Big Obama Campaign Victory Attributed To List Testing

November 23, 2012 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Direct Marketing Strategy 

These are some quotes from today’s Wall Street Journal and many professional Direct Marketing journals attribute much of Obama’s Campaign victory to extensive testing of campaign letters and the understanding of deep database analytics.

Demographic Segmenting

Who got which email depended on direct marketing data base marketing techniques about each fundraising prospect and how different people react to different messages. In this year’s election, it looks as if the Obama team’s use of such data was one of its biggest edges over the Romney effort.

Extensive Testing is the Secret

“Campaign manager Jim Messina pledged to “measure every single thing in this campaign” and built an analytics department five times the size of the 2008 effort. A Time magazine reporter got access to the data scientists in the campaign’s Chicago headquarters on the condition that the reporter would keep mum until after the election. “What they revealed as they pulled back the curtain,” Time recently reported, “was a massive data effort that helped Obama raise $1 billion, remade the process of targeting TV ads and created detailed models of swing-state voters that could be used to increase the effectiveness of everything from phone calls and door knocks to direct mailings and social media.”

Obama Campaign Strategy

Big Name Geeks to Analyze The Data

“The campaign’s “chief scientist,” Rayid Ghani, had been at Accenture, where he co-wrote an academic paper describing work helping companies that “analyze large amounts of transactional data but are unable to systematically ‘understand’ their products.” For example, Mr. Ghani helped grocers figure out why people bought orange juice by reducing the product to attributes that could be analyzed by algorithms—”Brand: Tropicana, Pulp: low, Fortified with: Vitamin-D, Size: 1 liter, Bottle type: plastic.”

The Obama campaign focused on data showing the “persuadability” of voters. Multivariate tests identified issues and positions that could move undecided voters, ProPublica said: “The persuasion scores allowed the campaign to focus its outreach efforts—and their volunteer calls—on voters who might actually change their minds as the result. It also guided them in what policy messages individual voters should hear.”

Big data give incumbents a big advantage, Romney never knew what hit him!

“Which seems to have surprised the Romney team. The Obama campaign has used cookies to track its supporters online since the 2008 election. It spent the past 18 months creating a new, unified database, factoring in some 80 pieces of information about each person, from age, race and sex to voting history. (The campaign denied reports that it tracked visits to pornography sites in its outreach algorithms.) The Romney campaign says it tried to match the Obama campaign’s collection and analysis of data but had to start from scratch and had just seven months after the primaries.”

Why did the Republicans allow Obama to best them twice at the exact same game. Direct marketing analytics wins again!