Republican National Committee

The Secret of Winning Elections: Direct Mail
April 22, 2014

Two recent Supreme Court decisions—Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission and McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission—have radically changed the American political landscape and put liberals' knickers in a twist. In the 2012 election, the competing billions—spent by the Democrats and Republicans—for the most part were spent on TV. Policy wonks watch cable news incessantly. The media and Washington insiders take cable news seriously. They consider themselves to be on the cutting edge of defining the issues ultimately controlling the results.

TV Ads Just for You, Dear Voter
February 18, 2014

The days when political campaigns would try to make inroads with demographic groups such as soccer moms or white working-class voters are gone. Now, the operatives are targeting specific individuals. And, in some places, they can reach those individuals directly through their televisions. Welcome to "addressable TV," an emerging technology that allows advertisers—Senate hopefuls and insurance companies alike—to pay some broadcasters to pinpoint specific homes

How Obama’s Geek Leakers May Have Cost Themselves Billions
July 2, 2013

In the late 1960s, I went to work for the godfather of American political fundraising. Walter Weintz was the circulation director of Readers Digest before he went on to start his own direct mail agency. In 1952, Walt was ordered to take paid leave from the Digest to help get Eisenhower-Nixon elected. Using primitive data and old-fashioned direct mail testing, he revolutionized the business and philosophy of political campaigns. He not only generated votes, but-wonder of wonders-raised cash to pay for the mailings. For the first time this was cash from Joe and Jane Lunchbucket, not from rich high rollers.

Will Democrats Sell Your Political Opinions to Credit Card Companies?
February 7, 2013

For years, state Democratic parties have been gathering information about individual voters' political leanings. They have noted down the opinions voters shared with canvassers—which candidates they said they supported or their positions on policy issues. Now, the record of what people told Democratic volunteers may go up for sale—and not just to political groups. Democrats are looking into whether credit card companies, retailers like Target or other commercial interests may want to buy the information. State Democratic party leaders formed the National Voter File Co-op in 2011 to sell their voter data to approved groups like the NAACP. The goal

Direct Mail Still a Force in Campaigns
October 15, 2012

The modern political campaign has fully embraced social media to reach voters, but President Obama and challenger Mitt Romney are still spending massive sums on a more traditional form of communication: snail mail. Mailings are used to attack opponents, make policy promises, solicit donations and help supporters register to vote. “The power of it is still huge because it’s reaching that age group that includes baby boomers, who are still largely more comfortable with direct mail than other, newer forms of communication,” said Paul Bobnak, research director for Direct Marketing IQ...

Political Campaigns Dig Through Online Data to Target Voters
May 29, 2012

Voters who click on President Barack Obama's campaign website are likely to start seeing display ads promoting his re-election bid on their Facebook pages and other sites they visit. Voters searching Google for information about Mitt Romney may notice a 15-second ad promoting the Republican presidential hopeful the next time they watch a video online. The 2012 election could be decided by which campaign is best at exploiting voters' Internet data. ... strategists say the most important breakthrough this year is the campaigns' use of online data to raise money, share information and persuade supporters to vote.

Obama's $750 Million Juggernaut
December 16, 2008

The two Davids—Axlerod and Plouffe—are marketing geniuses. They propelled Barack Obama to the presidency by running textbook campaigns in the primaries and general election.

In the course of their work, they raised three-quarters of a billion dollars, upended the entire business of political fundraising and scotched forever the Holy American Empire’s concept of taxpayer-funded elections.

How’d they do it?

I have in my archive 187 e-mails from the Obama campaign to me (from 3/5/08 – 12/9/08) and 207 messages from the Hillary Clinton press office to me (from 3/11/08 – 5/9/08).

This is grist for a book or white paper on what Obama did right and Clinton did wrong—especially since the presumptive secretary of state is in the hole for $30 million and is whining and begging, while the president-elect is sitting on a $30 million surplus.

As readers of this e-zine know, history fascinates me. And for three and a half years, I had the enormous privilege of working for Walter Weintz, the father of direct mail political fundraising.

What follows is the story of how it all began. The pioneering work in political fundraising by Walter Weintz in the 1950s is directly applicable to the world of fundraising today—more than a half-century later—whether you use snail mail, e-mail, off-the-page advertising or the telephone.

Archive Observations: Searching For Members Near And Far
November 20, 2008

Museums and cultural organizations typically offer a one-size-fits-all membership to prospects regardless of where they live. But two mailings received by the Archive in recent months depart from that norm. In August, Smithsonian Associates, an arm of the Smithsonian Institution, mailed an offer targeting residents in the Washington, DC metropolitan area. "Enrich your life" reads the teaser on the #10 OSE, and, inside, the letter and brochure spell out in detail the wide variety of programs, seminars, tours and discounts available to members who are only a short drive or Metro ride away from its museums. The Smithsonian is presented as a living, breathing place where it's “time to invest in you” (Archive code #576-171699-0808A).

Should You Be a Consultant?
September 21, 2006

When The Wall Street Journal has a special section titled “The Journal Report,” I try to read it. I pay a lot to subscribe because I need to know what the current thinking is in all aspects of business. I started reading “The Journal Report” to learn about the 10 ways to make more money in a job. The writer’s first suggestion was: Listen to your boss. I got no further. The words hit me with the same effect that biting into a madeleine cake had on Marcel Proust (1871-1922). The taste of that small, rich cookie sent a flood of memories reeling through Proust’s brain and was

Survey Power
October 6, 2005

Turning Involvement Devices into Dollars Oct. 6, 2005: Vol. 1, Issue #37 IN THE NEWS As scrutiny of heart-device makers intensifies, one tactic that is coming into question involves companies making payments to doctors who use their products and fill out surveys about them.To get such payments, doctors must fill out a so-called postmarketing survey about new heart defibrillators and pacemakers. In one such survey, Guidant Corp. of Indianapolis has offered money to doctors to describe potential improvements the manufacturer could make in its heart products, said doctors who are on the company's advisory board. --Thomas M. Burton "Guidant Draws