Democrats and Republicans alike set out to create grassroots campaigns leveraging modern-day technology. The parties invested heavily in data mining, social and mobile to digitize the end-to-end election process.
In 2008, Obama’s campaign discovered the power of data mining and one-to-one marketing. After combing through mounds of data, they created segments of like-minded individuals to target. In 2012, the campaign honed the strategy leveraging social media, an unproven channel by ROI standards for most Marketers. They used Facebook Apps to obtain access to likes, comments and list of friends. Armed with intelligence, they modeled advocates, identified who specifically needed to contact the array of undecided or registered voters. They discovered the most effective way to persuade a voter is through person-to-person contact, “aka” personalization. The campaign found 1 in 5 people contacted by a Facebook friend acted on the request. What Democrats did so effectively in 2008 was to develop the infrastructure and methodology as well as test and validate tactics which enabled their ability to hit the ground running in 2012.
As the world shifts to mobile devices, the Romney campaign smartly launched an aggressive mobile strategy to get out the vote, identify irregularities, monitor and report voter turnout on Election Day. The mobile concept converted a paper process to gather exit poll data digitally and inform volunteers where to focus their efforts to increase voter turnout in real-time on Election Day. Unfortunately, there were myriad technical issues that prevented data flow, which had some affect on their ability to take action in real-time. However, there’s no doubt this insightful mobile strategy will be refined and will transform how future elections will be managed.
There’s a common theme across both parties – leverage new technology to drive real-time connections between passionate and informed volunteers to engage and sway potential voters. In less than six years, the political system unleashed the power of cross-channel marketing, operationalized the collection, analysis and decisioning of data to deliver offline and online one-to-one marketing campaigns.