Micro messaging challenge for Liberals

During the WA state election campaign, Labor styled a specific message to fans of UFC.

During the West Australian state election campaign Labor styled a specific message to fans of fight phenomenon UFC.

By using social media and targeting only the fans the then-opposition was able to tell them the party would consider bringing a UFC fight event to Perth.

It was just one of hundreds of micro campaigns Labor and its third-party supporters - such trade unions and special interest advocacy groups - are using to talk directly to voters and over the heads of mainstream media.

It's a trend worrying the federal Liberal Party which traditionally has relied on one or two big campaign messages to sway voters.

"They're probably gone," outgoing acting federal director Andrew Bragg told Sky News on Sunday.

Old-style campaigning was being replaced by daily messaging based on rich data mined from social media activity.

In the case of the UFC campaign, Labor could message fans directly without letting the rest of the community know what it was promising to do.

Mr Bragg believes it is also time for business to look how it campaigns in support of coalition policies, and take on third-party groups.

"It's not to barrack for the Liberal Party," he said.

It was about explaining directly to voters how, for instance, a cut in corporate taxes, less regulation and free trade would benefit families "sitting around the kitchen table".

Mr Bragg said environmental groups were spending $80 million a year opposing coalition policies while receiving a $20 million taxpayer benefit because of their non-profit status.

Trade unions benefited from a whole range of "fuzzy payments" from industry superannuation funds which they then used to campaign against the coalition.

"There are parts of the playing field that are not level," Mr Bragg said.