Marketing the Mary Burke Campaign

As the 2014 Wisconsin Governor’s race warms up, you can expect Progress will be addressing the race.

I received my first piece of mail from the Mary Burke campaign yesterday and I can’t help but shake my head and make note of the campaign’s weak marketing efforts.

Mary Burke is the Democratic challenger for Governor of Wisconsin. Mary is the Democrat’s great hope to unseat the controversial Scott Walker as the Republican Governor of Wisconsin. By the looks of this donation letter, she is off to a rough start. (If you’re in need of an update to the Wisconsin state political climate, check out our recent post for a little recap)

After opening the letter, I found 4 pages of typed “talking points” mostly against Scott Walker and some in support of Mary Burke. The talking points were largely unconnected, comprising 4 pages of phrases. Mary Burke is a well-educated, professional whom has promoted strong education, yet her campaign letter to me lacked real sentence structure and punctuation. I couldn’t fully read the first page without my mind fleeing from the Fox News style talking points to wonder about the bigger picture. I skimmed the rest and recycled it within minutes, without a case for that will gain my support of Mary Burke for Governor of Wisconsin.

Mary Burke Campaign Marketing - Political T-shirts by Progress Label

While I’m no fan of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, I expect marketing materials that educate and involve individuals. What I received was a list of party line talking points full of fluff. The contents of this letter either prepare me to be a sheep for the Democratic Party OR to pick a fight with a pro-Walker Republican. The 4 pages had no hierarchy, no organization, no visual aesthetic and nothing that was the least bit inspirational, exciting, or inviting of my support and participation. At first glance, it seems the Dems have regurgitated the failures of the Tom Barrett campaigns, expecting a different outcome. By creating a weak Barrett campaign, the poor marketing of the WI DNC helped seal Walker’s victories. Without a unified message and the ability to amplify their message the Dems marketing left much to be desired. In the recall election we learned something we should have already known – not being Scott Walker is NOT enough to beat Scott Walker for Governor of Wisconsin.

On the other side of the aisle, Republicans have been substantially better marketers in recent decades. Regardless of what you think of the Republican Tea Party, they effectively swooped into prominence in just 2 years through aggressive marketing, a strategic campaign, and a steady supply of money. Republican marketers know the facts don’t matter nearly as much as the tone and amplification of their words, but it’s much easier to run a campaign based on hollow aggression when the other side is soft and reactionary.

If the Mary Burke campaign wants to win this campaign, they might consider putting some energy and excitement into the campaign and following a strategic and unified plan to gain Independent voters and support. I suggest Mary uses her business marketing connections at Trek and hires Dana, Kevin, John, & Rob. Mediocrity will not overcome the Scott Walker show, progressive Propaganda might.


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