How Obama's Campaign Manager Does Marketing Right

President Obama's campaign manager Jim Messina is one of the best copywriters I've ever seen. Here's what you can learn from him.

I want to meet Jim Messina. Heck, I live just 35 minutes from D.C., and he spends alot of his time at the White House. I'm sure I could find him on Facebook or through my press contacts and arrange something...

Why is he someone I need to know? Messina, President Obama's campaign manager, is one of the best copywriters I've seen. My curiosity about Messina began on Tuesday. My husband and I were headed to the city, and I was surfing the Web on my iPad while he drove. I saw a banner ad inviting me to Dinner with Obama. I was intrigued.

I clicked on the ad, and willingly entered my name in the contest. I already could envision myself winning that dinner, and the myriad questions I would ask Mr. President.

Within minutes, the email autoresponder arrived. It captivated me. Check this out, and read my reactions below:

Friend —

You're in for 2012: Welcome, and thanks.

Now forget everything you know about politics.

Because I can tell you that the coming months will be like nothing you've seen from a campaign. If we're going to win, we have to be tougher, smarter, and more innovative than ever before.

The President has a job to do, so he's asking each of us to take the lead in shaping this effort.

That work begins now in your community.

Sign up to volunteer today.

Your leadership today will help build this campaign over the next few months and right up to November 6th.

You may be asked to recruit other volunteers, register voters, or talk to your friends and neighbors about what they hope to see from this campaign. You may sign up to volunteer today and end up leading a canvass this summer.

I got my start empowering residents in mobile home communities in Missoula, Montana—a long way from Washington, D.C. As an organizer, I know it all starts in our own backyards. Committing to a campaign is a huge first step, but it's the decisions we make from that point on that determine success.

Whether you're a first-time supporter or a veteran volunteer, this campaign belongs to you. You own it, and you power it.

This is an exciting time to get involved—sign up to be a volunteer today:

Let's go,

Jim Messina
Campaign Manager
Obama for America

Set your political preferences aside for a few moments and hear me out. Messina does some things very effectively:

  • He speaks directly to you. When I read this letter aloud, I envision someone sitting across a dining room table in Anywhere, USA and inviting me to volunteer. Don't you?
  • He wastes little time getting to the heart of the matter: asking you to get involved. Messina knows that I did not make a campaign contribution, so he goes directly to Plan B: asking for my time and talent.
  • He tells a story to which many can relate. Messina wanted me to know that he is not a Washington insider. He spent many years outside the Beltway, and his roots are in Montana.
  • He is succinct. This letter is void of any political platitudes. He uses a few aphorisms, such as "this campaign belongs to you." He peppered the copy with just enough to make me keep reading.

What change initiatives or new marketing campaigns are you currently leading? How can they be communicated differently or more broadly to help you build a stronger constituency?

Just channel Jim Messina and see what happens.


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