Well another political season is fast upon us. It may seem to the constituents that there is a lull in the process, but for those of us involved in campaigning, the seasons seem to run together. As soon as one election cycle is finished, we are quickly jumping into the next.
No matter where your political persuasion lays, the parties and candidates are anxious to take the pulse of the electorate and formulate their messages. All indications point to this being a very active year for phone campaigns leading to the 2012 election.
The Republican hopefuls, now smaller in number, continue to jockey to establish their brand and appeal to the party voters. For many in the Grand Old Party, they hope the decision comes sooner than later so they can turn their full attention on the incumbent.
The Democrats job is a bit more straightforward….they would like to continue rebuilding the public opinion and confidence of Barack Obama 1.0 and regain control of the House. How will they sell the promise of positive change and deliver the message of accomplishment for the first four years? On both sides, it will be fun to watch.
At GCS we are proud of our long involvement in the nation's political process. In fact, many of our associates have participated in campaigns for more than 20 years. I particularly have enjoyed working with both national campaigns and local elections to bring quality messages to constituents all across the US. There is a real satisfaction in being a responsive partner for campaign managers and their consultants. We are nimble and capable of running quick constituent outreach programs to achieve the campaign's desired results.
Our live agent outreach programs are effective at providing real human interaction and appeal into your campaign. When deciding your outreach channels, consider the one that reaches out to voters, early and often in the election process.
Based on our experience with a wide range of campaigns over the years, here is my checklist for finding the best vendor for your situation.
- Find an experienced Program Manager – Anyone can set up a dialer and load a recorded message. Work with someone who understands what it takes beyond the technology to make the message work and who can effectively guide your program through his or her organization. Using real live agents can add that personal touch to your engagement efforts. Plus, a good Program Manager is a valuable extension of your campaign staff.
- Demand Seasoned Pros - Make sure the staff supporting the Program Manager has real political experience. Do the Programmers, Scripters and IT group "Get it" when it comes to your need for quality, speed and perfect data and reports?
- Look for Flexibility and Scalability – Campaign messages are often time sensitive, particularly as you get close to Election Day. You need a partner who is nimble enough to make quick changes and big enough to finish your outreach in a specific window of time. For instance, we have a political campaign service designed to "go live" on programs in as little as two hours after receiving the specifications.
- Buy Value – Do not overspend, or under spend. Find the outreach channel that effectively reaches the most people. Texting, e-mail blasts, recorded messages and live agents all have their place in the campaign budget. Understand the power, and limitations, of each when planning your outreach. Good program managers can help with making these decisions.
- Increase Response with Professional Delivery – Whether you use a recorded message or live agents, make sure they are trained in giving effective presentations. Political dialog is personal to many people and you want to make sure the agent is able to pick-up on constituent feedback and respond effectively.
- Make sure the Technology Matches Your Need – Consult with your partner to determine which technology has the most value and impact for your campaign. Do you need a simple IVR for recorded messages or will the persuasiveness of the live agent gain you those few additional percentage points to put you over the top? Do you need a one-and-done program or an ongoing, nurturing campaign? Multi-channel partners like GCS are able to offer integrated programs mixing outbound, inbound and IVR functionality to control costs while increasing persuasion.
- Take Advantage of Regional Flavor - Especially with local issues, find a professional partner with regional locations, whose agents are clued-in to the feelings and challenges of the constituents. We maintain contact centers throughout the US so we can match a regional accent or provide accent neutral folks. We have bilingual (Spanish/English) contact centers and are proficient at bilingual political calls.
- Avoid Issues by Keeping Data Secure and Programs in Compliance – Make sure the partner is able to demonstrate policies and procedures to protect your data and make calls in compliance with Federal and State regulations. Certifications like PCI and SRO will demonstrate certifications for data security and compliance.
I am truly looking forward to this election season. It promises to be full of exciting and hotly contested races at the local, state and national levels. We have already moved into the outreach cycle with activity polling potential voters to begin the process of developing the winning message! We have successfully delivered on a wide range of program types; including: Voter ID, Persuasion, Advocacy, Patch-thru, Micro-targeting, Contribution, Inbound calls and Get out the Vote calls. Feel free to reach out to me for an honest assessment of voter contact programs you are considering to influence your next successful campaign.