ads, you’ll have to choose between running a few ads on the HUGE stations or a lot of ads on the small stations. For some reason, most campaigns tend to opt for running a few ads on the HUGE stations. In other words, they go for quantity over quality again.
The principle here, too, is simple and straightforward. Paying extra to reach an extra large audience isn’t usually the best choice for local campaigns. Remember, a large number of the “extra” people you reach through the larger stations aren’t going to vote. In many cases, they won’t even live in your constituency.
On the other hand, if you buy an ad during the local radio station’s farm report you are going to know exactly who is listening and can develop your ad appropriately.
The ad on the HUGE station will likely be less expensive when you consider the cost per listener. However, as it was with phones, it will end up being more expensive in the long run.
The bottom line is simple. Campaigns are all about direct marketing. You’re constantly selling your campaign in person, through the phone, and with advertising. And, just like it is the retail world, direct marketing success is measured by results — not reach.
It might make you feel good to knock on every door, send everyone a piece of SMS, make a call to everyone, or have your ads on the big radio station, but it’s not the best investment for your campaign.
Remember, results are what matter. And, as we said in the Campaign Quick Tip that spawned this Hot Tip, “Talking to everyone results in communicating to no one.”