Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are fighting a quiet cyber battle that could likely determine the next Democratic presidential nominee. Email marketing is still the most effective marketing method, and the candidates are using our inboxes to rally support. But, unlike Americans, all emails are not created equal. In the case of Hillary and Bernie, their emails are fundamentally different.
Bernies emails have the tone of a winner gaining even more momentum, whereas Hillarys latent message is that of a campaign in need of resuscitation. This contrast raisesthe question: Do you want to help propel the winning team to a certain victory? Or, would you rather focus your efforts on rallying to revitalize dying hope? Hillary and Bernies campaigns seem to disagree on what motivates Americans. As such, their emails elicit entirely different emotions from their readers.
At the end of the day, Americans arent going to remember the details of an email. Rather, they will remember how the email made them feel. Clinton and Sanders campaigns are doing a great job building messaging that elicits consistent emotions across their emails. Which set of emotions will rally enough support to catapult their candidate to victory?
Lets break down the anatomy of their emails to understand how the two campaigns are sending strikingly different implicit messages. All examples are from campaign emails in the last four weeks.
Americans are busy. The subject line needs to show readers why they should care enough to open your email. What is the point going to be?
Supporters are opening emails in the context of what was communicated in the subject. As such, Bernies readers will expect to read about a candidate who is making his platform a reality (on Wall Street and in the polls) and can start planning for a future that he will affect with change. On the other hand, Hillarys subject lines read doomsday, and her supporters can expect to read about a losing fundraising battle and bad election odds.
The body of the email is the candidates chance to follow through on the promise made in the subject line. Since the impetus resonated with the reader, the candidate can use this (brief) podium to further rally emotions. Here is where Hillary and Bernie have more than a soundbyte to woo supporters into action. As in their subject lines, the candidates choose to elicit opposing sentiments. Hillary relentlessly assumes the losing position and Bernies prose consistently imply victory— both independent of the reality of results.
In the days leading up to the New Hampshire Primary, Hillary and Bernie both tried to motivate their supporters to stand behind them. Hillary paints a picture of what tomorrow will look like if she loses. Bernie paints a picture of what victory will look like. Just like that, Hillarys supporters are imagining digging hercampaign out of a hole and Bernies are envisioning triumph.
Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton celebrated their respective wins very differently. Lets break it down. Bernies prose expanded his local victory in New Hampshire into a victory that spanned the breadth of the United States. Hillary chose to harken back to moments of defeat even as she celebrated her victory, thereby tarnishing what could have been an entirely positive sentiment. Bernie made his win larger than life and gave his supporters even more to fantasize about. Hillarys statement could just have easily been a consolation for a loss, since it doesnt even mention a triumphant victory. She made her win smaller.
Just like their wins were announced differently, so too were their losses. Bernie managed to turn his Iowa loss into a win, rewriting the narrative around his loss as a victorious accomplishment of the impossible. On the other hand, Hillary embraced the fact that her campaign was knocked down, and did not embed any sort of accomplishment or triumph into the result. Hillary announced her loss as a loss and thereby elicited the sentiment of defeat. Bernie positioned his loss as a victory and gave his supporters excitement to celebrate.
The ‘call to action’ is where the campaigns need to leverage the emotions they have built in the body and drive their supporters towards action. As such, they mirror the sentiment built thus far in the campaigns respective emails. Bernies supporters are being asked to add fire to the fuel behind Bernies rocket ship, whereas Hillarys supporters are being asked to grab shovels to help dig her out of a sinking hole.
Jennifer Kessler is the Co-founder and CEO of Bizzy. Check back for her ongoinganalysis of the marketing efforts behindthe 2016 U.S. presidential election.