How To Win A U.S. Election With Digital Marketing

Marketing is the art of creating awareness, forming impressions, persuasion and leading an audience of individuals to take a specific requested action.

While marketing is generally used for products or services, as a digital marketer there is no greater challenge I can think of than using it to win an election. But how would one go about such a task?

Like every marketing endeavor, research comes first. As U.S. elections are heavily based on winning states, start by mapping out states by the percentage of Republican and Democrat supporters residing in each state. The next step is to investigate the percentage of known active voters in each state. Base this data on a percentage of prior elections, added to the percentage of swing votes.

Having undertaken these steps, the map would show me the following:

  • The states with the most support for the selected candidate.
  • The states with the least support for the selected candidate.
  • The states with the most potential support.
  • The states with the most swing voters.




This becomes the basis for understanding which states should receive targeted marketing, and what kind of message should be transmitted in each state.

If a state has a majority support, the message should urge people toward voting in the election.

If the potential is high but voting is low, the message detailing the importance of voting for their preferred candidate should be stronger.

If the states are regarded for swing votes, the message should detail what the preferred candidate has to offer, and focus on increasing their likeability score in the targeted areas.

But what about states with low support? It’s a matter of ROI; how much worth, financially, it will cost to turn those states toward the preferred candidate.

This also brings up two very important factors taken into account throughout the whole process. While many people have a predetermined choice of vote, when it comes to the actual vote, when they are standing at the booth, alone with no one to judge them and complete anonymity, some will go with what they truly believe is right for them.

Some people have predetermined feelings of belonging and a favorite party; ultimately, people care about what their president will do for them on a personal level. You might be a Republican and care about your second amendment, but if you also happen to be out of a job and the Democrat running makes you feel like they will get you one, you may just have a change of heart.

As with any campaign, timing is crucial.

With more traditional marketing like newspapers, radio and TV, each candidate speaks to the masses, and has to give a single pitch to a diverse audience. With digital marketing, however, candidates can reach out to each state, city, county, neighborhood and even zip code independently with a tailored message.

For example, Steven in New York will receive the message about how important being pro-abortion is to the candidate, and James in Texas will receive the message that the candidate believes that creating jobs is the most important policy they can present.

By understanding each state and breaking it down to the smallest possible fragments, tailoring the message to hit each voter on a personal level, you can tailor your pitch to what really matters to them.

Once the research phase is complete, the campaigns need to be set up.

The best place to begin is with basic display (visual) banners or Facebook newsfeed posts, followed by tailored videos, one for each type of voter, state, city, etc.

AdWords is perfect for location targeting, and incorporates YouTube advertising. Because the idea is to get the preferred candidate’s message across and make a deep connection, video ads are at the top of my list. I split my video ads into two types: the first is by location, based on the prior research and goals; the second is based on topics.

Have the candidate create a video for each topic that is important to voters or trending in the upcoming election, then create YouTube campaigns to feature the videos before every video on YouTube with a related topic. For example, if the topic is healthcare, a video about how the candidate plans to improve healthcare will show up before every video on YouTube about Obamacare, treating illness, health tips, etc. People who are actively looking to watch videos on those topics will see the candidate’s video.

As with any campaign, timing is crucial. Keeping in mind that each click costs money and that ads that run for too long become spam very quickly. I would probably time my campaign to run twice for a one-week period: once four months before the election and again the week of.

The four-month campaign would be to raise awareness of the preferred candidate, turning them into a trending topic and influencing those swing votes, especially of younger, tech-savvy generations.

A week before the election, a high-scale, all-out campaign should be run to rein in the loyal voters and remind the sways why they should vote for my wonderful candidate.

Would you like to run for president?