The difference between shouting to a group and speaking intimately with an individual.

During this tumultuous 2008 election year here in the States one hears the cry, “Drill, baby, drill!” with increasing frequency. And while this cry is about drilling for oil, there is another type of drilling that is changing everything from how elections are run to how soap is marketed. Let’s call it digital drilling.

In the article entitled, “It Worked For Bush“, the story is told of how traditional campaigning was turned upside down by what might be called database marketing…but that term seems inadequately quaint within this context. It’s more than database marketing, it is more accurately digital drilling because it drills down from a huge data cloud right to your doorstep.

“The pollsters also looked in the wrong places. On election day, every exit poll showed a clear Kerry lead. Yet the polls were wrong, because they were wrong in the weightings they gave to different socioeconomic groups and in the assumptions they made about who would turn out to vote. The Bush team had, in effect, destroyed all the methodology on which polling and electoral analysis had been based for the past 50 years.”

Let’s take a look at how this was done,
The ability to digitally store and archive massive amounts of raw data.
The growth in the quantity and quality of multi-sourced consumer information.
The ability to link multiple data islands.
The analytical power to search and discover new, meaningful patterns and relationships of strategic and tactical value.

This begs the question who did this and how did they do it? TargetPoint Consulting was the company that did this work for the Bush campaign and they describe how, what they call MicroTargeting, completely changes the game:

Why Now?
“In a word: technology. Campaigns have always collected data on their voters, and there have always been mounds of census data, polling crosstabs and voter registration files. Unfortunately, that data was in most cases wholly insufficient to get the job done, or too large and complex for anything more than rough approximations, oversimplified target lists, and statistically insignificant intuition. Technological developments have brought desperately needed depth and clarity to our formerly flat and hazy perception of individual voters.

By using hundreds of data points, comprised of voter information, life cycle information, life style information, financial data, consumer behavior, geographic data, and political attitudes and preferences, MicroTargeting can be used to segment each of your voters into one of a number of mutually exclusive groups, each defined by a unique combination of a host of data points.”

Irrespective of your political inclinations, the issue of digital drilling is an interesting one. And if you are a marketer, the interest is more than a passing one because in a post-broadcast world there is a difference between shouting to a group and speaking intimately with an individual. And motivating them to action.

Digital drilling may help you do that.


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