Marketing during an election can be a turbulent endeavor, forcing you to find new ways to be heard between all the political ads, mudslinging, and a unique added challenge this year: news of the pandemic.
The last two elections in 2012 and 2016 have shown a measurable drop in sales near the election, with a 6% decrease during election week from the previous year.
While different age groups respond in different ways, election stress is hitting Americans of all ages, with Boomers and Millennials losing more sleep over the election than cool-headed Gen Xers.
That stress may be playing out in how these age groups spend. Gen Xers remained steady in their spending from 2015 to 2016, while Millennials engaged in retail therapy (up 5%), and Boomers pulled their belts a bit tighter (down 3%).
With so much election-related turmoil impacting marketing, and ultimately, sales, how can you keep your efforts on track and meet sales and marketing goals in the midst of an election season? Here are six steps to overcoming election-year marketing challenges:
Focus on Authenticity
Politicians are good at a lot of things, but authenticity tends to be a weak spot. If you’re looking for ways to get your messaging heard in a year packed with sweet talkers, put your energy into cultivating authenticity. That means live videos, engaging conversations on social media that encourage comments, and plenty of customer testimonials.
Back to Basics
While you might label it as a “content marketing strategy,” it might be helpful to remember that it’s always a problem-solving strategy. Your core goal needs to be adding value and solving challenges for your audience. No matter how much of a nail-biter any election race is, at some point, your audience needs to solve issues at their jobs and at home. If you’re ready with a solution, they’ll be grateful someone is focused on the everyday, normal issues people are trying to solve.
Invest in Quality Data for Personalized Messaging
It’s important to gather enough information on your audiences that you can narrow them down into segments for personalized content. This allows you to speak directly to the challenges they’re facing right this minute, rather than broader marketing that is too watered-down to appeal to everyone. When your audience members feel that you understand their specific situation, they’re more likely to invest in a relationship with your company.
Think About Bigger Values
Any election feels all-consuming while it’s happening. Use your marketing campaigns as a way to remind everyone of what’s still true outside of the election. For instance, think about an Instagram campaign that encourages everyone to share their favorite holiday picture. Or choose a universally-appealing word like, “light” or “joy” and invite your audience to contribute images that capture that word for them.
During an election, consumer habits change, so think about how you might need to change with them. Mobile use is up, so an SMS campaign is a good investment. Social media is always hot during an election as well. Use an agile and flexible mindset to match what’s happening during an election month.
Be Ready for the Bounce
The good news is that things tend to come back to normal quickly, but you should be ready to be top-of-mind for your audience when it does. In the 2016 election year, sales dropped 9% when political mailers swamped catalog sales, but they bounced right back in the next two weeks. Have your messaging ready so that as political campaigns wane, you’ll be ready.
Find out more about fully automated, all-in-one marketing tools that rely on quality data for precise segmentation and targeted messaging when you contact us at DirectMail.io.