By Timothy Bristol
Campaigns need to stop with the constant mailers, end of article.
Okay, fine I guess, I need to elaborate a little bit. Campaigns need to stop wasting time and money on constant campaign mailers that 99% of people won’t read and will throw out. I have never found campaign mailers very useful or effective at reaching or activating voters. In my own campaigns and the campaigns that I have helped run I have always been an advocate for limiting spending on these unnecessary fliers to voters.
Research shows that mailers are perhaps the least effective way to reach voters. This research comes from the book, The Campaign Manager, written by Catherine Shaw where she says “Direct mail is expensive and wasteful: it increases voter by less than 1%: it has little to no effect on the disengaged voter and a negative effect on the youth voter. In fact it pretty much does not work on any voters.”
Direct mail fliers, when done correctly, are almost completely ineffective and when done carelessly they are damaging to a campaign. Last year the Mayoral campaign for the Stratford Democrats was damaged by some bad and dishonest mailers that actually activated voters against the democratic candidate. This shows what could possibly happen if campaigns are careless with their mailers.
The only way these mailers are useful is if they are done to augment an overall campaign strategy with a comprehensive media strategy. It has to be polished and used sparingly. One or two mailers close to election day is more than enough for all but national campaigns. Nobody wants to receive 20 to 30 campaign fliers in the mail in a week. I have gotten at least 30 in the last two weeks. It is disgusting how much money has been wasted on these mailers.
Just to give you an estimate, for a town the size of Stratford to reach all registered voters it costs at the low end about five thousand dollars, it could cost up to ten thousand dollars depending on how much quality you want to put into the mailer itself and the postal service you use. So Lets Say, I got about 30 of them in the past two weeks (I have) and they cost about five thousand dollars for each one. Thirty times 5 thousand is one hundred and fifty thousand dollars. Like I said a disgusting amount of money.
I beg all campaign managers out there to stop wasting your money on paper and postage just so that voters can get some mail they just throw out as soon as they get. There are far better ways to spend campaign money.