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Winning with the digital zombies

February 29, 2016

With the SEC primaries less than 24 hours away, you still have some people trying to understand this year’s race.

Amidst all the angst over the admittedly sophomoric tone the GOP race has taken is a woefully obvious naïvete.

While traditionalists like George Will, Newt Gingrich and Karl Rove are bemoaning the lack of dignity in this campaign, Marco Rubio’s free media mentions have tripled.

This is the age of the digital zombie, and that’s pretty much all of us.

In an age where  one of the criteria for designing an effective online marketing campaign is to make sure that nothing is pitched above the reading and comprehension level of an eleven-year-old, dignity is passe’ and repetition is king.

Think about it.  How much information can you absorb while walking down the street with your eyes glued to a 4-inch screen?

Rubio’s campaign may have figured that out several weeks or even months too late but unlike Mitt Romney, at least they finally got it.

Core traditionalists aren’t going to swing the GOP primaries for anyone.

The average voter doesn’t want to hear or read a 2500-word essay on economics or the Constitution.

They want to hear, often in 140 characters or less, how a candidate is going to make their lives better, easier or cheaper.

To do that, they have to make an active decision to follow someone on social media.

Social media is first about entertainment. If it takes acting like an eleven-year-old to get on the voter’s radar, so be it. You can’t  weave in your policy message if no one is listening to you.

Unlike the 20th century, no one is stuck with a three-channel TV, half a dozen national magazines or one or two home-town papers. The top 10 2015 sites in terms of views cover the world, not your county, city or neighborhood and the cost per view is substantially less than TV or print media.

On the other hand, the effect is transitory.  It’s rare indeed for one topic or person to trend over a period of hours, much less days and that explains embracing  the “outrageous” factor .

No candidate understands that better or makes better use of it than Donald Trump. He creates buzz, then capitalizes on it by holding the political equivalent of a rock concert, where he occasionally does throw out a few teasers about  actual policy.

There may come a time even in this race where substance will matter more than shine, but that time isn’t now.

Hopefully there is still time for someone like Rubio to catch up and give voters a real choice.

From → op-ed

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