The recent presidential election put a terabyte-sized spotlight on social media and the value of customer intelligence. Although President Obama leaned heavily on digital marketing to guide his path to victory in 2008, social networks played an even larger role in this year's election, and for good reason. While there were 40 million Facebook users in 2008, today there are over 160 million, representing almost the entire U.S. voting population. Millions of Facebook users generate a whole lot of useful data, and data is what cinched the election this year.
Both Obama and Romney - heck, even Roseanne Barr - incorporated social networking into their campaigns, but the Obama camp's razor focus on social marketing technology and harnessing social media insights led him to victory. The Obama campaign headquarters in Chicago famously had a floor full of geeks and number crunchers - the largest data team in election history, by all accounts - developing algorithms to build profiles of the audiences his campaign needed to reach. The granular data pulled from social media was merged with offline data and pulled into multi-touch campaigns that reached the voter base in critical swing states and undoubtedly gave his ballot count and campaign budget a healthy boost.
You're probably not running for president, but social data isn't just for elections, and it doesn't take a floor full of quants to make the data work for you, either. The data you can harvest from social networks can inform your business decisions, and help win you customers, too. Here are three lessons you can learn from the social media election of 2012:
Social networks are the one venue that allows for customer expression and interaction to take place in real time, mirroring the real-life fluctuation of influence, interest, and opinion. The granular data that can be harvested can tell you a lot about your fans, your prospective customers, your competitors, and so much more. The election started out being all about the economy, but at the end, it was clear it was all about the data. Don't miss out on the opportunity to win by ignoring the customer intelligence at your fingertips. This is data you can use to find real market success.
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Dilip is CEO and co-founder of Compass Labs. He previously led Google's mobile ads business and ran PayPal's risk and fraud management, financial services, and compliance. Dilip has co-founded and led two successful start-up companies -CashEdge and CommerceSoft - after stints at McKinsey and Goldman Sachs. Dilip has an MBA from the Harvard Business School, M.S. in electrical engineering from Rice University, and a B.Tech in electrical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras.
December 12, 2013
1:00pm ET / 10:00am PT