Tag Archives: marketing

2010 in review

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads This blog is doing awesome!.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

The Leaning Tower of Pisa has 296 steps to reach the top. This blog was viewed about 1,000 times in 2010. If those were steps, it would have climbed the Leaning Tower of Pisa 3 times

In 2010, there were 9 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 34 posts. There were 5 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 2mb.

The busiest day of the year was September 7th with 46 views. The most popular post that day was Question [Glenn Beck] With Boldness.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were facebook.com, thecivilroar.com, newmanmag.com, joshmshep.com, and thepulpit.freedomblogging.com.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

Question [Glenn Beck] With Boldness September 2010
8 comments

2

Out of the FOXhole, Into the Battle of Ideas May 2010
5 comments

3

About Me October 2009
1 comment

4

About this Blog August 2009

5

Get Up 40 Minutes Early on a Tuesday October 2010

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[cpac recap] Priority #1: Your Message

We all have Alzheimer’s because your mind retains basic ideas for only 16 days. It takes 7 repeated impressions for a message to be absorbed. — nationally syndicated columnist Joel Mowbray

Mowbray, an energetic speaker in his 30’s, is a media expert: he knows how much to tell the press, and precisely when so it makes the greatest impact.

Combine that knowledge with preceding speaker Christopher Doss, whose campaign work and historical studies collide in his talk on how to best craft your political message… What you get is uncommonly useful ideas for public activism.

A Leadership Institute veteran, Doss kicked off the morning with a selection of quotes from our Founding Fathers:

“Even under the best forms of government those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny.” – Thomas Jefferson

“I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations.” – James Madison

“The issue today is the same as it has been throughout all history, whether man shall be allowed to govern himself or be ruled by a small elite.” – Thomas Jefferson

Freedom must be worked out in each sector of society. There is no shortage of ideas to increase freedom—but how can we mobilize others around that message and make it viable? Doss and Mowbray use a simple formula.

M = E*C³ or Message = Emotion multiplied by (Credibility x Contrast x Connection)

Here’s how that formula works in real life…

Say your Message is limited government. How can you rephrase that? Coining the phrase “partial-birth abortion” and getting the media to use it won that debate for the pro-life cause.
– A Congressman can get his emotion into shrinking the state, because it’s directly related to individual freedom in America.
– To have credibility, this Representative must refuse the subsidies that many in his district demand.
– Such a bold stand also shows the contrast between this leader and the opposing candidate. (Republicans had no contrast with Democrats in ’06 and ’08, thus they lost.)

– Where many fumble is connection. To sustain your message, the folks who care about what you say need reminders on what it is, why it matters and how it’s playing out today.

Once you’ve thought through the Message Formula, dealing with the media becomes easy. Just stay on message. Reporters are not the enemy, but their goal is to put words in your mouth… through their questions.

It’s a balancing act to answer questions satisfactorily, while not giving the press much selection about what to print. Your message should make it into any answer (President Obama is a master at this).

Bottom line: stay on offense with your message and it will go a long way.

We do not remember days, we remember moments

We stand at a pivotal time in America, in politics and in the conservative movement. And since my political philosophy is “faith-based” at its foundation, it is vital to understand how faith and American politics have intersected over the years; I don’t speak of WallBuilders or ChristianHistory.net, though those are great resources – I mean all the way back to the 1990s.

Only recently did I learn that—during that storied decade when I was playing basketball and growing up—the Christian Right achieved its highest point of mobilization and impact through an organization I knew little about: Christian Coalition. In the span of ten years (1989-1999), this political arm of Pat Robertson’s Christian Broadcasting Network rallied over 2 million believers to astounding political success… and just as quickly, fizzled out to become a shell of its former self. What was their secret? And what happened to implode it so quickly?

The Rise and Fall of the Christian Coalition is an informative, fast-paced tale revealing behind-the-scenes moments that changed how Christians interact with politics. Those Voter Guides you often see in churches now? Christian Coalition perfected that strategy before Focus on the Family or Family Research Council ever tried it.

Some players in the story are ambitious, some holier-than-thou, some current stars on the political scene… all very interesting. But beyond being good history, this narrative is also extremely relevant to the current political climate. From the stories you’ll glean insights on church-and-state issues, effective media strategy, organizing precincts—basically, the entire political and policy process in America. Take this passage, about setting up a political event:
The first thing Ralph [Reed] did was begin removing chairs from the room, saying that you want only half enough chairs in the room at first. Then, afterwards, people will remember that you had to bring in extra chairs. [The lesson:] make it easy to exceed expectations.
Whether this is a tactic that should or should not be emulated, it’s the moments like these that teach us something. Joel has a keen memory for little moments that matter, whether it’s reveling in election night excitement or coping with the monotony of office work. (Actually the author has painstakingly compiled 14 pages of source endnotes to back up his memories, which trumps most political insider books.) It’s a rare sort of book that sees the big picture by looking at the small stuff.

Skip the “conservative” fluff on the best-seller list, order The Rise and Fall of the Christian Coalition instead. You’ll learn something; I sure did.

[cpac recap] Politics is 75% relationships, 25% policy

First in a series of posts from my time at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC 2010)…

It’s common for me to criticize talk-show hosts who emphasize emotional connection over actual ideas (when I review Glenn Beck’s CPAC speech I heard live, you’ll get another dose.) But according to Ron Nehring, chairman of the Republican Party in California, that’s almost exactly how you win in politics.

His seminar, part of the training track offered by Leadership Institute at CPAC, was peppered with insights that showed how a “people person” will always succeed in politics:

A 30-second visit in person to a voter is 10 times more effective than any phone or direct mail contact

Barack Obama won a majority of both the Jewish vote and Muslim vote. He won majorities of both environmentalists (who want the U.S. to build nothing) and trade unions (desperate for their workers to build anything.) He did it by showing he cared about people’s needs, not by staying 100% pure to a political ideology.

Americans hire drivers, not mechanics.

Nehring, who has helped keep Republicans together in a hostile liberal environment, closed with four principles to win:

  1. Listen: “You have 2 ears and 1 mouth for a reason.”
  2. Learn: “Demonstrate that you’ve really been listening.”
  3. Help: “Your candidacy should help local groups like the Chamber of Commerce, TEA Party, etc. achieve their goals.”
  4. Lead: “Build relationship with all stakeholder groups you could possibly influence – folks on your side and those far outside your comfort zone.”

You can still be a conservative purist, as long as publicly you present the right emphasis: winning candidates, campaigners or (I suppose) even media personalities follow this strategy. Nehring’s ideas clearly line up with what I’ve learned — in seven months on Capitol Hill — about how politics works. Your thoughts?

Happy Holy Days!

I am a bit surprised by Christian groups who engage in the “War on Christmas” campaign. Perhaps if someone presented a clear case for why only “Merry Christmas!” is a valid greeting, I could be convinced otherwise.

Five reasons why “Happy Holidays!” works great as a Christmas greeting

1) Holidays = holy days. Look at the etymology, there’s nothing secular about this greeting. In addition to the celebration of Jesus’ birth, many consider Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve to be “holy days” – days set apart to share in thankfulness to God with close friends and family.

2) “Happy Holidays” respects Hanukkah. Because I respect that Jews observe their religious festivals, and I use the phrase “Judeo-Christian values” in discussing America’s heritage of faith, it seems appropriate to honor their celebration of eight consecutive days of gift-giving in December. Note that the observance of Hanukkah predates when the world began celebrating Christmas.

3) Followers of Jesus should not reinforce stereotypes of being pushy and overly vocal about non-issues. Christians already have a long track record of taking inappropriate actions in the public square: money-for-healing schemes on Christian TV, racial discrimination in churches, Pat Robertson’s remarks about assassinating the leader of Venezuela… the list goes on.

I do not equate the “War on Christmas” with those various scandals/offenses. What I’m saying is those actions came from not thinking through the consequences of speaking for God in mainstream culture. All those offenders perhaps had good intentions, but they harmed Christianity long-term. Surely being salt and light as Jesus exemplified doesn’t look like a pushy PR campaign insisting that the fallen world take certain actions to mollify believers. That seems and sounds wrong on so many levels.

4) The campaign to force the use of “Merry Christmas” over “Happy Holidays” is actually a crass commercial itself. After Bill O’Reilly began achieving huge ratings in November and December whenever his cable TV show covered the “War on Christmas,” the marketplace began to take notice. The religious marketplace, that is.

As WORLD Magazine stated recently in an editorial, and I can confirm having worked for a ministry that sold these “Wish Me a Merry Christmas” trinkets – promoting this campaign to Christians leads to hefty sales of low-cost, high-priced promotional items. So rather than spending your limited giving budget on meaningful gifts or charity that could make a difference, it goes toward a self-perpetuating, largely pointless campaign.

5) Tax-deductible resources that Christian donors give for charity and public advocacy would be better used elsewhere. In DC, there is a great awareness of political capital and its limits: an organization or office can only devote time, effort, energy, public reputation, and funds to a select few causes. Otherwise, your message gets very muddy and confusing – very fast. True stewardship calls for using these valuable assets on significant causes like preserving human life or strengthening traditional marriage.

With his research staff and vast audience to provide story tips, Bill O’Reilly will certainly find a few examples of blatant religious liberties abuses in searching nationwide for juicy stories. All the best to O’Reilly in righting these perceived injustices.

Since Fox News is “looking out for the folks” on this issue, the question becomes: should religious non-profits be in the business of fleecing the flock by drumming up more outrage? Or is the message of Christmas something completely different, without a fundraising component to it?

Of course, it’s a free country and organizations will do as they please. But if I see this “War on Christmas” as nonsense, maybe other 30-something-and-younger Christians do too. And we’re tuning out the self-appointed judges of retail and media.

Your thoughts? Always interested in hearing facts or perspective I’m missing…

Who doesn’t love Amazon?

Following their no. 1 ranking for Customer Service in BusinessWeek‘s annual survey,  Amazon.com made the short list in the Marketer of the Year honors from Advertising Age. The write-up briefly gives 5 lessons everyone can learn from Amazon’s consistent success. The full Ad Age section has insights from Hyundai (2009 Marketer of the Year) and other runners-up.

You know who won AdAge’s 2008 Marketer of the Year? That would be Team Obama. And it makes a lot of sense: it was marketing, not substance, that won the day in Election 2008. It is vital that conservatives work to understand new media, marketing tools and strategy that the progressive movement is using so well. Amazon teaches us that it’s really fairly simple to create good marketing.

P.S. Of course, I always have a sizeable Wish List at Amazon <– click to check it out.

Political Lessons from 100 Days in D.C.

Back in July, I moved across the country to find a job in DC. Though still searching, I have spent my days in the classroom of life: learning how Congress runs, learning to get around DC, learning how much I still have to learn.

Here a few things I didn’t know before coming here–

1) The world is full of one-issue activists, and by definition they are not seeing the full picture.

There are many in Washington, and even more on the internet, who see politics only through the lens of one thing — be it world poverty, gun rights, abortion or another hot-button issue. What’s usually missing among these activists (and the organizations that feed them) is any serious consideration of the other side.

For example, The ONE Campaign regularly sends its members e-mails telling them to petition (insert government entity here) to increase foreign aid dollars. When a report is released about the effectiveness of our foreign aid spent, ONE members are not notified. Which leads us to…

2) Americans’ good desire to “make a difference” politically is being misused by all sorts of organizations.

Recently, Congressional offices across Capitol Hill received large boxes filled with about 4,000 sheets of pink paper – each containing the same pre-printed message along with a person’s name and address. After a bit of searching I found out this was a campaign from a conservative website, charging people $29.95 to send a “pink slip” to every member of Congress. Cute idea, Congress is fired, I get it.

One problem: after sorting through those 4,000+ pink slips, only three were people in our Congressional district. Legitimately, this office serves only the people within its district, who voted the Representative into Congress. Maybe it’s not intentional, but this website is using a bogus “campaign” to profit from conservative activists. This is no isolated incident either.

3) Being the minority party under a liberal supermajority is a daunting, thankless challenge.

The Ring of Power... currently worn by Democrats in Congress

As a marketer in a sea of political science and government majors, I am at a disadvantage when it comes to understanding political systems and procedures. But one thing I quickly picked up: the Rules Committee is vitally important in the House of Representatives. Republicans could write all sorts of great bills… but if they can’t get it past the Democrat-controlled Rules Committee, it will just sit there.

House and Senate Republicans are in such a minority that the party has become one big PR effort. It’s all they can do, considering the vast power Democrats in Congress hold. When most legislation hitting the House floor reflects only different shades of liberal ideals, Republicans either become The Party of No or they compromise their core beliefs. One-party rule does not produce good results.

4) The post office really is poorly run.

So I got a PO Box. After all the bad press the USPS has gotten, you’d think the National Post Office — just one block from the Capitol Building — would try to reflect some sort of best practices, right?

IMG_0146

I wish. Never before have I seen such wait lines and mis- management. And never have I gone in to check mail when the line wasn’t there. When I have to pick up a package, I usually have long talks with others in line. And yes, the observation “Imagine health care like this” always makes it into our conversation.

So there you have it, four lessons. Thoughts?