Jeff Jarvis posts instructively about Bush campaign manager (and new RNC chairman) Ken Mehlman, who tells us how the Republicans pulled it off.
Never mind your politics. Learn from this -- the Republicans got smart about their market before they tried to create content. When they did their writing, they knew what the voter wanted to hear and where s/he would go to hear it.
"We did what Visa did," Mr. Mehlman said. "We acquired a lot of consumer data. What magazine do you subscribe to? Do you own a gun? How often do the folks go to church? Where do you send your kids to school? Are you married?"
"Based on that, we were able to develop an exact kind of consumer model that corporate American does every day to predict how people vote -- not based on where they live but how they live," he said. "That was critically important to our success."
You could call this brilliant, but it really isn't. It's just smart. And what every company with something to sell should do as a matter of course. But, as a matter of course, most don't.
By the way, while I'm at it, here's my take on the amusing red state / blue state "debate" with personal views mixed in:
- I was born and raised in a red state.
- I live now in a (very) blue state.
- Both states have great people.
- Both states have some people who are much too extreme for my comfort.
- I don't care for red state provincialism.
- I don't care for blue state condescension (in fairness, my blue state neighbors are not at all condescending, compared with some others...part of the reason I like it here).
- I like the social tolerance of blue states.
- I like the economic conservatism of the red states.
- Blue voters theories and ideas aren't any more "correct" than red voters, and vice versa. People just feel how they feel, and that is in fact their reality.
The people running the blue campaigns did a poor job of understanding (not agreeing with, just understanding -- important distiction) the red voters. That's why they're so surprised and shocked. (Look at the frustration boiled up in Bill Breen at the Fast Company blog...and the education he's (I hope) getting from the comments. As one comment puts it, he's not seeking to understand.) If the blues are paying attention, they've learned that right or wrong, red voters feel very strongly about their issues and will 1) work hard and 2) get out and vote.
I don't care for many of the red voter positions, but the people running the red campaigns outworked the blues, did their homework, used very direct, simple messages to achieve their desired actions and outcomes, and won. The blues assumed too much, underestimated the strength of the opposition, didn't do the work where they should have, and lost.