A United States Perspective
As Germany prepares to go to the pools come September 24, aspirants are working round the clock to ensure they emerge victoriously. Aspiring Chancellors Angela Merkel and Martin Schulz have both adopted the online marketing strategies, a campaign strategy geared towards getting across to people irrespective of their locations.
Personally, I enjoy elections, I enjoy the campaign strategies used by various electoral bodies to achieve success, and I enjoy watching politicians move out of their comfort zones seeking for votes. Having blogged about the 2008 election campaign strategies adopted by President Barack Obama, I feel compelled to share some of my personal views regarding online campaign strategies of the Germans compared to that of the Americans.
Online Campaign Strategy
Since the inception of online campaigns, along with the high success recorded in the Obama election and re-election, German parties have been trying to craft out ways of wining more supporters using this medium. Sadly, I have come to realize that most of these American strategies wouldn’t work in Germany.
Interestingly, there happens to be a long tradition of German political aspirants emulating their American counterparts. For instance, former Chancellor Willy Brandt practically emulated the various campaign strategies of John F. Kennedy. Same is the case with the online campaign strategies. Though there happen to be slight differences owing to laid down rules and regulations guiding the German Nation.
During elections in the United States, web portals, mobile campaign applications, and various social media platforms are created for US citizens to follow-up in the electoral campaign process. These web portals which make use of a centralized database prompts potential voters to input their personal details in order to keep them abreast with the on-going campaign process. This is one of the greatest medium used by aspirants to get information across to their voters; it is also a great medium used to communicate and obtain information from these voters as there are comments boxes created for this purpose.
This pretty much isn’t the case in Germany. Undoubtedly, aspirants are allowed to campaign using various online social media platforms, unfortunately, most voters are wary of their personal data being collected thereby defeating the core aim of the online process.
Another distinguishing factor between online campaign strategies in German and that in America is that of finance. Irrespective of how popular and wealthy an aspiring Chancellor may be in Germany, some little amount of money is always set aside to fund his/her online campaign.
“It’s quite applauding how German political parties issue out an unreasonable percentage of money for their online campaign platforms during online campaigns.” opined Austine Laurenz a research analyst at the London school of Economics.
Multi Communication Channels
“An average internet user in Germany surfs the internet for an average of six to seven hours a day with an hour or two funneled to various social media platforms” opines Information and Communication expert Dr. Howard Edwards who conducts opposition research for Angela Merkel’s campaign. Apart from this outlined fact by Dr. Howards, Germans prefer checking their mails and surfing the internet using the desktop computer while social media activities are conducted using their mobile phones. Germans are therefore expected to be addressed through the various internet channels making it quite expensive. The reverse is the case with an average American who pretty much spends an average amount of 12-18 hours a day on the internet using an intercommunication device.
Since only about a little fraction of the German population makes use of social media, it is therefore paramount for aspiring leaders to strategize on ways of getting their messages across to their voters.
Neither Merkel nor Schulz would win an election in the USA using their current online research strategies. I therefore strongly advise they adopted the various online campaign strategies of the United States for optimum campaign results.
Anne Bookman is a professional article writer, blogger and yoga coach currently living in Texas, United States. She has written quite a number of blog posts both internationally and locally.