11/02/2012  |  Posted By:

Just as certain looks go out of style, messages should be reviewed regularly to stay fresh, timely, and to resonate with your intended audience. Yet there is more than one way to approach messaging and the presidential election provides a great contrast in two distinct options.

Tailoring the message to the audience

President Obama’s strategy is to take a tailored approach. He is segmenting audiences and carefully crafting messages that resonate with each, reaching these individual groups with tailored appeals.

For example, by supporting the right for same-sex couples to marry and the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” he struck a chord with that audience, speaking to their particular concerns as citizens affected by federal policies. Addressing the needs of college students, he asked Congress to lower the percentage of income for repayment of college loans.

Prioritizing a broad issue
Governor Mitt Romney has taken a different approach. By prioritizing a single, broad issue that touches everyone (e.g., the economy) he creates a framework on which he can hang multiple messages that speak to this issue.

For example, when asked about Romney’s strategy for reaching women, Barbara Comstock, Virginia co-chair of the Romney campaign, explained that they believe that women are more interested in the economy than healthcare.

Down to the wire
With so few days left before the election, it is unlikely that either candidate will shift his approach. However, it will be interesting to see if Obama attempts to recapture his lead with women by highlighting the economic impact of the Affordable Care Act, rather than focusing on the benefits of preventive care. According to Bryce Covert, contributor at Forbes, the average 18-year-old woman could expect to spend nearly $12,000 in co-pays for birth control and mandated doctor’s visits over the course of a lifetime. This provides an opportunity to link two hot issues to address key concerns of women voters.

As evidenced above, it is vital to evaluate both approaches and decide what will work the best: tailored, segmented messages or prioritizing and focusing on one clear point for all audiences.

Which approach will prove successful on Election Day? Stay tuned.