Hillary Clinton called me!

Picture_2 Yes….me.  She wanted to tell me her stand on the issues.  And I know you’ll be stunned to hear this, but Hillary isn’t the only one calling.

I’ve heard from Mitt, Mike, Obama, Rudy, Bill, John, Chris and all the rest. 

Impressed?  Don’t be. 

They don’t want to talk to me, they want to talk at me.  Welcome to living in Iowa during a caucus year.  Spending is at an all time high (over $15 million to date and on the rise) and one of the more popular tactics apparently is the personal phone call.

Well, not exactly personal.  In fact, downright impersonal.  I pick up the phone.  I say hello.  I wait.  I say hello again.  Finally, a recorded message from a candidate begins.

I hang up.

Come on, people.  You say you are smart enough to run the country but you really think the recorded phone call method favored by cable TV companies and other automated sales forces is an effective marketing tool?

I know it’s cheap at first blush.  Pennies per Iowan versus the big bucks of TV, radio and print.  But it’s annoying and costing you votes.  Not so cheap, perhaps. 

Robo calls, as they’re known in the biz, are the second most popular tactic for politicians.  Nearly 2/3 of all registered voters in the U.S.  received at least one call in the past year.  The only thing that tops it is direct mail.

The calling is such an aggravating tactic that 9 states (including Iowa) are considering legislation to ban these robo calls.

The marketing lesson here — be smarter than a politician.  If your marketing tactic is so irritating that people are proposing a law to stop you from doing it — best look for a new tactic.

I’m sure Hillary is going to call again.  Anything you want me to tell her? 

P.S…and apparently this brilliant marketing tactic isn’t just being used by American politicians!

15 comments on “Hillary Clinton called me!

  1. Arnold called me a few years ago. His amusing voice and accent were the only real reasons for listening.

    Yes, the whole ‘talking at’ aspect is just lame. Direct mail is okay, because if we’re interested (relevancy being election time, public good factor) we can read at our own pace. But being telemarketed to is the loudest form of interruptive advertising. Is this exempt from the do-not-call-list?

  2. Mack Collier says:

    “Arnold called me a few years ago. His amusing voice and accent were the only real reasons for listening.”

    LOL! Too funny Mario. But you’re right Drew, the message these politicians are unwittingly sending is that they don’t actually HAVE time to talk to the voters, thus the recorded message. Of course they probably think it is brilliant.

  3. Josh More says:

    Most of these calls come from unlisted or 0000000 numbers. I have taken to dumping all calls from those numbers directly into voice mail. What surprised me is:

    1) Simply having a number that I can use to call you back would defeat my basic filtering system, yet not a single politician has added this basic courtesy.

    2) There are volunteers who are willing to make these calls. Using a real person that can talk to me and not require me to say “Hello” twice would defeat my second line of defense (hanging up manually). Yet, not a single politician has added this basic courtesy either.

    3) I am educated, undecided and I vote in every election. You’d think that they be pounding on my door, yet not a single politician has gotten through my trivial filtering system. I think that that is a very telling sign about their respective characters.

    I’d say that it’ll be an interesting election, but since none of them have yet managed to reach me, I have no way to know.

  4. Cam Beck says:

    The best evangelists are the voters themselves, not robots. However, since it’s now taboo to discuss politics in mixed company, they (we) are also the most annoying evangelists, as well. 🙂

  5. Brett Trout says:

    Such rudeness and lack of concern for me and my time gives me a pretty good indication of how they will run the country if they get into office. I still get calls from the other party, apparently using phone lists over five years old. The calls alone, which I never listen to longer than to hear the name, are enough to swing my vote against them in a tight race.

    Apparently some idiots are casting their votes for candidates who harass them in this manner or they would not keep doing it. Probably the same group of mental giants I have to thank for keeping spammers in business.

  6. What a way to connect to the voters. Not.

    You’d think that TV or Radio ads are impersonal enough, but Robo calling crosses the line. Regardless of who is trying to get the message across, I never listen to those.

    @Brett
    If people vote based on who they’ve been less harassed by, isn’t that choosing the lesser of two evils, and not somebody who is best fit for the job?

  7. I agree with you all. It’s disrespectful, annoying, intrusive, insulting and I have yet to meet anyone who has a single kind word to say about this tactic.

    And yet they all keep doing it.

    So my question to you is why? Let’s give them the benefit of the doubt and assume they are of at least reasonable intelligence. Let’s also assume they own phones and sometimes get annoying telemarketing calls.

    So what logic or thought process leads them to thinking that robo calls are a good idea?

    They spend a load of money on them….so what do they think they are accomplishing?

    Drew

  8. Paul Rubillo says:

    Politicians are the least tech-savvy “career professionals” , next to realtors.

  9. Paul Rubillo says:

    Politicians are the least tech-savvy “career professionals” , next to realtors.

  10. Drew,

    To answer your question in the comments, I think politicians wholeheartedly want to connect with people. They just don’t have a great way to do it on a mass scale.

    Therefore, they assume that a voice (even a recorded one) will engender some sort of personal “connection.” Unfortunately they missed a few Marketing 101 courses…but I think that’s the underlying motive for these obnoxious calls.

    Perhaps the ubiquity and connectedness of the Web might be a better place to bond with potential voters…

  11. Shaun Dakin says:

    Great comments all. As a marketing / product management executive and a political junkie over the past 20 years I saw that there was a need to create a Political Do Not Call list.

    So.. I started the National Political Do Not Contact Registry, a non-profit, non-partisan registry that is modeled on the success of the Federal Do Not Call List.

    We’ve been getting some great press: CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS Radio, USA Today, XM Radio, Fox, etc….

    Stop by http://www.StopPoliticalCalls.org

    Regards,

    Shaun Dakin

  12. Shaun,

    If you can accomplish that — as I said in my e-mail to you, YOU could be elected president!

    Drew

  13. Gavin Heaton says:

    Yes, you are right, they were used here too. Shame.

  14. Gavin,

    Do you have any sort of Do Not Call list in Australia? Here in the states, we can block telemarketing but politicians have been exempt.

    It’s a crazy tactic — do something that annoys the crap out of everyone. And these are the people who want to run our countries!

    Drew

  15. John Armstrong says:

    Phone banking is effective because most politicians are trying to overcome huge barriers of name recognition. E.g., if you’re name is not “Bush” or “Clinton”, who are you? Not everyone pays attention to the news (be it in print, TV, radio, or Internet format).

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