Newt Gingrich

Denny Hatch is the author of six books on marketing and four novels, and is a direct marketing writer, designer and consultant. His latest book is “Write Everything Right!” Visit him at

I will list four examples of how not to run your email marketing, based on U.S. presidential campaigns. I will also provide four tips for the campaigns on how to improve their efforts, which I think many marketers can learn from as well. I tried to keep this blog post as politically neutral as possible, which turned out to be easier than I thought when I started, since most of the efforts were pretty poor. The 72-day study of presidential campaign email marketing

When it comes to content, the candidates are as varied in their email approaches as they are in their campaign platforms and speaking style: Most of Paul’s email messages read like long-form sales letters. Santorum’s messages are like personal notes or breaking-news stories. Romney’s campaign approach resembles classic email marketing more so than the other candidates, both in message length, use of images and video and even a promotional offer or two. There’s plenty of material here, so my content analysis will follow the lines of a typical email message, from the preheader text through the content.

A Fox News study—calm down Fox haters, this isn’t about political beliefs—has reportedly found that 19 states plus the District of Columbia now ask for an email address on voter registration cards. In nine of those states, according to Fox, email addresses from the cards are then sold to political parties, organizing groups, lawmakers and campaigns who can use them to send unsolicited emails. Of course, when Congress enacted the Can-Spam Act, it exempted political messages. And how are political spam’s proponents defending it? Why, with a free-speech argument, of course. 

Republican presidential candidates have made social media integral to their campaign efforts to win the White House in 2012—signing on to various social networks in hopes of reaching key constituents—and marketers can learn a lot by watching the political campaigns at work, according to a study by iContact.

“Money is the mother’s milk of politics,” said California State Assembly Speaker, Jesse “Big Daddy” Unruh (1922-1987).

For a politician, the Internet is a huge bargain.

For example, Newt Gingrich, who is flirting with a run for the presidency, has more than 1.3 million followers on Twitter.

Twitter is free. Talking to these million-plus followers—keeping them fired up on a very personal basis—costs Gingrich nothing beyond a bit of his time.

Twenty years ago, he would have been forced to mail postcards. In today’s dollars—at 30¢ a pop—each postcard mailing would cost Gingrich $394,000.

The record shows that Gingrich has sent out 2,363 tweets as of this morning.

If the former speaker had sent all his tweets to his full list, that’s 3 billion tweets. In postcard arithmetic, that totals $929 million worth of messages.

Conventional wisdom—especially amongst politicians and the very young—is that the Internet is a Godsend, because everything is free—news, magazines, books, music, movies, tweets, Facebook, correspondence.

“‘Conventional wisdom’ is an oxymoron,” wrote Charles Hughes and William Jeanes.

In actuality, the Internet—the “new medium” where everything is free—can be a catastrophe. Not only is it an enabler of excruciatingly sloppy, self-indulgent writing that bores people to stupefaction, but it can invade our privacy, get us fired, destroy our reputations and careers, and, in some cases, cause us to commit suicide.

A voucher mailing by Foreign Affairs is proof that sometimes, old controls don't die or fade away, they're just successfully refashioned for today's audiences. The first one, written by the late Len Berkowe, was its circulation-building workhorse from 1982 to 2003.

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