Politicians Use Recorded Messages to Win Votes

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Not only will politicians reach voters through the mail and television this upcoming election, but an increasing number will reach voters with recorded phone messages, according to a Florida political campaign services provider.


Mack Wright, president of Campaign Magic and Marketing Services, Orlando, FL, said the advantages of using recorded phone messages are that voters can hear the candidate's voice, and candidates can contact a large audience in a short span of time.


"The main benefit of this is the effectiveness it offers candidates," said Wright, who uses services provided by Intelogistics, Fort Lauderdale, FL, for prerecorded telephone campaigns he creates.


"They are getting through to a mass audience of people in a short time and in their own voice. It gives them the capability to call hundreds, even thousands, of voters the day before an election and be sure that they are getting the message. No other medium offers that. Television or radio ads get changed most of the time when they come on."


Wright, who has created direct-mail pieces and television ads for political candidates as well as telemarketing campaigns, said those running for office will always need to put something tangible - a letter or postcard, for example - in the voters hands, but savvy candidates can cut costs by using recorded messages.


"When you compare it to direct mail … most of the time one in 10 is looked at, and the others are thrown out," Wright said. "And if a postcard is 35 cents, then that costs someone $3.50 to contact one person. With this, the call is in the voice of the candidate, and it costs in the 30-cent to 35-cent range per call."


Based on results of using recorded messages in last year's campaigns, Wright said he intends to recommend the method to all of the candidates he works with during this year's campaign season. "Eighty-five percent of our candidates we had using it in the last election won," Wright said. "Most of those were city council races, but we plan on seeing the majority of congressional candidates for the House and Senate using it this time."


Last November, Wright said candidates he works with made close to 2 million calls and received no complaints from any of the constituents. "People are not contacted more than once, and if there are two voters in a household we will only have them make one call to the house," Wright said.


Intelogistics Corp., a virtual call center with interactive voice-response technology, has offered the service to candidates since the last election season. According to Roy Semplenski, vice president of sales and marketing at the company, 80 percent of the candidates who have used it have won their elections.


Candidates provide Intelogistics with two messages. A message of about 12 seconds plays if the call reaches a live person, while a 30-second message plays when the call reaches an answering machine. Calls to answering machines run longer, according to Intelogistics, because consumers tend to be more comfortable listening to longer messages from an answering machine.


Intelogistics, Fort Lauderdale, FL, can handle numerous campaigns at one time. The lists of contacts are provided by the candidates, who are charged for the minutes they use the system and for long-distance charges, if necessary. For a 5,000-name list, the total averages about $200, assuming a certain percentage of the calls will be disconnects.


Campaigns are run by multiple processors and voice-response units, Semplenski said. At the end of the campaign, candidates receive a detailed report containing information on the number of people who listened to an entire message, those who hung up, the number of an-swering machines, and the number of busy signals.


Candidates can also use Intelogistics' polling service as they create their recorded telephone campaigns. The service provides information on who is going to vote, and if they are undecided or not.


Some candidates will use high-profile politicians to record messages for them. Semplenski said about 20 different campaigns should start running next season.


"The majority of the campaigns are on the small side," he said. "They fall anywhere between 5,000 to 10,000 records or calls."
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