Data has historically shaped the way we target likely voters, but the Trump campaign’s dissimilar, but sophisticated approach to data, and reliance upon alternative techniques for voter turnout raised questions for many following the 2016 cycle. Last week, data gurus Benjy Messner (Precision Strategies), Emmy Ruiz (Hillary for America) and David Seawright (Deep Root Analytics) addressed this very point on a webinar moderated by Becki Donatelli, Campaign Solutions, and shared lessons and key takeaways following this tumultuous cycle. In addition to the summary, login to watch the full webinar recording!
1. Data is a necessary piece for every election, but ultimately campaigns are about people. We should be listening to what people have to say and then saying it back to them in a way that connects them to a candidate. The connection is key. You must have something positive to say to someone that they are open to hearing.
2. Frequently refreshing data is vital.
3. Email marketing is essential to building relationships with people. Once those relationships are made you can give your connections a call to action.
About Benjy: Benjy Messner is a data and analytics professional with years of experience solving problems quantitatively, targeting voters and consumers, and running efficient programs. Since joining Precision Strategies, Benjy has focused on helping clients solve their toughest problems with cutting-edge data and analytics strategies and tactics.
1. Rely on your intuition and gut. Trust your instinct and experience even though it may seem difficult to argue against data.
2. It is critical to validate and confirm data assumptions at every turn. A lot of things can shift in the last few days of a campaign. Every state, every cycle, and every electorate is different: 2016 was not 2012.
3. Polling is not dead—pollsters help campaigns adjust their strategies according to the current political climate. A great example comes from the past election cycle and how millennials were considering third party candidates.
About Emmy: For the past decade, Emmy Ruiz has focused on empowering women & girls, Latinos, and young voters. Through her work in Texas (2008, 2010, 2014), Nevada (2008, 2012, 2016), and Colorado (2016)— she has successfully built winning campaigns from the ground up focused on voter registration and mobilization with a special emphasis on Latino participation.
1. An early investment in audience segmentation and targeting is critical to success — despite conventional wisdom around waiting for the political environment to form.
2. Industry growth means that the most sophisticated techniques and technologies are no longer limited to big budget races. Automation is so important in this regard.
3. 2016 reinforced the need for data investment and polling combined with traditional voter contact. These audiences need to be put together and then continually refreshed as the political environment changes.
About David: David Seawright joined Deep Root Analytics as its second employee in January 2014. He now serves as the Director of Analytics and Product Innovation and has overseen media analytics for clients like HBO, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (KY), Governor Greg Abbott (TX), Senator Steve Daines (MT) and more.
A huge thank you goes out to our speakers for sharing their expertise with the AAPC membership!