Campaign ramping up social media, web development, email and database skills.
Mitt Romney's digital team is taking advantage of the unofficial end to the GOP primaries by ramping up its staff of web developers and data crunchers to compete in the general election. The move solidifies the fact that the 2012 presidential election is poised to be the most digitally sophisticated race ever - on both sides.
The general election is "a very, very different enterprise and endeavor than a contested primary that is moving from state to state very quickly," said Romney campaign digital director Zac Moffatt, the first in-house digital director hired among the 2012 Republican primary campaigns. Moffatt has been part of the campaign staff for a year now.
Essentially, now that the campaign is no longer saddled with tough primary battles, budget can be allocated to general election infrastructure needs. "We are now able to find and supply the resources to be successful in that environment," Moffatt said.
The Romney campaign site lists a handful of open positions such as a social media and email writer, data analyst, and software engineer. One position requires knowledge of Salesforce software and split testing for email and text messaging campaigns, for example. When asked how many people will be added to the digital team, Moffatt would only say, "a lot." Most likely more digital boots on the ground across the country can be expected.
Many of the job ads listed feature the declaration, "The bar is rising in the political digital space."
As media evolves, even those outside the digital staff are incorporating digital tools into their work. For instance, field organizers post photos online or use Twitter hashtags, noted Moffatt.
Some may see the digital push as merely a response to President Barack Obama's digitally-savvy campaign, but Moffatt begs to differ.
"I wouldn't look at it in the political paradigm, as a reactive political maneuver," he said. "I would look at it in the paradigm of what does an organization need to do in 2012 to be successful."
The Romney camp will work as closely as possible with the Republican National Committee as the general election campaign gets into full swing. The RNC itself has enhanced its own digital capabilities with key digital hires. Execs from corporate tech and digital services firms including ShareThis and Rockfish have joined the staff to help the party vet technologies, make smarter use of data, amplify messages online, and assist the efforts of the communications, finance, and politics teams.
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Kate Kaye was Managing Editor at ClickZ News until October 2012. As a daily reporter and editor for the original news source, she covered beats including digital political campaigns and government regulation of the online ad industry. Kate is the author of Campaign '08: A Turning Point for Digital Media, the only book focused on the paid digital media efforts of the 2008 presidential campaigns. Kate created ClickZ's Politics & Advocacy section, and is the primary contributor to the one-of-a-kind section. She began reporting on the interactive ad industry in 1999 and has spoken at several events and in interviews for television, radio, print, and digital media outlets. You can follow Kate on Twitter at @LowbrowKate.
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