Who REALLY won on election night
Forget about the candidates running for office during the recent elections. The big winners were the campaign numbers-crunchers and data-miners who, thanks to technology and social media, were able to target get-out-the-vote efforts with pinpoint accuracy.
Also taking a victory lap was statistician super-freak Nate Silver of the New York Times’ 538 blog. His successful formula for taking daily state polling data to predict an Obama Electoral College victory proved to be extremely accurate. He got all 50 states correct… no one else did that.
It was indeed a triumph for math and data, as many of the pundits are saying. That lesson also applies to brands and businesses looking to jump-start their marketing goals.
Much has already been written about the wonkery at work for President Obama’s campaign. The New York Times has a nice wrap-up here on how the Obama/Biden 2012 campaign merged mobile and web technologies with traditional door-knocking and phone calls to find likely supporters and urge them to the polls. Especially telling is the increase in Facebook usage from 2008 to 2012: Obama zoomed from 2 million “likes” four years ago to 33 million for his re-election. The president’s campaign also wrote its own software and used Amazon Web Services for cloud hosting.
Developers writing customized software volunteered information being mined on social media, the use of mobile devices to go where the people are… any of this sound familiar to you digital marketers?
2012 was the year that social media went mainstream in the business world. 2013 is predicted by some to be the Year of Big Data—as companies take the information being volunteered to them by consumers on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and online comments and use it to fine-tune marketing and branding campaigns. This has, of course, always been the promise of digital advertising, and it’s one of the few aspects of Facebook’s developing business model that still holds promise for the social network’s heretofore-disappointed investors. Customizing the message for each consumer, targeting those shoppers based on what a potential customer likes, giving them the chance to communicate with the brand, making sure that message can reach them while they’re out and about—all of that will be powered by raw data.
The companies that figure out the right ways to use that data will rake in customer votes—and it will be competitors that have to work on concession speeches.