How Will Bernie Use That Data?

There has been a major uproar in political media about the Bernie Sanders campaign accessing voter and contributor data belonging to the Hillary Clinton campaign.  Ethics aside, how much of that data would be truly helpful to Bernie Sanders? Would his campaign get full value from it? It comes down to whether you believe all leads are created equal.

Marketing experience says -- no. Some prospects are more likely to contribute (i.e. buy) than others, which makes them more valuable and so they deserve more time and attention. That’s as true in politics as in cars or cereals.

So let’s say a few million records suddenly become available to Bernie’s campaign. What happens next? They’ll probably append data to identify the most affluent and perhaps run those records against a database of former political contributors. Then, perhaps different emails will go out to the best potential major donors versus small donors or voters.

But, then what? The initial segmentation work is a good start, but if campaigns stop there, they are leaving lots of money (and votes) on the table.  The greatest upside opportunity comes through nurturing those who raise their hands in any way in response to the initial solicitation.  This is a refined segmentation – based on action and attitude. And it can improve conversion by 30% or more.

Here are seven nurturing actions pragmatic marketers have incorporated that smart campaigns can follow:

  • Gather more data: Ask 3 – 4 questions to gauge the passion or lack of it for your candidate. Identify which issue most drives the prospect.

  • Refine your segments based on these driver issues.

  • Tailor messaging to tell each segment a story they’ll relate to: Your core positioning can be the same across segments, but the content should be relevant and motivating to each segment. This means the messages should be versioned to enhance relationships.

  • Use multiple remarketing media, weighted according to potential value: Higher value prospects should get more media budget and attention.

  • Sync your media: Display retargeting and social retargeting can be used sequentially for storytelling, just as email can. All remarketing media should be synchronized.

  • Watch for action… and react: Segments should not be static. Determine which actions warrant moving a prospect to a higher or lower value messaging track. Be sure to remove prospects from your nurturing when they request that, or when they become contributors.

  • Outsource if you are not expert at marketing automation or content versioning: Advanced marketing automation and CRM systems enable most of the steps outlined.  But political campaigns, like for-profit companies, often don’t have the bench strength to efficiently put nurturing into action.  If that’s the case, 3rd party experts can work with your system or customize a process for you

As we enter the 2016 election year, campaigns that understand how to go beyond list generation to build digital relationships will have an edge. And they won’t have to “borrow” records to succeed.

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