Lobbyists and Candidates Plan Early Ad Spending for the 2012 Campaign

Most political strategists admit that President Obama’s 2008 campaign was expertly run at both the local and national levels and with the use of both traditional and new media. Industry observers are attempting to predict how the Republicans will challenge Obama with respect to advertising during the next election cycle. And the spending has already begun.

For example, in March, Crossroads GPS spent $750,000 on a cable TV campaign that ran nationally. The campaign was anti-​union and experts expect to see more issue ads which highlight Obama weaknesses.  To wage his own campaign, Obama will likely raise between $750 million and $1 billion. In his 2008 campaign, Obama showed his prowess in understanding and using social media. And he’s expected to continue deploying these formats. However, a recently published report by Gloria Goodale, Christian Science Monitor, noted that Obama will also be using local TV. Charles Dunn, author of “The Seven Laws of Presidential Leadership,” says, “the president has a connectivity problem with the rank-​and-​file voters.” As a result, Obama will likely turn to more one-​on-​one interviews with local TV stations in the near future, especially in markets where he needs to improve his numbers.

Obama’s emphasis for this next election will be different. Four years ago, he was still introducing himself to the national scene. Advertising in this cycle will be all about improving his likability and de-​emphasizing his Ivy-​league background. Meanwhile, it will be the Republicans that have to come up with a name and broadcast it to voters across the country.

But the political campaign will be largely fought on a local level. And most strategists will be turning to the host of new technology that has enabled social media to become a bigger part of consumers’ lives.  Strategists will be launching ad campaigns on mobile devices ranging from phones to tablets. And a huge effort will go toward data-​mining to optimize  behavioral marketing. Look for campaigners to deploy quick response codes, mobile check-​ins and hyper-​local targeted messages on Facebook. Candidates who prove themselves adept at using these tools can connect with a younger demographic and save money that would have otherwise been spent on traditional media.

While it might be a little early for unknown candidates to begin spending their funds on traditional media, issue advertisers are already making themselves known. Look for lesser known candidates to start reaching out through social media as the interest in the 2012 election process heats up.

[Sources: Knickerbocker, Brad. Obama about to launch his reelection campaign. CSMonitor​.com. 3 Apr. 2011; Goodale, Gloria. Why Obama is turning back to TV. CSMonitor​.com. 19 Apr. 2011. Web. 3 May 2011;  Goodale, Gloria. New social media and the 2012 election. CSMonitor. com 20 Apr. 2011. Web. 3 May 2011] 
Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.