How Obama’s data scientists built a volunteer army on Facebook

Gigaom published a great post about the strategic use of vast amounts of Facebook data to build their highly targeted campaign strategy. Regardless of who you voted for:

Reaching the right voters at the right time with the right message will become even more important in future elections, he said, and “we only scratched the surface of it.”
– Obama for America Chief Scientist Rayid Ghani

This is the fundamental challenge of every persuader be it communications professionals, sales, advertising, marketing. Really interesting to see how Obama’s tech team’s approach to a universal problem resulted in a solution that actually worked. Their FB analysis tool alone would be worth a fortune. I didn’t see what their budget was for the 2 years.

Ghani and his team also knew they were just one part of the overall campaign solution and worked side by side their “traditional” counterparts, a refreshing level of cooperation by data-driven analytical folks, especially given the very passionate, emotional appeal of their door knocker volunteers. Many times, data deep, new tech folks forget about the importance of the individual voter/consumer/customer experience. That blinder can become a hinderance to true innovation which I believe must be lead by a customer experience-first approach.

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