In this episode, we take a break from current events and discuss the fundamental steps of putting together a successful data driven political campaign. We walk through all the steps that we follow for our clients so you have a better understanding of how data and campaign strategy come together.
The Steps to Run a Successful Data Driven Political Campaign
- Review voter registration and past voter turnout demographics for the state or district. This exercise will tell you what voter subgroups are a priority and which ones are not. If you work with Magellan you will also be able access our modeled voter data to identify the “True Middle” voters that will likely decide the election.
- After compiling voter data and identifying subgroups of voters that are important, you can put together a budget. This is very important, because you will learn how much money you need to raise and what you can afford to do. We strongly recommend putting together the budget using a gantt chart format. This format will help you know when you intend to spend money and how you are spending your money.
- Field a benchmark survey of likely voters. Without this kind of survey, you are basically guessing what your message will be and that is never a good idea. The survey results will empower you to build out your campaign strategy, messaging, and have a good handle on what you need to, where you need to go and what you need to say.
- The next step is to use the survey to design the campaign website, bio palm cards, digital and social media assets, direct mail, radio and television messaging. Consistency in messaging across all mediums is very important.
- We recommend for our clients different vendors for your direct mail, digital, television and radio production.
- Make sure you are using the most accurate and up to data voter file before you begin doing any voter contact programs. Voter files that are directly purchased from a county clerk or secretary of state contain voters that have moved or passed away. Therefore, be sure to use the most current, phone enhanced voter file before you deliver any direct mail, phone calls, volunteer activities or door-to-door efforts. Using a solid voter file will save the campaign time, money and increase the efficiency of all efforts.
- Predictive voter modeling and voter segmentation is powerful because it allows you to “go beyond” the information on a typical voter file. Magellan Strategies has been modeling voter data for more than 10 years. Voter modeling is very powerful to a campaign because it allows you to target “True Middle” voters that are likely to determine the outcome of your campaign.
- Voter opinion tracking surveys are short surveys that tell you where things stand. These surveys are used to measure the campaign’s progress and answer vital questions. Are we winning or losing? What is the profile of an undecided voter so we can target them? Are voters familiar enough with our candidate, or more importantly do they have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of you? Without this information, you are basically guessing where things are and are likely to make uninformed decisions that could cost you the campaign.
- In the final weeks of the campaign a strong get-out-the-vote and voter ID program will ensure that your supporters are voting. Using daily ballot return reports that Magellan Strategies compiles, you will know who is voting and who is not.
The bottom line is a political campaign that incorporates data from surveys, voter files, predictive modeling and raw data sources will be in a much better position to win than one that does not use data to make decisions. That is what a data-driven campaign is all about!