VDP Supplement: Casting a Vote for VDP
“We have people who are party members, but that is a small number,” McPherson notes. “So we can target anyone we want. We were targeting everyone within a particular area where Response Marketing Group felt there was an opportunity to get their candidate elected.”
Close to one million mailers were sent out, produced on HP Indigo digital presses. It was intensely planned and produced, as the Canadian political campaign only lasts 28 days, unlike in the U.S. where it can last many months. The Canadian government can call an election at any time, so the planning stage for such a marketing campaign becomes an ongoing process.
Response Marketing Group does the canvassing throughout the year, driving a lot of pertinent information into the database. Before printing, they came up with subjects that would serve as the default images and text; which issues would be focused on; certain geographic areas to be targeted; and collected photos and information about the candidates.
“Building the graphics matrix was quite complex because there are several different things that are variable throughout,” McPherson points out. “Defaults could be different for different areas—there might be a default for agriculture in Saskatchewan, but the default will be fishing out on the East Coast. So it is quite complex.”
There is not really a way to track the results of such a marketing campaign, McPherson says, but he knows he got the result that he and his marketing client really wanted: the Conservative party won.
“The public spoke—whether or not we made a difference is very difficult to determine,” he admits. “I have an idea what the official figures are, but I am not allowed to divulge them. I know what the uptick was in the areas where we did the campaign. And they won in some places that they did not expect to win.”