In 2018, Oklahoma teachers mounted a walkout to protest low pay, overcrowded classrooms, and tax cuts that hurt public schools. Over the previous 10 years, funding for education had fallen by 28 percent. The decline in funding led to overcrowded classrooms, stagnant teacher pay, and 20 percent of Oklahoma schools operating on four day weeks. The outlook was bleak for educators. Their salaries in Oklahoma were the third lowest in the United States.
DSPolitical partnered with The Oklahoma Education Association (OKEA) and their media consultant for digital messaging during the strike. There were two distinct audiences that OKEA needed to reach. The first was their own members. This was a union-supported strike and in order to keep the momentum going strong, OKEA had to connect with teachers to remind them why they were taking action. DSPolitical matched OKEA’s member list to our online data. Because previous union member matches had been verified up to 80 percent, OKEA used the tactic to maintain interest and enthusiasm.
The second audience was parents. OKEA needed to inform parents why the teacher strike was happening while also persuading them to support efforts to raise teacher salaries and educational standards for their children. DSPolitical used Catalist data to find likely parents who were also the likeliest to be outspoken activists within their community. Because of the limited budget, it was decided that connecting with these parents could prove helpful because they were most likely to amplify OKEA’s message by word of mouth
Finally, during the protests, DSPolitical utilized geo-location targeting to reach people on their mobile phones around the Oklahoma State Capitol grounds. These display ads implored state lawmakers (who couldn’t help but see the throngs of protesters on their way to work) to restore funding for teacher salaries and Oklahoma schools.
The strike lasted for 10 days. When the dust settled, and OKEA finally called off the strike, teachers had won an average raise of $6,000, their largest salary increase in decades, along with increased school funding to support smaller class sizes and new textbooks. Utilizing DSPolitical’s proven targeting technology allowed OKEA to stay within their limited budget while reaching the very people necessary to achieve victory for Oklahoma teachers and students.