Is direct-mail effective?

Last week my Republican roommate and I received tons of mail: 2 Measure M mailers each; 2 Lynn Daucher pieces for me, and 3 for the Republican Roommate; 2 pieces from the California Republican Party that warn of daily abortions for 12-year-olds if Prop. 85 fails; a Loretta Sanchez piece with a 30-year-old photo of Loretta; two Tan Nguyen pieces (one in English and one in Vietnamese).

And a friend of mine, who is undoubtedly on just as many junk mailing lists because he is registered to vote, asked me today, “When is the next election?”

After I told him that it was in November, he asked, “What are we voting for?”

  4 comments for “Is direct-mail effective?

  1. Publius
    October 9, 2006 at 1:36 am

    No, Mike, direct mail is not as effective as it once was. You’ve pointed out a huge problem – frequent voters in competitive districts are inundated with mailers. Infrequent voters or voters in less competitive areas receive little attention.
    What other methods do campaigns have for communicating their messages to voters?
    - Broadcast tv ads – very expensive and not effective for districted elections. Voters are overloaded already with messages from propositions or statewide candidates.
    - Cable tv ads – more reasonably cost and easier to target to a geographic area, but many voters don’t have cable.
    - Phone calls – many voter file phone numbers are wrong. People screen their calls or don’t answer calls from unknown numbers.

    Any creative suggestions on ways that campaigns might communicate with voters?

  2. October 9, 2006 at 5:16 am

    I can attest to the phone calls list being outdated often.

  3. October 9, 2006 at 6:56 am

    “Any creative suggestions on ways that campaigns might communicate with voters?”

    How about some good-ol’-fashioned knocking doors? Mike, I’m sure you can attest to the fact that door-to-door, person-to-person interaction is the most effective way to reach out to voters.

    Also, volunteer phoning is another good way to connect with voters. Sure, Publius did mention a few of the setbacks… Nevertheless if we don’t call them, then who will?

    Certainly, mailers don’t work… Most of us just throw them away. Automated calls, or “robocalls”, are just hung up on. And sure, some people pay attention to TV and radio ads, but most of us just tune out these days.

    What we need is to get more people involved in reaching out to their neighbors, friends, family, and colleagues. People don’t pay attention to the above-mentioned items… But perhaps, they’ll listen to an enthusiastic volunteer talking about the election

  4. October 9, 2006 at 10:40 am

    Im going to reiterate what Andrew has siad. I found dorr to door outreach the most fruitful of tactics. Most people seem to enjoy the face to face contact from the campaign. I get a warm reception from most voters whether Republicans or Democrats. The most frequent statement I get from Republicans is that they appreciate my taking the time to knock on their (A Republicans’) door. I have swooped many of my opponents votes from his base this way. Espcially when I show them a copy of that LA Times Article from June 25th.

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