It was with great enthusiasm that Obama charged on to face McCain after sealing the victory over Hillary Clinton. It was obvious that Obama could not have claimed his victory without acknowledging the e-edge he had over her rival, Hillary. Though I am not an American, this victory comes as an important lesson for big and small businesses alike. A careful study of his internet awareness and web marketing strategies will show how he used the internet more effectively and efficiently than any other candidate before him, thus becoming the first black presidential nominee 200 years after abolition of slave trade, and exactly 40 years from the death of Martin Luther King (I have a dream!, that one day Americans will be judged not from the colour of their skin, but from the quality of their character). Through his websites, Wikimedia, blogs, forums and chat rooms the Obama supporters have created thousands of discussions, and donations to promote his candidacy.
The campaign came up with a number of strategies to win the presidential ticket beyond the rallies, campaigns, and newspapers releases of a conservative campaign. It used wikis – online community to raise awareness and created viral e-mail releases to fight smear campaigns. He also went ahead to create policy pages and citizens’ forums to feel the pulse of the populace directly. The Obama campaign team consistently updated its YouTube channel to keep its supporters informed about latest developments and as the campaigns went from State to State. The most outstanding impact was in the aspect of fundraising; about half of the $265 million (that’s a record!) of the Obama campaign fund was raised from internet donations from the pockets of individuals’ $200 or less. His Republican opponent, McCain has raised a little below $100 million.
Looking at the Obama 2008 campaign, as a business institution, it is important for big and small businesses and corporations to begin to pay attention to the internet as the next level in the marketing war. I am not just talking about having a website, and a firstname.lastname@example.org profile. I am talking about having web/internet marketing penetration techniques and profiles that will boost business products and advertising campaigns.
Our office is open 52/7/24-everywhere!
With millions of people enlisting in the army of the World Wide Web users, businesses can access millions of potential customers with just a few clicks of their mouse, 52weeks, 24 hours, and 7 days. Websites and weblogs could act as virtual front door offices that allow potential customers have access to your products’ reviews, allowing businesses to stay open 52/7/24. The internet ensured Barack Obama’s business greater visibility, thereby creating more opportunities for increasing its supporters beyond national level. The Obama supporters even have a campaign supporters in Nigeria!-that’s how far any business can have customers if it embraces web marketing.
The internet completely puts the big corporation and the small business on the same level. Small and medium scale enterprises can penetrate other markets at a fraction of the cost of traditional marketing methods. With more and more Nigerians getting comfortable with buying products at the click of the mouse, it has never been easier to reach literally millions of customers at a relatively low cost.
This means that your product or service can be accessed, viewed by people just about anywhere in the world. Hundreds of people are accessing the web and buying things online without the hassles of hold-ups and shop tripping. Television and radio commercials will reach those who watch TVs and listen to news, but some people can’t do without the net. Billboards will only reach those who happen to be paying attention at just the right time. Compared to cost of making calls, you can send emails to thousands of potential customers. Though I didn’t go out of my way, I have personally not seen a McCain or Hillary sticker, but the Obama candidacy is one issue, I’ve come across in forums and threads, and even in the blogosphere-that was how I landed on his web page. Talk about luring a customer!
Internet marketing and promotions offers the benefit of expanded markets, reduced budget and as compared to costs of printing brochures, producing television or radio advertisements or managing a call centres.
The Content is Timeless
In advertising parlance, time and content is money. Most online businesses and international corporations have resorted to the use of ezines, blogs, pop-up ads and other online marketing tools to generate loyal customers and letting customers know about new products or services as well as provide information relevant to their industry. For example, employees of Microsoft, encourage its workers to have blogs that promote their products. The Obama strategy maximized the benefits of this strategy by creating and promoting the Obama brand as an icon of hope and change; and the strengthening of the loyalty of supporters (customer?) relationships, all within shorter time frames and at almost no cost-only intelligence and creativity.
Relatively with per-minute adverts, the content posted on the net can be limitless, and even cheaper. Where participation in trade fairs and product review programmes and business and entertainment magazines can be expensive, and heightened products awareness can wane, the web contents and YouTube, forum discussions about your product can remain for years.
Low Cost, Instant Communication
Another advantage of web and internet presence is the obvious benefits to money advantage. Not only is the process instant, fast and easy, compared to all other methods, it is almost at no cost. At the click of a mouse, or uploading of a speech on YouTube, the whole world knows Obama’s response to several smear campaigns that besieged him since the whole process started.
Even if banner and pop-up ads on a good website are not affordable for small businesses, thankfully, link generation, free sites and free video uploads are not. Emails have been a fantastic replacement for snail mail, forums will be a wonder for consumers and retailers; it makes is easier to track consumer response and retains customer loyalty. Visitors and guests can be encouraged to asked through forums can ask questions and their questions can be answered even without the involvement of staff and crafty middlemen.
I totally wish to audacious Obama Godspeed, he has dared to reach where MLK dreamed, where Colin Powel and Jesse Jackson came close to. Godspeed as he carries the banner of hope and change against McCain.
The US is at the precipice of greatness or a further slide towards obscurity, which way? Time will tell…