There is an argument to be had that the run up to May’s General Election is turning into a set of nationwide marketing campaigns, with the huge budgets to match. Each of the major parties have identified a demographic they want to target, each party has a message they want to spread and each party is using various channels (not to mention, agencies) to tell their story. One channel that has become increasingly important in the 2015 Election is digital.
Ever since Obama’s ground-breaking use of social media during his presidential campaign in 2008, politicians have been attempting to harness the power of the online world in similar way. No one has quite managed to achieve what the US President did but the digital space does play a major role in political campaigns here and abroad.
As early as late last year, the parties were partnering with some of the world’s leading marketing agencies. Labour have even chosen Blue State Digital, the agency behind the aforementioned Obama campaign, as their digital strategy partner for the General Election. They launched a redesigned website in October.
The Conservatives, partnering with M&C Saatchii, have integrated online and offline in their strategy by producing a set of “attack” videos and posters. They have made use of their social media channels, along with traditional methods such as billboards, to promote their message.
However, out of all the major parties, it is the Liberal Democrats that have impressed most with their digital strategy with a localised campaign. In an attempt to appeal to swing voters, the party’s website shows personalised content about your local constituency based on your computer’s IP address.
It’s the first time a strategy of this kind has been employed by a political party in the UK. Bess Mayhew, the Liberal Democrat’s digital communication stated, “Viewing web content that is more personal and less generic can really impact the way people vote, and small margins can make a huge difference to the final result.“.
The Lib Dems are only polling 9% at the moment so it is very unlikely they will make any significant impact on May 7. But, as digital marketers, we should take a moment to appreciate their sublime execution of an innovative digital strategy.