data Pulse #27
The Obama presidential campaign 2008/2012 created a step change in how data was used in political campaigning. Obama campaign mobilised a team of experts to give him an unfair advantage against the other candidates. It could be seen as very sophisticated but in reality they were just applying all the simple skills that data-driven Direct Marketers have been using for decades, but doing it with discipline, at scale, and speed.
Obama’s team focused on making sure that Democrats voters would come out to vote on election day, and built a machine that enabled people to be involved and donate their money, time and energy to the cause.
Obama campaign was in “the subscription business”
Obama had clear purpose, but also ran a political campaign in a professional business like manner. he had clear data-driven targets, reviewed daily. Obama built an excellent customer experience that micro-listened so they could target with precision to maximise the impact of communications. They built an engagement ladder to move through in a monitored way from aware, to supporting to donating or actively volunteering.
All messaging was A/B tested to maximise the effectiveness of targeting for different groups. They know that an email from Michelle Obama would appeal more to one group, or from a local Oklahoma name in Oklahoma would work better for a different group.
This enable mass fund raising and mass engagement of grass-roots supporters, and blew away the Republican Party candidates twice.
The rest is history…. until 2016.