It has been several weeks since I surveyed the online election data. With all of the fascination around social media and the Olympic Games, one could be forgiven for not paying as close attention to the November election and the absolute train wreck that is the GOP and Romney online campaign strategy.
In all of the conversations that I have had with colleagues and friends in recent months, most have counseled me to save my time and energy. ???The Republicans don???t get it,??? they say. There are those who claim that they have ???inside contacts??? within the Republican party that tell me that ???these guys get TV but they don???t get the Internet ??? Too many ???old cronies??? working inside the party, others say. ???It???s the Karl Rove direct mail thinking that is dooming the campaign others insist. My mailbox at home can attest to that last refrain. I have never received as much frivolous and expensive direct mail around a campaign as I have within the last couple of months.
Special note to Reince Preibus and the group of telemarketers trolling for dollars by calling my house every day: Maybe 20 years ago, somebody believed in that script you have hourly workers repeating off cue cards concerning the need to support the GOP at ???your direction.??? In 2012 only those who have been asleep or in a time warp really think any of that messaging is sincere.
With all of the incredible creative minds within the interactive arena, the Romney campaign and the GOP continue to use the same email template for all of their messaging. This is kinda like running the same 30 second spot in every market every minute of every day between now and Election Day. I have never seen a more misguided and ill-informed group of marketers in my entire career. The saddest part of this debacle is the belief that many of us have that no one cares in the Republican Party and/or the Romney camp.
If Mitt Romney wants to be President of these United States in 2012, then he better start surrounding himself with a group of advisers who know how to communicate to the citizens and voters in the manner that is most engaging in this day and age. What we are watching is a group of legacy thinkers holding on to marketing and campaign methods that went out of style decades ago. This group is so concerned with maintaining their control over things that they are dooming any serious run for the presidency at a time when the incumbent has more flaws than we could have ever dreamed. A President of the United States needs to be communicator in chief and understand communications better than anyone if he or she truly wants to lead. The Romney camp is showing everyone –including many of us in the ???faithful???– that they don???t have a clue on how to communicate their message in any effective manner.
Where are other GOP leaders?
We are 100 days out and all of those ???other Republican candidates??? for the White House have basically given only lip service to support of Mitt Romney. In the place where Newt, Sara, Ron, Rick, Tim and others could really do some serious heavy lifting for Romney (within their social media pages) there is no mention of Mitt and/or no true passion behind electing him president in November.
It is paradoxical for all of the tea party folks and Republican loyalists to step up to the podium in Tampa and espouse their support for Mitt Romney when they have done nothing and continue to do nothing to support his efforts by garnering support from their faithful online.
As much as they all want to see Barack Obama removed from office, they are not willing to park their own brands and egos on the sidelines to make this happen. Leadership in the Republican Party is to blame big time. It???s clear that the top leaders have done little or nothing to corral the collective resources of the party and unite them to defeat the president in November. Keep defending the use of more and more campaign dollars on TV commercials in swing states that no one is watching. Keep debating on network morning shows that many of us don???t respect and have turned off a long time ago. The total lack of understanding of how to communicate effectively in the modern age is absolutely astounding.
Romney outclassed online
We are 100 days from Election Day and a disaster. Mitt Romney has 2,921,580 Facebook friends to President Obama???s 27,570,678. On Twitter, Romney has 819,744 followers to Obama???s 18,023,354. In fact, Michelle Obama actually has more Twitter followers than Romney, currently at 1,219,411. The GOP and Romney camp have been totally outclassed online. It???s not even going to be close. What???s maddening about all of this is the fact that we have been tracking this data for the past six months and the trends have been consistent.
It???s clear that the GOP and Romney campaign advisers don???t really care about the Internet and social media. They have lost this battle and with 100 days to go; there is no chance that they can change the outcome here. In a very close election, every marketing tool in the arsenal needs to be optimized at the highest level. While they may be doing a great job with network television, direct mail , t-shirts and yard signs, the channel that has totally transformed the global landscape is a huge lost opportunity for them and all of us.
We are clearly 100 Days from Disaster.