3 Things You Should Already Be Doing With Digital By 2017

Across the country, the November elections did not go well for Democrats. The presidency, governorships, senate and house of representative seats, state legislatures and more, went overwhelmingly to Republicans, everywhere– except California. In California, pretty much the opposite occurred. In race after race, those with an R behind their name, lost to just about anyone with a D behind their name.

Democrats won so decisively in California that there are now 2/3s super-majorities (SJs) in both houses. Of the 120 members in both the Assembly and Senate– only 38 are Republicans. This unprecedented number of Democrats makes the smallest of clean-up bills to the enormous state budget pretty-much veto-proof.

Senate leader Kevin de Leon and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon are now scrambling to keep all these Democrats happy. Not an easy task, as there are not enough committee chairs and nice offices to go around. Since some members will not get to chair a committee or perhaps even be on a committee they want, it will be difficult for those Democrats to fund-raise from the lobbying community. This is especially true for those 15 brand new Democrats with no legislative experience.

These members will be under considerable pressure to make a name for themselves– especially those that were involved in close elections. Those new members will be looking to carry high-profile bills that will garner publicity. The prospect of 55 Assembly Democrats and 27 Senate Democrats has liberal lobbyists and progressive groups more jazzed than they have been in years. Progressives are dusting off their wildest ideas in hope that they can not only convince a Democrat to carry their dream bill but see that bill passed by a veto-proof margin.

National Federation of Independent Business Executive Director Tom Scott recently outlined in Fox & Hounds his organization’s fears over what a 2/3s SJ legislature might do– Look for bills to tax services, greater regulations on business, bills to strengthen the new minimum wage, a repeal of Proposition 13 and much more. California’s Democratic leaders have already stated that they have a mandate to oppose whatever the Trump administration does on climate change, immigration or anything else for that matter. Some observers speculate that each of the new Dems will carry at least one high-profile (read anti-business) bill designed to garner media attention.

The question becomes what can business-friendly associations and organizations do as they face 2/3s SJs in both houses? Our strongest suggestion is– act now. Pro-business associations and mainstream groups need to build a strong face-to-face and online presence with the 2/3s SJ’s now, rather than wait to fight a specific bill. New members need to understand the basics of your organization, your mission, your track-record etc. New legislators and their staff need to know that you could be a formidable adversary or useful ally. Yes, you can and should meet face-to-face before policy committees crank-up in March but consistent online reach and frequency is just as important and you should start that right now.

Digital marketing works especially well in this sort of targeted/timely campaign. Advocacy.Marketing makes it’s fast and affordable to position an issue and build a coalition. What’s involved? Pro business associations and mainstream organizations in Sacramento need to be targeting social media messages to Democratic members and staff. They need a strong email program to those same members and staff detailing the views and voices of their association’s members up and down the state.

Just as important, you need to be able to mobilize your members and supporters at a moment’s notice. To do that you need to build or enlarge your coalition now so that it can have a fast and powerful impact when you need it. If you wait to start building your base this Summer– you lose. Here search engine marketing is a key. You need to build new members and allies when those potential new members are looking for information online.

We all communicate today via pictures and can help you with short videos posted to YouTube. For complex, detailed messages we can produce podcasts that dig deep into an issue and explore it from multiple angles. Advocacy.Marketing can craft an online campaign that positions your message to the right target audience using everything from video to social media to sentiment monitoring. Don’t allow your client or your association to become the first victim of California’s Democratic Super-Majorities.