Lately I’ve been looking at the similarities between marketing and political engagement, specifically the conversion process from prospect to customer and how it relates to people who go from occasional swing voter to committed conservative activist. I can’t be the first to look at this, but here’s my theory of engagement.
Below is a graphic I threw together on the 5 Stages of Political Activism:
The 5 Stages Explained
Basically, we all start out with only a peripheral Awareness of politics and probably don’t even vote.
Then for whatever reason (probably an upcoming election) people gain an Interest in politics and may do some active research. At this point they likely vote.
For some of those people, something a candidate says or the importance of a specific issue creates a moment of Engagement where they become more active — they donate, volunteer, etc. This is typically where most political strategy ends, because it accomplishes the required objectives for a campaign (votes, money, volunteers).
But for movement activists, there’s more:
They get really passionate. They signup for programs like the Leadership Institute or the esteemed Leadership Program of the Rockies. They start attending local GOP meetings and listening to conservative talk radio. They like a few conservative pages on Facebook and engage in debates on Twitter. They are undergoing a process of learning and personal Development.
Finally, there’s a few of these folks who become Advocates. They are active leaders of organizations, journalists, elected officials and candidates. They are influencers among their friends and share conservative ideas on Facebook, in their neighborhood, or in social settings.
In turn, other people with only a passing Awareness of politics are influenced by these new Advocates, and begin their own journey of Interest, Engagement, Development, and Advocacy.
If this cycle is true, where is the biggest hole that you can fill with your unique talents and opportunities? Where is the highest market need for the movement that you can meet? Where can you and I make an impact? Is there a place where the bridge is broken between stages, and by investing time and energy building that bridge, we can really make an impact for the movement?
We’re all busy, and only going to get more busy over the next year. But take a minute to think through where your work makes the most impact, and how you can facilitate the movement of people to becoming more active in the political process.