February 10, 2021
Virtual Event

The 2020 After-Action Report: Learning from the Virtual Election

Like much of marketing, digital political campaigning just advanced 5 years in 6 months. From streaming video to social ad targeting, mobile GOTV to unprecedented online fundraising and volunteering – the pandemic drove electioneering deeper and faster into virtual experiences than anyone could have predicted. And yet, traditional TV ad spend disintegrated existing records. What did we learn – about the strengths and limits of digital channels under the ultimate stress test?

For the seventh year, MediaPost’s Marketing Politics brings together Democratic and Republican campaign gurus to share the key lessons learned from the recent cycle. What worked and what didn’t in the most unusual election in modern history – where most Americans experienced candidates, decided and even voted – from home?

  • What lessons will political marketing bring forward from this first virtual election?
  • About effective media spend across TV/CTV and digital streams?
  • About GOTV door knocking vs. texting?
  • About navigating the ever-shifting social platform policies for fund raising?
  • About what a virtual ground game looks like?
About how national and local digital strategies diverge going forward?The post-election Marketing Politics event from MediaPost is a 7-year tradition where Red and Blue team members pop the hood on the digital engines that drove the last cycle and will lead the next.
Join the conversation #MPMKTG

Conference Content Programmer

Steve SmithSenior Editor, MediaPost

Advisory Board

Tim Lim, Partner, NEWCO
Zachary Moffatt, CEO, Targeted Victory
Robert Aho, Partner, BrabenderCox
Tzatzil LeMair, Account Director, Sensis


Marketing: Politics 2021 Attendees Include

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Wednesday, 02/10

2:00 PM ET
Opening Remarks
Steve Smith, VP, Editorial Director, Events, MediaPost 
2:10 PM ET
Keynote Fireside Chat: Following the Money: Biden's Media-Buying Calculus

Did the most expensive national political campaign in history teach us anything about how funding gets allocated going forward? The head of Biden for President's media buying team reflects on what that money bought the campaign across traditional TV and digital channels. What decisions were made to heavy up media when, when and with what messaging?

Patrick Bonsignore, Director of Paid Media, Biden for President 
Joe Mandese, Editor-in-Chief, MediaPost 
2:35 PM ET
That Money Panel: Is 2020 the New Normal?
With passions running so high this cycle, fund-raisers are already asking if 2020 was a black swan event or a model for political money-raising going forward. ActBlue and WinRed drove gushers of cash into local races, while live and virtual fund-raisers struggled to navigate the pandemic. And yet Democrats underperformed expectations despite record funding. Republicans suffered questions about where $1 billion went? Will donors large and small be a harder sell next time?
Steve McClellan, Editor, MediaPost's Agency Daily (MAD), Mediapost 
Laura Carlson, Digital Director, Democratic Governors Association 
Clarke Humphrey, Deputy Digital Director, Biden for President 
Ashley Isaac, Digital Director, NRSC 
Lyman Munschauer, Digital Director, NRCC 
3:05 PM ET
Sponsor Spotlight
3:10 PM ET
Panel: Solving for Social: Data, Messaging and Policy
The social media channel was as important in 2020 as ever but far from straightforward. We explore how both parties navigated ad bans, new limitations on targeting, accuracy, flagging policies and more. We explore what we’ve learned about the future role of political micro-targeting and audience building; finding audiences for future campaigns. Did the fight over facts and misinformation monitoring have impact? Did social influencer activation redefine social strategy? And what did we learn about working with and around these platforms?
Robert Aho, Partner, BrabenderCox 
Jiore Craig, Vice President and Director of the Digital Practice, GQR 
Caeli Mahon, Digital Strategist, Targeted Victory 
Tara McGowan, Co-Founder, Acronym 
3:40 PM ET
Keynote Fireside Chat: Keynote Fireside Chat: Beating the Spread: How Tradition Overperformed in 2020

Unprecedented circumstances seemed to require new and unconventional means. But much of the Trump campaign's success in outperforming expectations and in penetrating new constituencies were grounded in tried and true national campaign techniques. As the campaign's CMO explores with us, ground game, messaging, authentic presence all mattered most in getting their candidate much closer to a win than most polls predicted. But how did the campaign use earned media to compensate for being outspent on TV? How did an impromptu Salsa riff help galvanize Miami Cuban enthusiasm "por Trumpt?" Kaelen Dorr shares the little wins that render big lessons.

Kaelan Dorr, CMO, Donald J. Trump for President 
Steve Smith, VP, Editorial Director, Events, MediaPost 
4:10 PM ET
Campaign Trivia
4:20 PM ET
Q&A: The DNC Plan
Patrick Stevenson, Chief Mobilization Officer, Democratic National Committee 
Joe Mandese, Editor-in-Chief, MediaPost 
4:40 PM ET
Q&A: The RNC Plan
Kevin Zambrano, Chief Digital Officer, Republican National Committee 
Lisa Singer, Event Editorial Manager, MediaPost 
5:00 PM ET
Panel: The GOTV Pivot
The locked-down electorate of 2020 required a radical rethinking of traditional GOTV techniques. What did we learn about digital vs. door-knocking this cycle? Will relational organizing and influencers forever change the field? And how did the data-driven ground games of Republicans deepen their base while Democrats galvanized youth? We will explore whether the GOTV lessons of 2020 will be relevant farther down the ballot and beyond the unique dynamics of 2020.
Wendy Davis, Policy Editor, MediaPost 
Amanda Elliott, Digital Director, RGA 
Ben Wessel, Director, NextGen America 
5:15 PM ET
Conference Concludes

Featured Speakers

Patrick Bonsignore

Biden for President
Director of Paid Media

Laura Carlson

Democratic Governors Association
Digital Director

Kaelan Dorr

Donald J. Trump for President

Amanda Elliott

Digital Director

Clarke Humphrey

Biden for President
Deputy Digital Director

Ashley Isaac

Digital Director

Tara McGowan


Lyman Munschauer

Digital Director

Patrick Stevenson

Democratic National Committee
Chief Mobilization Officer

Ben Wessel

NextGen America

Robert Aho


Jiore Craig

Vice President and Director of the Digital Practice

Wendy Davis

Policy Editor

Caeli Mahon

Targeted Victory
Digital Strategist

Joe Mandese


Steve McClellan

Editor, MediaPost's Agency Daily (MAD)

Lisa Singer

Event Editorial Manager

Steve Smith

VP, Editorial Director, Events

Kevin Zambrano

Republican National Committee
Chief Digital Officer

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