Wednesday, 4 June 2008

Of technology, influence and presidential elections: Barack’s edge…

Did you know that in the volume of funding for his presidential campaign, Barack Obama has out raised Hillary Clinton , (now run this by me again? A nobody senator from Chicago is able to out-fundraise the invincible Clinton machine?) He gets more than $ 1 MM daily thro internet based funding mechanisms, and more important, this is not by accident, but by deliberate design? Well, I was listening to John Edwards speak at an event today and this is what I heard from him…

Interesting- I never thought I would be commenting about the US presidential elections, but hey, why not? All the candidates are needing to move a target audience (the citizens of the US)e from point A (don't care about you/ don't know above you) to point B ( will vote for you)- not that different from a marketing campaign's objective, right?.

The point I want to illustrate though is that Barack has harnessed the power technology to create influence today- and has displayed serious "marketing think"- think about it:

  1. By Design, Barack has avoided those "large ticket donors" which was the traditional way of doing things, and ,hence has retained the independence he needs to voice his views without worriying about hurting any of his big donors
  2. Any individual who has given $25 his campaign, has planted a flag on the ground, indicating that (s)he is a supporter, will vote Barack and will convert other folks to vote Barack- very impressive, given the steady stream of supporters that seem to continue to join his grass roots campaign
  3. An opportunity to sample/ research/ poll/ pass by a large base of voters and get their views before actually articulating them- and hence having a safety valve as well as a bouncing board for his policies
  4. An immense sense of "support" coming from a mass movement, rather than resting on a small group of hi-value donors- a big confidence building measure.

In creating online communities that have supported/ voted/ funded Barack, I have no doubt that the Facebook/Myspace and the deliberate on-line campaigns have played a very relevant role in Barack's upset of the apple cart of folks that were much more incumbent than he was- and we have a lesson to learn from the role technology has played in getting Barack to where he is today… the game of influence has been proven to be completely amenable to technology…

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