Tailor your message

As we’ve seen in the fiscal cliff dealings over the Christmas holidays, the public relations and messaging of a legislative endeavor is nearly as important as the content of the deal itself in getting passed. In the upcoming budget battles between an intractable administration and a Congressional leadership often reluctant to compromise on core beliefs, messaging could make or break a deal. It’s no longer good enough just to have the better ideas; it’s now just as important learn how to concisely and effectively convey these ideas to the American people.

As mentioned in the #polichat earlier, winning the support of Generation Y, single mothers, and hispanics will be an integral part in achieving a positive outcome in the battles over spending and the debt ceiling. I suggested targeted messaging, that is, tailoring the message to individual audiences to achieve more effective constituent outreach and persuasion. For example, just this week the payroll tax has reverted to 6.2% of salary, an increase of 2%. This could have a sizable impact on single-income families and would result in tangible effects on household spending i.e. grocery purchases, utility bills, etc. If you’re looking to persuade a group, it’s important to personalize the message like I suggest in the example above. Esoteric discussions about marginal tax rates and the machinations of the OMB, while fodder for the DC think tank community, aren’t nearly as effective in persuading individuals outside of the Beltway.

In addition to personalizing the message, I wanted to note that it’s also important in advertising to choose the correct vessel for your message. Different groups participate in different social networks, so for example, if you’re looking to target single women, it might be worthwhile to pursue a strategy that included advertising on Pinterest, a heavily female-driven social networking website.

Cooper Reves works in Online Advertising at Targeted Victory, an Alexandria, VA based company working in online advertising, mobile communications, social networking, and intergrated data management for political candidates and causes. Views and opinions are his own and do not reflect those of his employer.