December was a great month. It was a nice opportunity to really think about Washington and how traditional business in this town is conducted. Analogous to businesses that realize marketing is changing and face the challenge of implementing new marketing to (receive permission from consumers) be effective – traditional advocacy faces challenges and must evolve.

In the old days, a company could mass advertise on three channels and with mass capital expenditures – folks bought that company’s product off the shelf. In the District of Communications, a company hires a big K street firm with political connections and they create a barrier to entry for a competitor or break a barrier down for their client’s company (yes, I’m generalizing and recall that monopolies thrive in regulation).

Both methods are still relevant and there are some talented lobbyists in Washington… However, here’s some reasons why you may want to consider augmenting your company’s advocacy strategy.

1) There are more channels to choose from today and the lobbying rules have changed.

2) Your audience stopped listening – customers and the politicians.

3) New marketing is cost effective and you’ll develop a closer relationship to your consumers.

4) Your consumers and their constituents will be your advocates. There is nothing more powerful!

On a related note, National Journal wrote about blogs and the importance of blogs last October. Some K street folks questioned whether it was valuable…. Barack, John Edwards and Ron Paul sure don’t doubt social media. Eventually, the policy / political / government affairs shops won’t doubt it either.

Disclosure – New media efforts are not for everyone. Quoting Danah Boyd – “Social technologies succeed when they fit into the social lives and practices of those that engage with the technology.”