Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Campaign Analysis

Which party was the better marketer?

It has been a week since the election and the results been sliced and diced a myriad of ways looking for insights as to why the results turned out the way they did.   Here's a view of how various pundits fared in terms of predicting electoral votes.

Each dart represents the estimate of a prognosticator; blue are democrat or 'left' thinkers while red are 'right' or republican.  The three in the center nailed the outcome precisely, those outside the dart board missed by over 100 electoral votes.  Since there are only 538 votes to divide into two piles, one would think that the predictions would be a bit closer.   I guess there was a lot was analysis without analytics (those aren't the same thing). 

In addition to the results themselves, stories are emerging on how each campaign used data which are quite illuminating.

Obama had a data crunching team focus on integrating everything possible and then testing idea after idea to optimize their marketing efforts to not only raise $1 billion but also mobilize GOTV (get out the vote) initiatives.  As with many marketing data projects it took 18 months to get the disparate sources under control and organized appropriately.  In the end, there were 40 million people that were segmented and targeted appropriately.   At the one end were the contest-loving, dinner party crowd who bid on "Dinner with Barrack" hosted at Sarah Jessica Parker's home.  At the other was the use of ranked contact lists texted to your phone based on the probability of persuading voters.

Romney had data too.  But from the sounds of the stories it was a case of GIGO - garbage in; garbage out.   The working assumption that republicans were more motivated than democrats proved to be wrong so the polls weren't balanced.  The email database is reported at 4 million and contact rate 1/20th of the democrats.  There was little evidence that the campaign leveraged outside lists for acquisition, a common marketing tactic.  When it came to GOTV supporters were sent a 60 page pdf to print out and turn in; no digital solution there.   For the trials and tribulations of one volunteer read this story.

It seems the secret to winning 8 of 9 swing states was marketing best practices:

Tell No one

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