Cover Story: The Direct Marketing Election
"Within a matter of 35 days starting July 24, I received 11 text messages. And in my view, that is way too many, especially three months before the election," says Hasen. "Just because you have someone's permission to come into their house, doesn't mean you should overstay your welcome," he says. "I would rather get periodic updates that are relevant to me, and they need to provide news to me, rather than be repetitive."
Hasen speculates the recent announcements by both campaigns that supporters can donate via text message may be just a way to get them to opt-in for targeted text messaging—considering that carriers likely take a big chunk of the donation to collect the money via cell phone bills.
"As far as campaigns just using text donations to get people to opt in to message, I don't think it's a necessarily smart strategy," Hasen says. "It's a lower barrier of entry just to ask them to opt in to get campaign information than to ask for a donation."
Unlike the Daisy ad, none of these tactics is intended to be a knockout punch against the opposing candidate on Nov. 6. Instead, they leverage the power of direct marketing to drive immediate actions, collect data and build relationships with the customers (donors and supporters, as well as voters) that the parties hope to be able to leverage for years to come.
Katie Kuehner-Hebert is a Calif.-based journalist who has written forAmerican Banker, HRO Today, Benefits Selling and other business publications.