I just can’t help myself; I really do have to blog about the election because it really has brought about a new era in politics that will have impacts to all future generations. What I’m talking about, of course, is the use of large amounts of data and extensive analytics employed by the Obama campaign.
As reported in Time magazine, Rayid Ghani was hired by the Obama campaign to be its “chief” data scientist. Rayid had previously had experience in driving sales of supermarket goods.
For years, marketers have applied similar techniques to drive consumer behavior. They do it by collecting lots of first party information (in this case coming from campaign volunteers, web sites, etc.) along with 3rd party data (in this case, team Obama bought over 1,700 individual pieces of data on each person) to create a “voter profile”. By segmenting this data into groups and devising techniques to drive behavior, you can influence them. Marketers do this to drive sales, brand recognition, etc. Team Obama did it to drive votes and participation in the campaign.
From now on, the data will continue to grow – we now have behaviors from this election to apply to the next election. And the amount of data collected on each person will continue to grow with opportunities for 3rd parties to sell that to campaigns that have billions of dollars to spend on buying it.