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Should Obama Have Gone Between Two Ferns?

Some right-wing pundits disapprove (oh my!). Should they?

(Excuse the title, I couldn't resist.)

In case you missed it, the president of the United States was on a hipster comedy show recently. Some folks at Fox News and other places think he demeaned his office by doing so.

As far as the "demeaned the office" part goes, I don't see how this is any different from going on plenty of other shows where humor is the order of the day (late night TV, for example).

From a larger perspective, though, this was a fantastic move. Obama wanted to drive young people to the new site, and quickly, "Between Two Ferns" was the #1 referrer to the site.

I agree with social marketing expert and Johns Hopkins professor Alan Rosenblatt's assessment:

"The challenge for campaigns and advocacy groups is to make sure that regardless of what channels they prefer to use to talk with their audiences, they have to use all the channels that their audiences prefer. That does not mean organizations have to use every social media channel. But it does mean that they have to know where their audiences are and use those channels to reach them. Trying to force your audience to come to your website, read your email or watch you on TV when they prefer to check their Facebook newsfeed or their Twitter timeline is ineffective at best and disrespectful at worst. Not giving your audience information through the channels they prefer is like giving your audience the heave-ho."

It was this kind of thinking that led Obama's campaign in 2008 to surpass the 20 year-old Clinton fundraising machine, the best the Democratic party had ever seen, in less than five months.

The takeaway for anybody interested in fundraising--political campaigns or nonprofits--is that your engagement strategies need to be built around who your supporters (and potential supporters) are, not rigid structures and models interior to your organization. If you're not building supporter profiles and communications strategies unique to each major profile, this is a good place to start.