Table of Contents Hide
Megan Clasen offers award-winning advice for anyone interested in setting up a digital advertising agency. Clasen, who has been in digital advertising for over a decade now, has worked tirelessly to create some of the most successful marketing campaigns. Clasen, one of few women in tech and even less in political tech, is changing the perception of what it means to win big.
Clasen was most recently the senior paid media advisor for Joe Biden’s presidential campaign. She became an in-house “digital Guru” and led their advertising efforts. Her team ran the largest ever digital ads program run by a Democratic party campaign. She was also responsible for JB Pritzker’s digital campaigns during his successful campaign for governor of Illinois. Politico called it “The Best Campaign Money Can Buy” and later, at the 2019 Reed Awards, the “Best Online Advertising Campaign.”
Clasen and Patrick McHugh, Clasen’s creative partner, formed Gambit Strategies, a digital advertising company specializing in “persuasion & mobilization campaigns for candidates & causes.” McHugh shared this via Twitter at launch. Clasen was quoted in The Hill recently as saying that “We can do Digital as well” or “We can do Digital Persuasion & Mobilization.” “There aren’t many companies that claim to be digital mobilization, persuasion specialists.”
Clasen and McHugh launched a gambit in 2015. Since then, their reach has increased exponentially, and their intrinsic value as a digital media agency and creative company is primarily focused on getting out the vote. Clasen disclosed that 14 employees have joined the company since the beginning of the year and that more than 60% of the political candidate clients they represent are female.
Clasen spoke about their success and expressed her amazement at the number of people who trust their team’s abilities. She told her enthusiasm for the continued push for increased mobilization down and up the ballot as the year progresses. Clasen outlined a few strategies that can be applied across many industries. These are vital points for anyone who wants to reach a broader audience in the coming years.
Which Story Are You Trying to Tell?
Clasen emphasized the importance of storytelling in enabling audience buyin when she developed a digital marketing plan. Clasen believes her team did terrific by sticking to the message during the Biden campaign. She said that despite being in the middle of a pandemic and facing an unpredictable opponent, it was possible to win by focusing only on the most relevant stories to President Biden’s administration, such as “The Biden Standard,” which helped her to get the win.
Clasen was able to stay true to a specific storyline throughout her journey to become one of the top digital strategists today. After starting her career in digital advertising at New York City agencies, Clasen worked for five years with brands like AT&T and Samsung before becoming the leader of Hilary Clinton’s digital advertising team. Hilary Clinton’s digital advertising team hired Clasen to manage ad operations, media buying, and education.
Clasen taught them that digital persuasion was a broadcast medium, similar to television. This encouraged progressive brands and campaign heads to subscribe to her dogma. Hulu was the first digital streaming platform to partner with Hilary Clinton’s campaign. This made Meghan Clasen the pioneer in digital political marketing.
Who are you trying to sell?
The digital and physical worlds of advertising marketing have changed due to the increased accessibility of streaming services and shorter attention spans. Clasen and McHugh want to emphasize that digital advertising is essential for persuading, mobilizing, and retaining all voters.
Clasen stated that “I think [it] is emotional” about the chronic nature and difficulty in voter turnout during non-presidential elections. She said that people want to feel confident that the person they are voting for is committed to their values. “People can trust candidates if they are able to tell stories,” she said.
Clasen was the leader of the innovative marketing strategies that earned President Joe Biden a seat in the White House in 2020. She shared her experiences using real people to tell their reasons for voting for a candidate. These narratives were critical to creating the emotional bonds necessary to gather other voters. If someone has been a Republican all their life, and you want to convince them to vote for a Democrat in 2020, you will need to build trust with them and get advice from others similar to them.
Biden’s campaign had a $250million digital advertising program budget and an in-depth understanding of those on the other end of the communication. Some voters were disillusioned, while others didn’t have access to reliable resources. Clasen utilized platform-specific creative formatting to reach a wider audience. For example, Clasen posted 15-second culturally relevant videos on Facebook rather than 30-second generic videos.
Clasen also highlighted targeted targeting strategies used for veterans, rural citizens, and seniors from different battleground states to ensure voters felt heard and talked about. She concluded that “being able to send people messages about subjects they care about can be very powerful.”
Use What’s True to Create What’s Next
Clasen agrees that her agency is unique because it combines targeted ad placement with prioritizing creative experiences during data analysis. She stressed the importance and value of data-driven decision-making and the need to tap into customer insights to help brand and marketing plans. This is a crucial point for anyone looking to make digital waves.
She stated, “Data is driving where we’re willing to spend our money online,” referring to the valuable information gleaned by looking at what people are doing online and what they are eating. “People spend more time using Instagram and Facebook than any other platform. But [they] will be scrolling through their mobile devices, looking at something for three to five-second on average.”
Clasen says that the environment is critical in getting an emotion across. It is possible to touch and move viewers at all levels by focusing on the highest quality persuasion impressions based on consumer insights.
Keeping A Clear Strategy
Clasen stated that if Clasen had told her ten years ago that this was where she would land, that she would be a part of the campaign to take down Donald Trump and then set up her advertising agency, I wouldn’t believe it. She is a shining example of having a clear strategy for your career.
The 2019 Digital Megaphone Awards named Clasen one of the Top Women in Digital Marketing. She spoke out about following your instincts and working hard to find your passions. Clasen explained that her experiences working for people-centric companies such as Starcom and GMMB and her willingness to take a leap of faith in a job in her dream field after college, and countless hours of “networking like mad” to keep the lights on her NYC apartment lit – all before she worked in politics – helped her prepare for the competitive sphere that she now dominates.
She believes it is okay to fail, which is especially important for women. People will say no to your efforts, and you must keep going. Because they are intimidated by you, people will act as if you aren’t good enough. You must have faith in yourself and work towards your goals to reach them.