Following President Obama’s successful campaigns, corporate clients were quick to hire members of his digital team. I saw this same scenario play out a decade ago after President Bush’s reelection. Many of my friends and colleagues landed lucrative, non-political work, and mostly it was attributed to their success on Bush-Cheney.
Winners draw worshippers, but it’s not the cult of winning that allows political firms to land non-political business. Rather, that’s just what grabs corporate America’s attention. The reason they get hired? Certainty.
Corporations and politicians are the same when it comes to avoiding the risky unknown. They want to do everything in their power to achieve certainty. Campaigns associate certainty with winning – the ultimate outcome. With non-political like branding, it’s about certainty that the company’s bottom line with improve.
Now, winning only gets a political firm’s foot in the door – it’s now up to that company to pitch their non-political business in a way that distinguishes it from its competitors.
Political firms that focus their pitches on their execution-rate — voters reached, clicks, donations, data collected — typically have a slight edge. That edge creates more certainty in the mind of the non-political client. I’ve said for years that corporate media firms know how to paint a beautiful picture, but political media firms know how to target their audience much more effectively. With traditional TV ad buying waning and data-driven ad buying on the rise, political firms have the opportunity to take advantage of a broader marketplace.
In addition to execution rates, there are other measurements that translate between the two worlds. For instance, a corporate entity measures its success in profits while candidates measure success in votes. As consultants, our confidence is grounded in data and the deliverables that stem from it. These deliverables usually come in the form of what we label actions taken or conversions.
What drives these conversions? Content is a driver, but it’s only as good as the audience it was intended for. That means proper targeting is key. The more compatible our creative is to the universe we serve it to, the higher our conversion rate. That means we must identify the proper mix of data tags — behavioral, consumer, geographic, vote history, et cetera — that ensure our universes are narrowed to only the most actionable targets. Our ability to marry creative with targeting and speed is what drives action. And enough action is what eliminates uncertainty.
Corporate companies are searching for certain outcomes that are critical to their bottom line. Political firms provide a unique angle into that line of strategy. If the collision of certainty is properly leveraged, there are crossover opportunities that firms can seize.