Communication Consultants in Political Campaigns: Ballot Box Warriors

By Robert V. Friedenberg | Go to book overview

settes in campaigns, it is likely that other uses will develop. Already cassettes are being used by some campaigns to help recruit and train volunteers, and stimulate GOTV efforts. The growing use of videocassettes by candidates running for a wide variety of offices has caused Tom Edmonds, a former president of the American Association of Political Consultants, to claim that videocassettes have become a "standard part of the media mix."81 As technology improves, it is likely that political consultants will make growing use of videocassettes.


CONCLUSIONS

In recent years, computer technology has facilitated far more precise targeting of voters than in the past. This ability to "slice and dice" the electorate, as many consultants often term it, has given rise to specialists whose principal function is to maintain and manage up-to-date data- bases for political use. Moreover, many fuller service firms go beyond the development and maintenance of databases, to provide candidates with a host of services that rely upon accurate database information, most notably direct mail persuasion, direct mail fundraising, the use of phone banks for both persuasion and fundraising, and the use of videocassettes.

This chapter has illustrated that the very act of determining who receives what message, as well as the content and form of that message, is not left to chance in contemporary campaigns. Rather, considerable thought and effort go into the construction of messages that are delivered through the mail, the phone, and by cassettes.


NOTES
1.
The information concerning Aristotle Industries provided in this and the following paragraphs is drawn from correspondence between the author and Shawn Harmon, Sales Manager of Aristotle Industries, and our phone conversations. All such correspondence and conversations took place in March and April of 1996.
2.
Letter, Shawn Harmon, Sales Manager, Aristotle Industries, to the author, March 1, 1996.
3.
See the chart in Andy Downs, "A Good Voter File Alone Won't Win an Election But Just Try Running Your Voter Contact Program Without One," Campaigns and Elections ( April 1992): 37.
4.
At least 40 firms make this type of data available to candidates. See "Political Mailing List Buyers's Guide," Campaigns and Elections ( September 1995): 54-55 for basic information on many of them.
5.
Ibid. The degree of effort to which the firm has gone to enhance the information available through public sources, the frequency of updating, the frequency that national change of address information is incorporated into the list,

-122-

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