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Flip the Funnel: How to Use Existing Customers to Gain New Ones by Joseph Jaffe

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BARACK OBAMA FLIPPED THE FUNNEL

Barack Obama (that’s Mr. President to you) was not the first presidential candidate to develop a new-media grassroots strategy to mobilize voters; Howard Dean did it in 2004. What Obama did differently, however, was the following three things:
1. Utilized new media as a strategic driver and imperative (have-to-have), versus an optional add-on (nice-to-have). Obama recognized that new media was the platform of choice for both younger and/or disenfranchised or disengaged voters, so a program that involved and empowered potential voters was critical to the eventual success and outcome of the campaign.
2. Deployed both new media and social media in unique and differentiated ways that fulfilled and maximized their roles and potential. This was less about reach and frequency and more about the power of two-way interactivity and involvement.
3. Flipped the funnel by focusing on his core, converted, and most loyal customers. Here’s how.

Acknowledgment

On one level, Obama’s and his team’s outreach was as diverse as the very people he was trying to access. Their campaign efforts mirrored the overall U.S. trend toward digitalization and mobilization. For example, the Obama iPhone application demonstrated the Democratic candidate’s awareness of his audience (and, by inference, how to better serve them) with a mix of always-on and up-to-date news, information, and multimedia content, combined with examples of unprecedented innovation.
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