2006 UK MP Survey
The primary questions driving the 2006 MP eCampaigning Survey were to identify:
- If e-campaigning has an impact on UK MPs
- How it has an impact on UK MPs
- What strategy and tactics campaigning organisations should use to influence UK MPs
Campaigns using an over-simplistic campaigning approach that prescribes how communication should occur for all MPs is doomed to be effective for only some MPs
The survey identified that it is highly dependent on the MP as to how constituents communicate with them, how they treat different channels of communication and what impression different styles of communications leave. A major influence on these factors is also what the MPs current position is on the issue raised in the communication. Thus an over simplistic campaigning approach that prescribes how communication should occur for all MPs is doomed to only be effective for a proportion of MPs, likely no more than 50%.
A one-size-fits-all strategy for influencing MPs is more likely to fail. MPs positions and preferences should be researched, grouped and targeted appropriately.
Several strategies and tactics were identified that campaigning organisations can use to increase the impact of their online campaigning. Foremost of these is that MPs vary considerably in how they perceive e-campaigning and thus having a one-size-fits-all approach is likely to work well with some MPs and not with others no matter what the strategy. Instead MPs should be researched and segmented for more specific targeting according to a range of factors.
Some organisations may already do this offline to with MPs and Regional Assembly members. But online, most organisations target all MPs with the same message. Instead they should target segments of MPs and regional assembly members to distinguish the campaign from all the other issues and organisations MPs and regional assembly members are bombarded by.
The original survey had a real impact on e-campaigning around the world.
- Engaging Networks improved their tool to enable adaptive targets of politicians based on their stance on your issues (or any criteria based on your data). No other advocacy tool is known to have this functionality.
- Campaign planners targeted politicians in smarter ways .
- The survey has been re-run by others in several countries around the world.
- Myths that 'petitions' or 'pre-written letters' are 'useless' have been shattered and replaced with a more nuanced understanding of how politicians perceived campaigning via various digital, face-to-face and paper-based channels.