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Getting Out the Vote

Election Day is one week away, and campaigning has reached a fever pitch. And, the number of organizations using their brands to urge people to vote is at an all-time high. From tech giants like Amazon and Google to classic American brands such as Wells FargoLevi Strauss and Starbucks, businesses are promoting “vote and/or vote early” on social media, including Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. The big social media platforms all have resources to help people find out where and when they can vote, as do high traffic apps such as Yelp. Of course, Optima Group agrees wholeheartedly with this sentiment and urges everyone to vote and make their voices heard.

How effective are these tactics? Like all consumer marketing, we think of this initiative along the customer lifecycle. In this situation, the customer or voter journey is something like this:

• Awareness (voicing/creating the need – why one should vote)
• Lead generation (how one can vote)
• Fulfillment (the means to register to vote and information on how to make sure your ballot is successfully cast)
• Conversion (actual act of voting)
• Post-sale communication (“I voted” acknowledgment)

Large company efforts promoting the importance of voting are strong in building awareness, serving as “air cover.” Unfortunately, the audiences they reach are often the ones that are already convinced of the need and have the resources and knowledge to execute. So while the tactic may be brand enhancing, it may not be moving the voting needle that much, according to Christopher Mann, a political scientist at Skidmore College. The tactical information found on social media sites focus more on lead generation and fulfillment. These sites and apps have a diverse audience, including those who benefit most and are accustomed to obtaining news, information and resources digitally. They are widely used by younger audiences, helping boost historically low voter participation rates. The last two stages of the customer journey, lead conversion, or actual voting, and post-sale communication, acknowledging the voter’s contribution to the democratic process, are handled by public resources.