Campaigns tap into online marketing

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The presidential election is over – finally! – and we can all breathe a sigh of relief after two years of fundraising, debates, attack ads, Saturday Night Live skits and — oh yes — issues.

As you may be, I am all electioned-out. But I'm not tired of considering the far-reaching effects of one of the most powerful aspects of the campaign — direct marketing. While few pundits used the word, political direct marketing was changed forever by the Obama and McCain campaigns, and direct marketing as a whole was inspired to move to an entirely new level.

The innovative, integrated, multichannel use of direct mar­keting, combining traditional tools as well as emerging media, was astonishing with both campaigns, but particularly Barack Obama's. Social media, text messaging, online video and even virtual worlds were used to great effect combined with fundraising e-mail, direct mail and telemarketing. The kind of grassroots action this race inspired could only have been done with the intricate data-gathering tools available to the candi­dates this time around.

As we head toward 2009, the focus on accountable marketing will certainly continue to rise, thanks to a struggling economy and companies that want to make sure they're getting the best bang for their buck in the most creative way possible. The subject of our main feature this week, Jeffrey Hayzlett, Eastman Kodak's chief business development officer and VP, knows all about this — and discusses what his company has done in terms of marketing strategy and what direct marketers need to do now to innovate and stay relevant to their customers (pg. 13). Our Technique feature, too, stresses creativity as a top priority in trimming mail costs, by considering the size, shape and stock of pieces as well as digital printing strategies (pg. 15).

Can the DM industry stay as agile, innovative and creative as Barack Obama's presidential campaign? I say: Yes, we can.

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