Tories will need to exploit digital marketing

The Conservative Party’s decision to appoint LBi to its digital account could mark the start of an Obama-like electioneering battle. The now US president’s election campaign was notable for the integral role played by digital marketing.

Obama’s use of digital marketing in his charge for the White House has revolutionised how political campaigns will be run from here on in.

His electioneering trail saw him attract 2.2 million followers on Facebook, over one million on MySpace and over 100 million page views on YouTube. And of course there was the iPhone app.

But even more significantly, as it turned out, it was the tried and tested, much un-sexier tool of email marketing that really proved to be invaluable in galvanising support.

Obama managed to build a relationship with his followers online, which didn’t only help in his fundraising efforts, but also saw his supporters knocking on doors to drive more voters to register.

And it was not just a case of sending a mass email blast – they were personalised emails sent from local offices to maximise the relevance of their messages.

The campaign’s targeted approach was also amplified through the social community created on Obama’s official website which created over 200,000 events and initiated 35,000 groups during his two year push for presidency.

The success of his digital marketing strategy, led by the agency Blue State Digital, has now set a precedent in the way politicians market themselves.

From an industry perspective, Obama leapfrogged brand giants Apple and Nike to take the gong of Ad Age’s Marketer of the Year for 2008.

While it is not likely Tory leader David Cameron will bag himself any such UK-equivalent accolade, his party together with LBi will have to work hard and learn from the US election if it is to go anyway in emulating Obama’s success.

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