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Political Marketing, Meet Marketing 2.0

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Author: Susan Payton

Everyone markets their brand, including Presidential candidates. Whereas in the past, candidates have relied heavily upon volunteers to create a grassroots movement through door-to-door and telephone marketing, the 2008 election has added internet technology and Marketing 2.0 to its repertoire.

Hillary Clinton, for example, has figured out how cleverly created YouTube videos have garnered attention from the younger generation, the ones with the most voting potential. Her Sopranos spoof was viewed over 250,000 times. She got outside of the box of the traditional, stiff campaign format, and braved something new. She's already won many supporters with her campaign, which includes a Web 2.0, user-friendly website, blog included.

Barack Obama, too, understands the value in reaching the technologically savvy demographic. His donation campaign was conducted in part via email. Rather than a contributor sending $20 and never hearing back, the campaign managers cleverly set up a system that allowed people donations to be matched by other donors. Each donor could contact one another and write why they supported Barack. Again, note the interactive character never seen before.

CNN rode the Marketing 2.0 wave by presenting the presidential candidate debates on Youtube. Now they're available 24/7, and can be replayed and shared with anyone. You don't get much more accessible than that.

But the techniques don't stop at YouTube. Candidates have posted profiles on MySpace, Facebook, and Flickr, allowing virtually anyone to claim them as "friends." MySpace has announced that it will hold its own Primary in January, a true political first. And supporters of each candidate are helping out by posting their own blogs and forums on the fine qualities of their favorite contender. Want to help, but don't want to go door-to-door? Start a blog, a newsletter, anything that helps your candidate reach more voters.

Will technology make a difference in the results? Or will we just buzz about it up until the election, sending amusing videos to our contacts, only to remain holed up on Election Day? We'll see next November.

About the author: Susan Payton is Managing Partner of Egg Marketing & Public Relations. She assists small businesses with marketing strategy and corporate communications. She is also the author of 101 Entrepreneur Tips, a handy guide that helps entrepreneurs make repeat customers, close the sale, and delegate work. For more information on Susan and Egg Marketing, visit or email her at Get free shoestring marketing advice on Susan's blog,

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