Media and politics: a brand is a brand for Plus Three

Naomi Reiter

eMedia Vitals

Dec 7, 2009

There are similarities between launching an online media brand and a political campaign. Having done both, Plus Three knows both the similarities and the differences.

Plus Three built its ARCOS marketing software in 2001 specifically for political parties. Its first client, the Democratic National Committee (DNC), was having an identity crisis that year, with no strong fundraising process in place to pull out of its slump. Plus Three built the ARCOS-based Demzilla, a database of about 166 million registered voters with list management capabilities that enabled the DNC to personalize and target fundraising email messages.

Campaign contributors are the political equivalent of media subscribers, according to Plus Three co-founder and President Juan Proaño. Seeing the correlation, Plus Three entered the publishing space in 2005 by acquiring assets from Primedia's Internet Resource and Technology Group, which it folded into ARCOS. Plus Three tackled the key challenge of acquiring new subscribers for Primedia by applying its database-building expertise, says Proaño.

For the JohnEdwards08 presidential campaign, Plus Three expanded its services to include viral marketing tools, blogging, a mobile phone campaign and an advocacy program—the One Corps community service program. Those services are included in the current version of ARCOS, which includes a CRM database to deliver newsletters, blog posts or any other “hook you need to drive sign-up registration,” says Proaño. Magazines using Plus Three to power their websites include Surfing Magazine, Skateboarder Magazine and Motor Trend.

Plus Three has shown how similarly political and media brand campaigns use integrated online communications and asset management to create that registration hook. The difference between them lies in content development, according to Proaño. Media companies have the advantage, with more resources to dedicate to unique, rich content rather than to speeches and PR.

Publishers take note: Leverage your content and data lists—your two strongest assets—to consistently feed each other.