Consultants: Digital now an easier sell

Consultants: Digital now an easier sell
Strategists say campaigns are less skeptical of digital spend, but budgets are still too low. 

Consultants are having an easier time selling clients on digital tools, but the warming to new technology has also heightened expectations for down-ballot candidates. 

"Barack Obama's campaign certainly helped. You saw his effective use of a lot of different types of technologies in the digital space," Chris Cox, director of client strategy for Resonate, said Tuesday at CampaignTech West in San Francisco.   

Digital is "eroding the traditional media budgets," he said. 

Still, it remains a small percentage of campaigns' total budgets, according to Jim Walsh, co-founder and CEO at DSPolitical. 

"The private space spends 30 percent on digital," he said. "They find it actually helps them find customers. If we can find customers, we can find donors."

Some more traditional consultants remain a tough sell when it comes to digital, noted Cox, but the right analytics can help make the case. Cox added: "You want to be talking to as many people as you can afford to talk to."

Earning the trust of clients, said Walsh, is key when it comes to getting campaigns to take digital more seriously. That means making sure they understand when it's the right moment to more heavily on digital tools. 

"It's important that when advising your candidates that you are doing the math," said Walsh. "Is it cheaper to buy TV than to do a pre-roll ad? Digital is best in places like New jersey where media markets are incredibly expensive."

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