Toby Fallsgraff, who oversaw the 2012 Obama campaign's email efforts, said with messaging "novelty can be highly effective, it can also be highly fleeting," so testing is critical.
He made the point that the campaign did not seek to be overly intrusive with targeting based on demographic profiles. "We were not Big Brother," he suggested.
Segmentation efforts based on demographics to raise money were tried, but Fallsgraff said they "didn't move the dial much at all, not nearly" as much as segmentation based on past activity about donation history. People liked that the campaign was aware of past activity.
Fallsgraff also said "honesty" and "authenticity" were at the core of the messaging strategy.
"The best conclusion we came to was there is no formula for the perfect email ... we didn't want our emails to sound like any other political campaign out there," he said.
There was an effort to make the emails sound as if they were written in President Obama's voice.
Fallsgraff's conclusions on what he learned from the campaign:
1) Build a team with the smartest people and invest in an analytics team. "These teams pay for themelves," he said.
2) Build your list, have a constant and aggressive acquisition strategy.
3) "Keep testing" because "a tried-and-true tactic just wore off."
Fallsgraff thinks email helped win the campaign. "We were smarter and cagier than the other side," he said.
Email is not so novel in email campaigns anymore, so the 2012 campaign sounght to "discover and implement and try to find the limits in email in politics."