Twitter And The Marketing Of Your Government

(originally posted on Thursday, June 24, 2010)

Yesterday at precisely 12:25 PM was a moment in time when you could actually say the world changed forever. Across the Twittersphere came what would ordinarily be somebody’s very first sub-140 character form of communications. But this was no ordinary Tweet:

“Hello everyone! I’m on Twitter, and this is my first Tweet.”

And it came from the verified account of @KremlinRussia_E. Yes, the President of Russia, Dmitry Anatolyevich Medvedev, is now on Twitter just like you and me.

While President Medvedev is certainly not the first world leader or politician to get a Twitter account (@KremlinRussia_E is the English version, @KremlinRussia is the version using the Cyrillic alphabet), this adds another dimension to the rise of Twitter as a tool for governments to reach their citizens and market their policies.

Sure, President Obama and a vast majority of Congressmen and Congresswomen use Twitter in order to engage the American public, flex their PR muscle, squelch rumors, and “sell” their policies. It’s more of a natural growth in the kind of open society our country is based upon, rather than a revolutionary idea.

FDR’s Fireside Chat radio broadcasts of the 1930s and 1940s weren’t just his way of letting Americans know what was going on, they were a highly stylized and (at the time) brilliant new use of media to market his Presidency. His image: strong, compassionate, and in control. His message: I want you to know what my administration is doing for you. The response: Americans felt calmer and more unified during an economic crisis and a war, and he was elected more times than any other President in US history.

Of course TV changed the face of government by giving it an actual face (Harry Truman’s first televised Presidential speech on October 5, 1947), and we all know about the marketing case study of how President Obama used the internet and social media to help get elected. Now virtually every major US politician makes their thoughts known to their constituents and supporters through Twitter. Governmental agencies, press secretaries, and political consultants do too. It’s faster, cheaper, more trackable, and often more engaging than many other forms of media.

But Russia? Here’s a sampling from President Medvedev’s first 24 hours on Twitter, while visiting America:

“Silicon Valley’s greatest asset is communication. People discuss their work not trifles. Russia would benefit from this kind of environment.”

“Skolkovo should absorb good ideas and talented people like a sponge. But this cannot be achieved by fiat.”

“Russia and the US are working to improve global security, but the goal of this visit is to improve our economic relations."

And from just 24 minutes ago (at the time of this writing), “The decision of major American companies to come to Russia and invest shows that we can agree on more than just missiles.”

By simply Tweeting, the President of Russia has changed his country’s image, given the global community access to the mind behind the man, and is bound to provoke a response from around the world that is positive towards his country.

President Medvedev currently has over 20,000 followers (he only follows @BarackObama, @10DowningStreet, @TheWhitehouse, and @KremlinRussia), and is on almost 900 Twitter lists.

His first Tweets are an important development in not only the political marketing of his own administration, but in the global rise and acceptance of social media marketing as well.


The Expanding Definition of Integrated Marketing

(originally posted on Tuesday, February 9, 2010)

It used to be that email was the cutting edge component of an integrated marketing strategy. That is so 2003. Today 300,000,000 people are on Facebook, Twitter is speculated to be worth $1 Billion, 91% of mobile phones have text messaging capabilities, and bloggers have the FTC revising their rules and regulations as you read this.

So what’s a marketer to do? All of it.

Integrated marketing still means the same thing—use multi-channel communications to reach a media-diverse audience. But now the audience is so media-diverse that there is no predictable way to reach them anymore. In fact, preliminary data from the US Census for 2010 has prompted media pundits to declare “the death of Joe Consumer”. Meaning, there is no such thing as an “average consumer” anymore. This is actually a good thing.

At The Weinstein Organization (TWO), we’ve always believed that the power of the message is only as strong as the way it is delivered. That’s why we put a lot of emphasis on “where” the audience is when we develop our strategies. Multi-channel marketing derives its effectiveness from capturing your audience's attention from different angles, which is why we take a 360-degree view of the recipient's sphere of influence. Now more than ever your customers and prospects are jumping from email to Twitter, to You Tube, to Facebook, to SMS, and to good old-fashioned TV all from the same device—a mobile phone. And somewhere a telemarketer is smiling because she knows the phone isn’t going away.

The point we at TWO are trying to make is that if media is fractured, then fracture your message. Learn how to Tweet. Figure out how to build a better WAP file. Write a Facebook media plan. Design an iPhone app. And make it all work together with postal direct mail, email, in-store collateral, inserts, and even DRTV. That’s what we’re doing.

Because if your unique selling proposition is strong, and your strategy is sound, you should be able to shout it from the rooftops or text someone about it, and effectively make your point either way.

At TWO we believe in the power of integrated marketing. We’ve seen it work with every new technological advancement and sociological phenomenon. We market everywhere because that’s where the people are