AASP: Blue State Keynote

Rich Mintz from Blue State Digital (Obama's online strategists) is the keynote speaker. Some gleanings:

*Internet 10 years ago -- "used by geeks & specialists (crazy uncle with an AOL account)"

*In 2003, online organizing was "like ham radio" -- fringey

*Blue State -- less than 25% of revenue is from political campaign, most is now non-profit. Will not work for "merchants of evil," or highly dysfunctional organizations (per Rich, the majority of those they turn down for this reason are higher ed)

*Points out that desire for online programs is decoupled from ROI

*Institutional messaging often "all wrong for small donors"

*Social networking treated as an infrastructure problem, not a messaging issue

*3 keys: engagement (most important -- don't just talk, listen); transparency; authenticity

*Obama: 2/3 of money raised was online, $560M. Average donor gave total of $100, more than 2 donations. Average age was mid-40s.

*Obama: 2 billion emails sent, more than 300 segmentation channels (!)

*New media must be on even footing with traditional communications staff

*Create and maintain a narrative -- plan 5 or 6 emails and segmentation branches rather than one email at a time

*Goal: lower barrier to entry while raising expectations

*Email: why am I on this list, what do you want me to do right now, what comes next? You have 4 or 5 seconds to get this across

*Be ready for surprises -- act quickly.

*Six lessons:
1) "Online" is a whole-enterprise project. About 1/2 of investment in online ends up funding organizational change management, rather than program.

Don't fear interactivity harming your brand -- they are saying it anyway! May as well make sure you are part of the conversation.

2) Message matters -- authenticity, timing, don't just ask for money.

Small donors: immediacy, imploring, group-oriented, concrete, collaborative.

3) "Mighty oaks from little acorns grow." Small donors may not even realize they are small donors.

4) "Relationships matter more than ever." Rich says newsletters are not that useful. They tend to serve internal political purposes more. Communicate more often, in shorter bursts. Make it relevant to the recipient -- segment, segment, segment.

5) "Everybody wants to be an insider." "Ask me to do something easy and meaningful today."

6) "Everybody is different." Rich loves segmentation! (So do I.)

Amanda JarmanComment