WEEKLY NEWSLETTER: Pollie Award WINNERS | Q&A with Amanda Biundo | Winning with Microtargeting

March 17, 2023

Awards season continues with the AAPC Pollie Awards announcing winners yesterday afternoon.* 2023 is the largest Pollie Contest to date, according to the AAPC, and fewer than 21% of entries received the honor of an award. We are proud to announce we are in that 21% and are winners of at least one Pollie Award this year.

We announced we were also finalists for 14 Campaigns & Elections Reed Awards a few weeks ago. As a company, we pride ourselves on building award-winning campaigns unique to each district and candidate while providing the best services in the industry. We have seen so much growth since our inception in a small spare bedroom office – winning 34 awards for our political excellence, expanding our in-house public affairs capabilities, and serving as Senior Advisors to campaigns for Congress all the way to President. Not to mention, we also added in-house design that allows us to deliver tens of millions of pieces of mail and hundreds of thousands of digital impressions – all while maintaining our high service standards to our clients.

If you need an award-winning mail, digital, voter contact, or consulting firm – look no further. Reach out today; we will gladly help you make your project a reality.

*Winners were notified via email yesterday that they would be receiving an award at the AAPC Pollie Awards & Conference in April, but winners of each category will only be unveiled at the actual conference.

Q&A with Amanda Biundo

Featured by Campaigns & Elections Magazine, Amanda Biundo is an award-winning Creative Director who has designed branding, digital ads, and direct mail for dozens of campaigns around the country. Amanda has also managed social media advertising for multiple local and federal campaigns. Most recently, she has expanded her knowledge into video editing and composition.

What did you want to be when you were growing up?
It depended on the day you asked me. For the longest time, I wanted to be a Forensic Scientist, then a Lawyer, a Photographer, and a Graphic Designer; there was even a point I wanted to be a Vet, but I realized seeing animals sick would make me sad.

How did you end up involved in politics?
Most people can figure out my story just by hearing my last name. It was about 50% a career of proximity and good timing – then 50% a genuine interest.

My dad is a partner at Ascent (at the time RightVoter), and to help them out but mainly to bring in some extra cash, I freelanced designing for their clients. I continued this after college as I held other jobs, and eventually, I was between things after losing out on a gig with a prominent NH print shop when their hiring plans changed. RightVoter was looking to hire someone in the design world full-time to expand their services. My dad called to ask if I would be interested, and I took the shot. It will be four years in May.

Tell me your best political story or favorite political memory.
I’ve seen the political world from so many angles – I’ve attended events since before I could walk. With that have come some genuinely incredible experiences. I’ve been lucky enough to meet so many people within this world and have truly had a front-row seat to history.

That said, it isn’t easy to pinpoint one memory – maybe the 2012 Republican Convention in Florida, introducing Rick Santorum in 2012 in my high school American Politics course, or introducing Rand Paul at a College Convention in 2016.

However, the moment sticking out isn’t necessarily a political memory but a moment where I felt like the relationships I built in this world impacted those surrounding me. While I was in college, I worked with connections to get small US flags donated. On the anniversary of 9/11, I, with the help of students, faculty, and staff, hosted an event where members of the college and community could place a flag on the college green. The flags shaped the Twin Towers, and there was a flag for each life lost that day. It ended up being immensely impactful and a solemn memorial for the tragic loss our country faced.

How do you spend your free time?
I play video games a lot. I also enjoy reading and time with my dog Elbert. It is also important to me to spend time with my fiancé and family.

What is the best concert you’ve attended?
If I have to choose one – Billy Joel at Fenway Park with my Dad. We waited so long to see the show since COVID postponed everything the first time.

Amanda Biundo: Winning with Microtargeting

Meet Your Voters

Alright – you’re running for office, have a website listing your issue positions, a palm card to match, and now you’re ready to talk to your voters. You’ve heard the importance of a digital program before – maybe even from these emails – but what’s next? As a candidate, you’re in a unique spot where every issue must feel like the most critical. You hear opinions from all angles (check out Andrew’s piece we published previously on the echo chamber), but to be frank, not every voter cares about every issue.

Your digital program gives you a unique chance to match the voter to what they are most concerned about at the end of the day. A family with young children will care more about school choice than an elderly individual worried about the price of their insulin – and vice versa. As a candidate, you have crafted positions from your beliefs to address all of these concerns but do yourself a disservice if you throw it all at the wall hoping something sticks in the minds of your voters.

In 2016, Kat Cammack was running for Congress in a tough multi-way primary. The voters in FL-03 were flooded with messaging trying to win their votes. We knew we had a strong candidate in Kat that would serve her district well but faced an uphill battle in trying to pierce through the clutter of messages the voters were receiving.

We began tailoring our messaging to unique voters using microtargeting. Microtargeting lets you talk to your voter about what they care most about – it hand-delivers the message to that voter. Your campaign team can utilize direct outreach through microtargeting in your digital program, mailers, SMS/MMS messaging, etc.

For Kat, we began a multi-tiered approach that utilized advanced targeting on Facebook and the digital sphere as a whole – we’d start with a more extensive custom voter list uploaded and segment it based on the message we were sending out. Voters interested in things like hunting were more likely to be served an ad promoting Kat’s staunch stance on the defense of the Second Amendment. In contrast, we would be more likely to deliver farmers ads on agriculture or young families content on the importance of school choice.

This program was executed on multiple tiers, with the digital realm as only one example. We mirrored these efforts in our text messages, videos, and other voter contact efforts. As you know, Kat won her primary and is now serving her second term as the Congresswoman for Florida’s Third Congressional District.

If there is this secret sauce, why isn’t it used more often, though? Cost isn’t the deterrent; we’ve run similar programs for campaigns of all budget levels. Okay – if it isn’t the price putting folks off, what is it? I’ll be the first to tell you why this method isn’t commonplace – it’s time-consuming and takes your team working together as one to keep things running smoothly across platforms. That shouldn’t shy you or your vendors away from it, though – the road to victory isn’t easy, but with the right people behind you, it becomes possible.

We craft strategies to help you win.

At Ascent Strategic, we devise winning strategies for candidates and political organizations. We'd love to see what we can help you achieve.

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