#HMATurns40 Does all this marketing really work?

Election cycle is in full swing. TV, radio and broadcast media are flooded with advertisements from candidates, PACs and other advocacy groups with a vested interest in the outcome of an election.  You can’t log in to any digital platform without seeing posts, sponsored and boosted, with opinions on ballot initiatives. And don’t get me started with the amount of direct mail, text messages and robocalls that are flooding in on a daily basis.

Do any of these actually work?  As a consumer, when you have 10-12 postcards in your mailbox from one candidate telling you what the other candidate will (or won’t) do, does it have an impact on your decision for whom to vote?  Does receiving a text message from an advocacy group touting the reasons why a certain initiative should (or shouldn’t pass), do you say to yourself, hmm good to know?

If I had to guess, the answer is no.


Unless you take the time to understand why you’re doing it, who are you trying to reach and what action needs to be taken.

In our 40-year history, HMA has remained nonpartisan when it comes to the type of public relations campaigns we develop. We have worked in partnership with lobbyists and advocacy groups on initiatives across the state, but have always remained neutral in our positioning.

This strategy means we can evaluate each opportunity on its individual merits and not whether it is a Republican issue or a Democratic issue.  Sure, some have leaned in one direction or the other, but they have never been decidedly on one side of the aisle or the other.

Before we develop any campaign, we ask our clients to think about the following.

  • What is the history of this particular organization?
  • What has the media said in the past about this topic?
  • What is the “universe” of this topic – who does it affect?
  • What specific behaviors would we like to see? Which habits is the campaign addressing?
  • What is our overall campaign objective – is the primary objective of the campaign, stated in positive “change-agent” terms?
  • Do we have multiple identifiable, quantifiable goals, with specific key messages tied to each goal?
  • Do our key messages correlate with campaign goals?
  • Who are the target populations for these efforts?


With these answers, we can then decide on the messaging and the tactics to use. So maybe that text message you just got will make you pause for a moment.

Photo by Alex Ware on Unsplash
Written by
at Oct 1, 2020

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