Interview with Campaigns & Elections: Consumer-Focused Firms Work to Break Into Political

With ad spending for the 2016 cycle now expected to reach $6 billion it’s no wonder that non-political firms are trying to break into the campaign market. Digital is one avenue where firms with traditionally corporate clienteles are trying to carve out a niche, and it could be a lucrative one.  

Digital outlets are set to attract roughly $650 million in spending by Nov. 8, 2016, according to one estimate. That has companies ranging from Snapchat to little-known digital marketing firms staffing up with former campaign professionals in an effort to establish a bridgehead in the industry.

Rich Schlackman, who thinks the cycle’s digital spend could climb as high as $1 billion, warned that it takes more than just hiring a political salesperson for a firm to break into the industry.

“This is going to be a game of musical chairs, and when the music stops those without political experience are screwed,” the San Francisco-based consultant told C&E.

Now, many companies without political experience profess to have their own secret sauce when it comes to reaching voters with targeted messages. The question is, how do they get campaigns to buy it?

The campaign industry’s business culture and the demands of its customers are different from consumer brands. That puts outsiders on a learning curve that some companies can’t overcome, according to Paul Westcott, director of marketing and business development for L2, which fields requests from digital ad companies for its data. 

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