Participatory Democracy or Integrated Marketing?

On my way to the airport on Friday, I got a telephone call from Friends of Kerry. It had been some time since I had received a telephone call from the campaign – and I was surprised to get a request – not for money, but for having my name included in Kerry’s Citizen’s Roll Call for saving the Arctic National Wildlife Preserve. Interestingly enough, this did not start out as a call for money, but for my name to become part of the petition – very similar to the petition handlers I often see on the streets of New York or London.

Granted, I was then asked for a donation – which somewhat disappointed me (but then again, how else are they to generate funds) – but this could be the first step in terms of building a true integrated marketing campaign – leveraging what occurs on the web, on the phone, in direct mail and events in the news – to bring the concept of participatory democracy to the next level.

One thing that any of the Democratic organizations could be doing – is integrating the actions of what occurs on the web, direct mail, phone and email. This requires a substantial effort in managing process information (e.g. did the person sign the petition, did they donate, did they mail in a donation) but the potential benefit of being able to comment to me on the phone (“Mr. Dickert, thank you for signing our Roll Call – your involvement helps Senator Kerry make a difference in this Senate…”) makes that little difference that can help both in donations as well as future involvement when volunter action is called upon.

To date, I have not seen this effort in the DNC – my understanding is that the web site and the fundraising systems are separate at present (or share a slight interface), but the integration of these systems and databases – and the timely management of the data within them – would help identify the valued Influentials that are incredibly cruical to the Democrat’s cause. By building this relationship, and using a little integrated marketing techniques – we can foster more participation – and help every Democratic campaign to win.

Minor anecdote – I was recently visiting a friend’s home in London and picked up a call for him. The telemarketing script was incredibly enagaging – and, while I knew the effort was telemarketing, the use of an engaging script and engagement words were spectacular. We in the US could learn a little from this effort – understated but engaging.

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