Barack Obama's Integrated Marketing Communications Strategy

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Case Details:

Case Code : MKTG211
Case Length : 19 Pages
Period : 2008-2009
Pub Date : 2009
Teaching Note :Not Available
Organization : -
Industry : -
Countries : US

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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"Like any great brand, Obama has built up a bond of trust with the American people… But like any brand, he has to deliver now on his promises, both actual and perceived." 1

- John Quelch, Marketing expert, in November 2008.

"We have a lot of work to do to get our country back on track, and I'll be in touch soon about what comes next." 2

- Barack Obama, in an email to his supporters on election night (November 4, 2008).

"I know several people on the campaign, and I can tell you hands down Obama has the better technology strategy. There is an innate generational understanding of technology in the guys' bones – most of them grew up with it as an integral part of their daily life." 3

- Anthony Citrano, branding consultant, June 2008.


On Tuesday, November 4, 2008, Democratic Senator, Barack Hussein Obama (Obama), was elected as the first African-American President of the United States of America. The opening lines of his victory speech at Grand Park, Chicago, Illinois, were, "If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible, who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time, who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer."4 Analysts believed that 2008 had been a historical election for two reasons: Obama was the first African American to be elected President of the country and second, the Internet had been used extensively as a campaigning tool. Never in the history of the presidential elections of the US had the Internet been put to such a use.

Experts felt that Obama had revolutionized election campaigning by using this unconventional and economic method of marketing. He tapped social media both for raising funds and for campaigning. He made his supporters campaign for him by allowing them to sign up in his website and get phone numbers of people whom they could call and talk to. In this way, he changed the task of supporters and made them campaigners on the web.

The consistency with which he publicized his personal information uniformly on all his websites and also targeted specific information at individual websites, depending on the age groups of the people, the communities they belonged to, and also what religious backgrounds or professional backgrounds they belonged to, caught the imagination of analysts. The information contained in each of the websites was different and that lent a personal touch to them and also added to his credibility.

He managed to get the attention of the younger generation, a segment that was ignored by other candidates as a group of people who could not contribute funds. This group of people, who also were the main users of the Internet, got involved in the elections, campaigned for Obama, and also surprised analysts by turning up in large numbers to vote.

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1] John Quelch, "How Better Marketing Elected Barack Obama,", November 5, 2008.
2] "Electoral Triumph Built on a Web Revolution,", November 9, 2008.
3] "Obama Launches Pre-Emptive Strike against Internet Smear Campaigns,", June 13, 2008.
4] "Transcript: 'This is Your Victory,' Says Obama,", November 4, 2008.


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