September 13, 2008 Phil

Politics, Politicians and Digital Marketing

I absolutely love how the Internet has completely changed the dynamic of the political landscape in world. Thanks to online social media tools, politicians now have a new battle ground for throwing hand grenades at each other. As little as 5 years ago they would have used network television, newsprint and newscasts to fire their rocket launchers at their political adversaries. Now all they have to do is get a movie star like say, Matt Damon to record a two-minute video completely undressing their opponent and BOOM, over 1.5 million people are influenced and engaged within 2 days. It seems in order to win an election today’s politician has to be a good public speaker (capable of bullshitting large crowds), a credibility assassin (capable of discrediting his competition) and a digital marketing guru (capable of building online brand with connections in Hollywood). What the hell happen to leadership, ethics and morality?

Sorry, I forgot for a moment that I was talking about politicians. Those words are not top of mind when you discuss our political “leaders”. Why is that? Why do the majority of voters look at the people who run our world as evil, manipulators who conspire to steal our tax dollars? Creditability and trust is obviously a big issue for politicians. Having these two virtues is no doubt the determining factor between winning and losing; hence, why so many candidates have turned to the Internet to build their personal brand online. They want people to get to know the person and the opponent at every level.

Politicians once depended on the physical presence and pole data to gauge their personal brand with constituents. Now they can crawl the web for blog posts, news items, comments and video content measuring opinions and looking for weakness in their opponent’s armor. They hire companies to drill down through all the layers of information online and provide insight. They wage war on one another with captivating online posts that generate immeasurable amounts of “Water Cooler” talk. As a result any close political race today is really undecided until the final bell or shoot across the bow. Unlike the days when candidates had to stop campaigning days before the vote, today they influence opinion right up until the “X” is marked on the ballot. It makes you wonder what hot and juicy tidbits Ohbama and Maclean have in their war chests set aside for the week prior to the vote when they load their Flame Throwers and burn one another.

With the power of digital marketing and the ruthless nature of politics today it amazing that we still have anyone interested in running for office. How many of us could stand the personal attacks and character assassinations that take place in the media. With this new digital battlefield the war seems to have intensified. Voting has become a measurement of who you dislike the least as opposed to who has the leadership skills. So I think I’ll wait until the night before Election Day to make my decision on whom to vote for in our upcoming federal election. I’ll go online, summarize all the news on each candidate, assign a rating using my “Bullshitometer” and glance at their election platform (not like they’re going to stick with it) then decide who best weathered the mine field of rhetoric. Thank God we have the Internet!

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