5 Customer Engagement Lessons from the Presidential Re-election Campaign

This year’s Pubcon was held in New Orleans for the second time since 2005. Pubcon is a combination of search and social media training and holds a reputation for cutting-edge content. The opening keynote embraced that reputation with strategic insights from the Obama Campaign’s former CTO and Chief Integration and Innovation Officer, Michael Slaby.

Here are five take-away lessons from Slaby’s keynote.

1. Integrate data and content.

His ability to integrate technology, content, social and community has earned Slaby such accolades as Chicago’s prestigious 40 Under 40 List, as well as a seat at the table with Eric Schmidt’s venture capital fund, TomorrowVentures. TomorrowVentures helps companies and start-ups with their community and organizational strategies.

His lofty goal of creating a high-tech, data-driven approach integrated with a strong social and content strategy was a “force multiplier” in helping Obama win the 2012 election. One of his bigger challenges from a data perspective was creating infrastructure that allowed the campaigns’ databases to talk to each other. His data integration project (called Narwhal) was the foundation for the campaign’s strength. Narwhal was the vehicle to make the campaign more efficient and more engaged.

2. Identify your audience.

Slaby’s perspective on winning a Presidential campaign aligns very closely with winning a marketing campaign. The ability to identify an audience, tell the stories that matter most to that audience and win hearts and minds with messaging is tantamount to success. Audience identification and segmentation should occur before any content strategy is developed.

3. Create culture from the top down.

Slaby warns that fragmentation results when strategy is created from the bottom up. Building company culture from the top down ensures that philosophy, messaging and processes are consistent and coherent. Culture innovation is prized as much as a culture of cutting-edge technology.

Rosetta embraces a similar approach to customer engagement.

4. Do your research.

His message to other innovators is to focus on customers. For Slaby, this focus on customers entailed aligning voter sentiment and keywords “polling”, “contribution”, “healthcare”, or “education” gathered via email, phone and website to the right staffer. The dashboard allowed staffers to identify trends by state or city. Leveraging location and personalization research allowed for deeply focused messaging.

5. You cannot choose the channel in which your target consumes content.

In less than 2 years, re-election efforts were fortified by a technical, data-driven solution that helped them identify their target. The tool, though proprietary, was created with proven technology. Then they engaged their target by microtargeting voters based on social and text sentiment to drive stronger, more relevant engagement for the Obama team. By sharing relevant content to the right audience at the right time, they deepened engagement with voters.

The overarching goal of market share acquisition is best achieved by a communications and marketing strategy that utilizes multiple channels and realizes that brands cannot choose the channel where their target audience consumes content. That reality is constant, whether the goal is for votes or for sales.

Our mission at Rosetta is to be a catalyst for growth, driving business impact by translating deep consumer insights into personally relevant brand experiences across touch points over time. Our trademarked Personality-based segmentation helps us get the right message to the right people at the right time.

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