I’ve had the real pleasure of working with some brilliant minds under challenging circumstances to come up with solutions to intricate problems. Out of these experiences, both in the private sector and digital campaigning, I have formed a comprehensive method that I believe is more effective and cost-effective than any other general digital strategy.
You’ll notice a lack of detail in certain key areas — rest assured, this is completely intentional and required to keep proprietary information between me and my clients. If you have any questions at all, please feel free to contact me.
DATA ACQUISITION & ANALYSIS
Americans live on the web, and their digital lives produce almost unfathomable amounts of data. To date, that data has primarily been used to sell them things, or — in recent years — to try to trick them. We need only to look at 2016 and the work of manipulative “data firms” that worked unethically to get personal data from users and to deliver them pointed misinformation.
Genuine data acquisition has no need for underhanded tactics. We have found that, when asked honestly and sincerely, digital users not only offer relevant data, but the data they provide is far superior in quality to anything that can be gotten through illegal methods. That, combined with strategic gathering of user-permitted publicly-available data, a complete and thorough digital voter profile can be built of a large majority of Americans, and that leads to powerful analysis.
Data analysis is itself an art. To read hundreds and thousands of lines of raw information and to mold that into usable pieces of a content strategy plan requires a team of experts — people much smarter than me. So I go find them, work with them in full confidentiality, and from there, I lead the development of target-content strategies.
In the entire data acquisition and analysis process, the utmost care is put into data privacy. We assume that the user trusts us, and we have no desire to betray that trust. All messages transferred in this process and beyond is fully encrypted and double-secured through passwords and real-time verification.
This is where things get exciting. Once the requisite data has been acquired, and after that data is analyzed thoroughly, I create what are called target-content strategies.
Target in this case means a certain common-interest group, who have indicated an openness to hearing messages relevant to their political concerns. The needs of, say, a parent of schoolchildren, from their political representatives may be vastly different than the needs of a retiree. While both benefit from good government, they may not particularly care about many of the same issues. To speak directly to voters, this model identifies “targets,” backed by data, for the most relevant messaging. Target-content in this context means content created for the particular group.
The strategy in Target-Content Strategy comes in when identifying and planning out the narrative arc. As people are storytelling creatures, a simple statement of fact rarely resonates even a fraction of what a story does — and every candidate is, in essence, a story. Whether that story is one that the constituent would like to see continue or completed is theirs to decide, but the target-content strategy ensures that the message is delivered to them with the highest relevance possible, in their own terms, in the way they like to hear, see, and experience stories.
This phase is a major distinction between this overarching method and all others — there are plenty of firms that gather and analyze data. There are even some who can advise as to what content should be produced (though often too much from the scientific-analytic point and not from the emotional-political). The innovation here is that the content is produced in the same thread, avoiding that far too prevalent messaging sin of inauthentic content that comes about from a detachment between data, planning, and production.
A little background for context: my career began in filmmaking, producing a mix of corporate, commercial, and narrative/fictional content. Later, I attained training and robust experience in web design and development. I had been involved in politics and government for many years before either of these pursuits, but the election of 2016 realigned all my endeavors into politics.
So the content I produce now is rooted in the fundamentals of narrative and storytelling, enhanced by a through understanding of user experience and research, and completed with a keen sense of political messaging. This means the products I make — or, for larger projects, lead a team to make — is honest due to the need to tell a moving story, effective because it is based on cutting-edge user experience research and practice, and strategically powerful due to its consistency with and awareness of campaign objectives.
Good, effective content can sometimes be attained through dumb luck. Good, effective content is always attained through testing. Through a combination of direct user testing, digital focus groups, passive surveys, traditional A/B testing, and a set of proprietary testing routes, an utmost importance in the method is placed on making sure content resonates or, simply, works before we put money behind it and send it out to the world.
As a rule: there are no tears shed over spilled milk and all darlings are — ahem — mortal. If a content is simply not testing well, then we move on to the next idea and, more uncommonly, go back to the drawing board. To make up for this commitment to making sure we have strong content, my team and I move quickly.
Once the data has been gathered and analyzed, and the overall target-content strategy has been defined, and the content produced and tested, then comes the time to roll back the curtains. The problem is, in the status quo, rolling back the curtains comes with a lot of financial waste. We worked in the Phillips Campaign to reduced CPMs (cost per thousand impressions) by double-digit percents. With half the cost you can reach twice the audience with the same budget. Or better yet, you can increase the impression frequency per person, which would lead to higher CTRs (click-through rates) and lower CPCs (costs-per-click). All that starts with lowering CPM costs and I have developed a proprietary formula to achieving the most cost-effective CPMs for digital campaigns.
Without revealing too much, the formula relies on technology that didn’t exist even two years ago to leverage secondary ad buys and real time bidding through programmatic advertising channels, as well as platform-specific strategies for walled garden venues, such as Google, Facebook, and, increasingly, Amazon. Is your head spinning a little? Go ahead and contact me so I parse all that apart for you!
Too often, digital campaigning methods either gloss over or skip entirely what may be the most important question: did that work? In the rapidly changing digital sphere, circumstances are changing constantly, and any method that doesn’t put due focus on that question is likely to stop innovating, get comfortable, and rely on a handful of tricks to replace genuinely connecting the candidate to voters.
Every round of this method starts with data and ends with more data. Full performance reports hold nothing back on discussing what worked, what didn’t, and what fell into the dreaded middle of mediocrity. All these qualitative observations are backed by powerful quantitative data, which is then re-entered to the start of the method, then the new data set is re-analyzed and used to generate more content that its then tested and… and you get the idea.
Each round is thus far better than the last, and adds to the method’s overall power and cost-effectiveness. Reach out to discuss some more!