Digital campaigning for first-time candidates: Answers to frequently asked questions
Laura Olin

When it comes down to it, the key to winning has little to do with how many emails you send or how many times you post on FB. It’s all about the data you have about your potential constituents and how granularly you can microtarget them with content designed to activate a specific response. It’s why Obama won in 2008 and 2012, and it’s why Trump won this last election.

If you haven’t heard of it already, look up Cambridge Analytica. Their data combined with Trump’s digital media team is what won him the election, all while spending FAR less than Hillary. And since October, data monitoring and analysis has gotten even more sophisticated. People like to make it a boogeyman, but it’s just the way the game is played now. It’s what happens when marketing becomes part of politics.

In these upcoming elections, look for candidates microtargeting on individual issues with tiny subsets of voters. The reasons the big coalitions were difficult to maintain is that you can’t make everyone happy with you on every issue, even if they’re your base. But now, we can approximate it. We can use highly relevant get-out-the-vote campaigns on those most likely to engage, while running suppression campaigns on those most likely to vote for the “wrong” candidate. All without any of it needing to be widely distributed to the general masses

I work with a company that uses exactly this sort of tech to track and analyze the behaviors of well over 130m US consumers, both online and offline. And on top of it, our capabilities go WAY beyond what Cambridge Analytica had access to. This tech is a formidable tool in the business world, but in politics it’s completely game changing.