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!

12 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. 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.

    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?

  4. 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?


  5. Paul Rubillo says:

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

  6. Paul Rubillo says:

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

  7. 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…

  8. 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


    Shaun Dakin

  9. Shaun,

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


  10. Gavin Heaton says:

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

  11. 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!


  12. 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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