Republicans aren’t exactly known for being tech savvy, but when Texas Sen. Ted Cruz announced his run for the presidency last week, he incorporated some mobile marketing strategy, courtesy of Seattle’s Tatango.
The first candidate to formally announce his run for 2016, Cruz gave a speech at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., to kick off his campaign, which came with a moment near the end of his speech when he asked the audience to “take out your cell phones” and text the word “Constitution” or “imagine” to the number 33733. Users would then be directed to Cruz’s campaign site where they can read more about his platform and donate funds.
Texting your number gives candidates one more thing that’s been harder to get — your cell number. Until now, most campaigns have been dependent on old-school methods — mail, door knocking, land lines, TV ads — to reach you.
“I’m anticipating that every presidential candidate during this election cycle will have their own text messaging campaign, especially with the success that Obama had with his,” Tatango’s chief text messaging officer Derek Johnson told us. “It also helps that the first presidential candidate [Cruz] made text messaging such an integral part of his announcement speech.”
Johnson couldn’t share specifics of Cruz’s campaign so far, but he said that “in general the effectiveness of SMS is beyond compare. SMS open rates exceed 99 percent with 90 percent of text messages being opened within three minutes of receiving.” The increasing number of smartphones in the States is also helping to fuel the mobile revolution, he said.
And while Tatango primarily works with retailers, Johnson told us this isn’t the company’s first political campaign, including Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown (D) and Washington Sen. Patty Murray (D). The company is also currently working with former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, though she hasn’t officially announced her candidacy yet.
Not everyone was thrilled to see Cruz adopting 21st-century communication tools. Jon Stewart poked fun of Cruz’s kickoff via this Daily Show segment, which questioned the legitimacy of a candidate talking about privacy issues, then asking people to blindly text their info to a number without much explanation as to why.
According to Politico, Cruz has already raised $4 million in the first eight days of his candidacy.
Watch Cruz’s call for action here:
And Stewart’s response on The Daily Show: