What Romney-Ryan need to do online now

Mitt Romney???s selection of Paul Ryan and the subsequent marketing spin around the ???Comeback Team??? never seemed more appropriate as we study just how big a rally is required to get back in this race.

While it may seem romantic to draw on the spirit of Ronald Reagan and stump along the battleground states lambasting President Barack Obama for his failed policies, it will take a heck of a lot more than bravado to convince the undecided voters in our land that they should believe in this dynamic duo. The mass media would love to have us all to believe (because it makes great theater on television) that this will be the closest election in our lifetime.  From where I sit, 11 weeks out, all of this is dangerous and misguided thinking.

We have just experienced the immense power that social media channels have played during the Olympic coverage on a world-wide basis. The first truly digital Olympics provided us a vantage point that made very clear the dynamic shift in media consumption patterns among our fellow citizenry.

It???s abundantly clear, despite the protestations of those who continue to hold on to legacy thinking, that today???s voter is using ???multiple screens??? to consume all sorts of content. This idea that today???s conservative doesn???t embrace social media channels is as flawed as the Democratic critique of Paul Ryan???s budget stance on Medicare. Just plain wrong.

Advertising Age ran a piece that indicates that Paul Ryan brings ???marketing experience??? to the ticket largely because he ran marketing for his family???s business and drove the Oscar Meyer Weinermobile.  Last time I checked, Barack Obama has an army of marketing folks in Chicago that are several pay grades above Ryan???s collective ???experience.??? Any thought that Ryan is going to be the architect that designs the new marketing strategy that provides the ???comeback??? for the team is foolhardy. The best move that Ryan can make is to shake up the campaign team and insert folks that truly understand how to market over the next three months.

There isn???t any doubt that the success of this ???comeback??? is predicated on the ability of the Romney Ryan team to out-market the president and his band of ???Truth Mongers.???

Like you, I have listened to the speeches and want to believe that this will be a campaign about real issues and not personal attacks. I want to believe that our candidate will get smart about using the media arsenal available in 2012 to wage battle smartly and efficiently.  Yet each day I open my mailbox to another expensive piece of direct mail from the campaign (Ann Romney, Mitt Romney, John McCain, etc.) asking me to donate more money so that we can defeat Barack Obama.  We will not defeat the president by continuing a campaign that went out of style in the 1980s. We look incredibly foolish. The online numbers continue to demonstrate clearly just how far back our team is in this game.

Facebook Likes

President Obama ??? 27,783,008

Mitt Romney ??? 4,173,008

Michelle Obama ??? 8,096,514

Ann Romney ??? 292,874

Joe Biden ??? 356,275

Paul Ryan ??? 32,813

Today Barack Obama has nearly seven times the number of Facebook friends as Mitt Romney. Michelle Obama has 2x that of Romney???s total and 35X the number that Ann Romney has. Joe Biden has more than 10X that of Paul Ryan.  We are in the third quarter of this game. The half-time pep talk has totally faded from memory. Our team is down big time and we need a bunch of Hail Mary passes to even get close.  While there are some signs that the campaign is stepping up and using social media more aggressively, it clearly doesn???t represent nearly the focus for the campaign that is required to turn the tide.

Twitter Followers

President Obama ??? 18,547,304

Mitt Romney ??? 851,799

Michelle Obama ??? 1,287,213

Ann Romney ??? 60,960

Joe Biden ??? 106,917

Paul Ryan ??? 193,251

The deficit in this comparison is equally distressing this late in the game. Obama leads Romney by a multiple 18x greater. Ann Romney is not even a factor versus Michelle Obama.  The only glimmer of hope in the data is that Paul Ryan leads the vice president with more followers engaged with the Republican candidate. There isn???t a heck of a lot to be happy about the fact that our back-up is beating their back-up.

All is not yet totally lost. Click Z has reported that Hitwise site data for the month of July provides the Romney camp with a potential open door to making a last-minute shift.  The data clearly indicate that ???people in six swing states–Nevada, New Hampshire, Colorado, New Mexico, Florida and Ohio–were more likely to visit the Romney site than the Obama site.???  These six states account for 72 electoral votes.  Kate Kaye continues, ???the numbers could be telling in that site traffic indicates that people are visiting a site to learn more about a candidate and possibly receive emails, volunteer or donate money. Generating a strong voter base that can be activated to volunteer to get the vote out on Election Day is key in these must-win states.

The battle for the social media voters is lost at this point. Regardless of how powerful the ???comeback team??? thinks they are, no one can overcome the lead that the president and first lady have in this incredibly powerful new media platform. The only chance that the Romney/Ryan ticket has is to adopt a strategy that brings new focus to online and social media within these battleground states.

The email strategy needs to be radically changed to be more focused on delivering the essential ???truths??? between the failing policies and inaction of the Obama Presidency and the new ideas of the Romney/Ryan ticket. We don???t need any more emails about bumper stickers???and ???you didn???t build that.??? We get it. You don???t need to bludgeon us with that message. What???s required is interactive messaging that is clear, concise and truthful about the differences and distinctions between Romney and Obama.  We need Paul Ryan to explain why his view of the world and the budget discipline that he brings to Washington is mission critical to the future of our nation in common sense language that voters will get???once and for all.

We need the GOP to save all of those printing and postage costs, stop carpet bombing with television commercials because the networks produce ???research??? that ???proves??? it ???works???.  We need a new class of marketing professionals to be dropped into this campaign for the next 12 weeks and do some truly kick-ass marketing. Without immediate attention and focus???there will be no comeback.