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5 Reasons Why Email Marketing Is Going to Decide 2016 Election

Email marketing played a huge role in Barack Obama’s successful 2012 re-election bid: the majority of the $690 million that the campaign raised online was driven by fundraising emails. And I’m betting that email marketing is going to play an even bigger role in 2016. Here are 5 reasons why:

  1. The word got out about Obama’s email success. The Obama campaign sent a lot of email… actually a ton of email. Lots of the emails were strange, with subject lines like “Hey,” “Wow”, or “It doesn’t have to be this way.” But the team there knew what they were doing, tested aggressively, and emailed aggressively, with great success. Hillary Clinton’s campaign is going big on email right out of the gate – not just from a volume perspective, but also from a segmentation perspective (they sent 290 unique campaigns in June alone) – and we still have 7 months to go until the Iowa Caucus.
  1. Email isn’t just about sending email to inboxes anymore. A lot has changed in the world of online advertising since the last campaign. About 60% of all online interactions now take place on mobile devices (see Fluent’s last “Devices & Demographics” study for the details), and frail to non-existent support for cookies in mobile web browsers has given rise to email-based targeting of display ads across channels and across devices. Offerings like Facebook’s “Custom Audience” enable marketers to upload encrypted files of their email lists to Facebook, and then re-target those individuals (and their lookalikes) with display advertising. Other ad networks and media companies have followed Facebook’s lead with similar offerings. At the end of the day, this means that campaigns with large email lists won’t just benefit from being able to send email to their subscribers – they also will also benefit from more effective and targeted display advertising campaigns.
  1. A recent FCC ruling is poised to limit “robocalling” in this election. In June, the FCC voted to prevent unwanted robocalls, and clarified that telecommunications carriers are under no legal obligation to connect calls placed by auto-dialers – including calls from political parties and campaigns. The Commission issued this clarification in direct response to the concerns of the American public: unwanted calls are the largest source of complaints sent to the FTC. The net effect of the FCC’s ruling will potentially be less telemarketing for polling and fundraising purposes in this election cycle, and more reliance online partners for polling, and email marketing for soliciting donations.
  1. More ad dollars are now spent online than on any other channel, including TV. For years, online ad spending lagged time spent online relative to other channels like TV and radio. That changed in 2013, and the web hasn’t looked back. The commercial world has finally embraced online above all other channels, and in the run up to the 2016 election, the political world will as well.
  1. Email today is better than it was 4 years ago. The last point I’ll make is that email marketing itself continues to get better. The days of one-size-fits-all “batch and blast” email campaigns are well behind us, and today marketers have the tools to target consumers, with great precision, at a massive scale. Emails can be tailored to each individual recipient and communicate to them about the issues that they care about the most. Campaigns can now go beyond delivering a canned pitch to “jane@yahoo.com” and instead deliver email to “jane@yahoo.com” who is a Democrat (or Republican), has 2 children in the household, is likely to donate $100 over the course of the campaign season, and cares deeply about health care and gun control.

The 2016 campaign is just starting to heat up and there is a long road ahead for the candidates (and for all of us), but I feel safe to go out on a limb, even this early on, and say that the campaign(s) that win the email battleground are the one’s that are going to have the best shot at winning the White Hous

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