//Vote.org tries static billboards, print ads in university newspapers and SMS to reach the inaccessible

Vote.org tries static billboards, print ads in university newspapers and SMS to reach the inaccessible



How to reach a demographic that does not watch cable TV, block online ads, and dislike e-mail, for a product with a difficult launch date?

This is essentially the marketing challenge facing Vote.org a non-profit, non-partisan organization. It is trying to reach out to young voters, such as students, people of color and voters who voted for the first time in the last presidential election, all of them toward the "product launch" of the US mid-term elections. November 6th.

Why these groups? The first two categories tend to be dumped proportionately to their population, but this latter category, explained Raven Brooks, head of Vote.org operations, is a priority, as his organization tries to 39, encourage a habit of voting. If they voted in 2016 and again halfway through, he said, they will have a 55% greater chance of voting again in subsequent elections.

But these voters and potential voters are particularly hard-to-reach with marketing messages designed to encourage free registration and voting activities.

For example, he noted, 69% of students block online ads and are among the least likely to watch cable TV.

Billboards and print ads. So, Vote.org has created a multi-level campaign to circumvent these limitations, the need for which is all the more remarkable as the target groups are among the most literate and most connected in the world. world history.

For the first time, he advertises via Flytedesk an advertising network on campus. Vote.org broadcasts 1,200 print ads in the same number of academic journals in higher education institutions, but the focus is on community colleges and smaller attended by ten million students.

The group also uses 2,500 billboards in nine states and seven metropolitan areas, mostly old-fashioned static types that have existed since the time of the students' grandparents, as well as digital incarnations on highways and bus stops.

And a massive SMS effort. Young people are notoriously difficult to reach by e-mail, but they send SMS. So, Vote.org is now testing a massive SMS program in nearly three dozen states.

SMS are conducted in a peer-to-peer effort, where Vote.org sends SMS to nine million voters via the Hustle application. Even though mass-automated texting is illegal, Brooks pointed out that the law allows humans to text strangers, if this is done occasionally and not in a relentless wave.

Thus, Vote.org workers send not more than three voting reminders, spread over three days, to the voters registered on their lists. If they answer, the group has prepared answers to questions that can be returned.

In addition, the organization also sends a list of more than four million emails a direct email address.

Why this is important for marketers. For political marketers, more active voters should mean more opportunities to plead their case.

But for other marketers, Vote.org's challenge is reminiscent of the overall challenge of reaching youth and / or minorities. New approaches through new channels may attract more attention than marketing through the same channels, which may simply become part of the background noise.

The results of these new efforts to reach the inaccessible will only be known after the elections, Brooks said. But if it works, marketers will have conquered another Everest.

This story was first published on MarTech Today. For more information on marketing technology, click here.

About the author

Barry Levine covers marketing technology for Third Door Media. Previously, he covered this space as a senior editor for VentureBeat, and he wrote on these technical topics, among others, for publications such as CMSWire and NewsFactor. He founded and managed the website / unit of PBS Thirteen / WNET; worked as a Senior Producer / Writer Online for Viacom; created a successful interactive game, PLAY IT BY EAR: The first CD game; founded and directed an independent film, CENTER SCREEN, based at Harvard and M.I.T .; and served for five years as a consultant to the M.I.T. Media Lab. You can find it on LinkedIn and Twitter on xBarryLevine.