State of the Union Mobile Text Chat: Missed Opportunity

03/30/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • Lauren DeLisa Digi-cultural trend analyst, author, speaker, consultant and producer

As everyone reviews and analyzes President Obama's points during his State of the Union speech last night, the review of the outcome of the Republican-sponsored live mobile text chat opportunity during the SOTU address seems non-existent at the moment. If you were one of the many that did not even know there was an opportunity to partake in such an event, do not feel out of touch. Seemingly few outlets reported on this announcement leaving one to wonder was it kept in low profile in case there were major tech difficulties or was it just not very well thought-through in terms of promotion?

On January 25th, the digital trade Mobile Marketer Daily reported that not only would the State of the Union address be able to be viewed live from the new White House iPhone app; but not to be outdone, the Republican party would offer an opportunity to participate in a live chat to discuss Obama's policy points as they were made in real-time. The very heart-breaking thing about the latter from a digital marketing point of view though, is the missed opportunity in creative promotion of the event and the text code.

Now according to information cited by "Mobile Marketer Daily" from their interviews with the RNCC, the main avenues for creating awareness about this mobile platform were via conservative talk radio hosts, ads on "Republican websites" (assuming these are sites which when the polls are open, arrive and vote Republican - LOL) and via Twitter and Facebook.

The issue here is one that will continue to plague the convergence of digital and politics until very well-rounded, hip strategists are brought-in and trusted: the digital actions of politically-related events short of the Obama campaign will not reach respectable numbers unless approaches used in the commercial world are applied in an innovative manner. Imagine if this same approach the RNCC embraced was utilized by a corporate staff which had to answer today to an SVP of a major consumer brand about numbers and lead generation? Most would probably be joining the already swelling ranks of the currently unemployed.

So what could have been done differently to create more historical proportions on this text chat attempt?

First, why assume that only Republicans will be interested? In the commercial world, the net is always cast slightly wider - and it works. There is obviously some kind of momentum building for the party after looking at Virginia, New Jersey and Massachusetts. Are citizens switching party allegiance, is it Independents? Whatever the reason, reach a demo of overall people across various, appropriate options. The party says it wants to expand, here was the opportunity. Plus mixing up the chat by welcoming Democrats would have done nothing more than beautifully present the bi-partisan idea in a tangible form that the president has been seeking ideologically. What a brand "win" that could have been!

In addition, if one doesn't listen to conservative talk radio - and let's face it, many of the younger demos here may not - one would have also missed the promotion. And no one thought about cross-marketing within the radio stations' sites, most of which still offer very little in the way of dynamic digital content anyway.

True social media integration was sorely under-utilized as well. If a constituent is not already following the NRCC on Twitter (not the hippest handle on the platform), how would he/she know?

And perhaps one of the saddest voids is that of the Black and Latino market, the market which is most often on its phone anyway and the same demographic the party says that it wants to engage and compel more often. Where were the the digital strategy specialists here to craft the organic message in the right arenas to not only encourage this one-time chat but possibly bring more diversity into the overall fold?

Technology can usually heighten an experience; but it's technology's convergence with human innovation and creativity which can really makes things, shall we say, more politically correct.