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Goodstein in TIME – Former Obama Tech Expert: Democrats Need a Competitive Primary

Revolution Messaging founder and former Obama for America External Online Director Scott Goodstein published the following article on TIME.com

Democrats risk falling behind Republicans on technology

For much of our nation’s history, there have been insiders who aimed to quash competition within political parties. Even today, far too many party elites seem to think uncontested primaries are better. However, competitive primaries force an evolution of organizing models and new technologies that benefits campaigns and the public. The lack of a vibrant primary in 2016 would put Democrats at risk of falling behind Republicans in bringing technology to bear on campaign strategy — and that would be a big loss for both Democrats and the country.

In 2007 and 2008, Barack Obama’s stiffest competition was Hillary Clinton. Competing against Clinton — a household name, a former first lady, and a well-respected senator — as a first-termer with a name like Barack Obama was truly daunting. When you have an uphill battle, you are going to get creative, and that’s what we did. As part of his early campaign team, we had to get a new and different set of voters to the polls. We needed to find younger voters who would be motivated by Obama’s message. And for the first time in a presidential primary, that meant using social media and sending messages directly to voters’ cell phones.

Back then, social media was seen as a fun new fad that kids were playing with — not as an organizing tool. Facebook had been open to non-college students for less than a year, and MySpace was in its prime. With each tool, we were able to target different voting blocks. We used Facebook mostly for reaching college-educated people, college students, and super-local groups. On MySpace we targeted young voters, military families (it was an easy way to communicate between military members overseas and family members back home), Silicon Valley techies, the entertainment industry, and women over 35.

Over the course of the primaries, having multiple digital teams experimenting with new techniques pushed each campaign to become better and evolve more quickly. And, quite frankly, we enjoyed the challenge.

In Iowa, we experimented to see if setting up a statewide MySpace page would return new volunteers. In Nevada, we built rapid-response interactive voice hotlines and text-messaging tools that reinvented the process for dealing with election violations. In South Carolina, we launched two-way text messages on canvasses to see how we could better tether canvassers to their local headquarters. On Super Tuesday, we created separate MySpace and Facebook groups to empower Obama supporters to self-organize, kept in touch with our hard-core base on Twitter, and used the social networking tool Eventful to send surrogates to rallies and build crowds quickly. In the late primaries, we tested new ways to engage young voters by combining offline advertising and point-of-purchase display advertising with text-messaging and toll-free hotlines that provided additional information.

By the time the general election arrived, we were wielding more powerful tools with a known return on investment. We even built our own social media site (MyBO) for supporters and volunteers. All of that work during the primaries put the party in a stronger position for the general election. It also enabled Democratic firms and private-sector partners at social media sites to build more and more robust tools in the years that followed to allow candidates to engage with voters and vice versa. These advancements put Democrats at a serious advantage over the competition — and none of these advances would have been realized if not for a hotly contested primary.

So what will we be missing if the Republicans have a debated primary and the Democrats don’t? Their candidates and campaigns will get better at giving a rehearsed stump speech and answering questions at debates and fish fries. But the lost opportunities would go far beyond that.

There is no question that Republicans are catching up when it comes to putting technology to work on the campaign trail — a competitive Democratic primary would allow us to stay out in front. We can pressure-test the new advances in ad-technology and mobile marketing by experimenting in each state primary with real deadlines and real results. Can hyper-geo-fencing different messages affect turnout on an election day? Can Democratic campaigns better divide their resources between direct-mail universes, walkable precincts and geo-fenced ads in gated-communities that can’t be canvassed? Can connected TV be integrated in a campaign’s field and in fundraising efforts?

While the political results of a candidate who isn’t battle-tested are well known, the lasting effects from failing to evolve our political technology could not only put us at a disadvantage in 2016, but also put Democrats behind for years to come.


2015 Predictions and 2014 Favorites

Last year, Revolution Messaging Partner and resident soothsayer, Arun Chaudhary, followed up on his amazing prediction for 2013 (Bill de Blasio would be elected Mayor of NYC), with another prescient prognostication that “Ukranian opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko will be freed in 2014.”

Unfortunately, not all the forecasts were quite as flawless (looking at you, Sam Lozier): “Wisconsin, Ohio and Florida will elect new Democratic Governors.” But one thing is for sure; the conjecture coming from the crystal ball this year has something for everyone.

Take a look at Revolution Messaging’s 2015 Predictions and 2014 Favorites at http://2015.revolutionmessaging.com/

When you’re done, share your predictions and favorites for the year ahead on our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/revmsg

Predictions


Revolution Messaging Launches Revere: A New Revolution in Rapid Response

Revolution Messaging Launches Revere: A New Revolution in Rapid Response
Obama Veterans Bring the Next Generation of Technology & Analytics to 2014 Campaigns

Washington, D.C. — On Thursday, April 24, 2014, Revolution Messaging launched Revere: a new revolution in rapid response. Developed by former advisors to President Obama and the team behind Webby-nominated Drunk Dial Congress,Revere brings the winning technology and data strategies from the Obama campaign to issue and political campaigns up and down the ballot.

“As it becomes harder and harder to reach people in their congested digital life, Revere helps campaigns break through the clutter and better engage supporters,” said Scott Goodstein, founder of Revolution Messaging and former external online director for the Obama campaign.

Revere includes the following services – all in one easy to use platform:
— online and mobile ads
— texting
— calling: integrated voice, click to call
— news clipping rapid response tool
— customized link shortener with tracking

No other vendors in this space offer all of these services in a single platform –plus the data from all of these services is integrated to drive a more powerful campaign and rapid response operation. Select services start as low as $99/ month.

Revere gives campaigns the expertise they need to precisely target political audiences in ways never before possible. With more voter data than ever before, Revere can reach the right people, at the right place and the right time. It allows microtargeting of very specific demographics and geographies – down to commuters on a specific bus route playing games on mobile phones.

“Whether it’s online and mobile ads, texting, calling or rapid response, many political campaigns have been held back by lack of expertise in cutting edge technology and analytics — or were priced out of the market,” added Goodstein. “Revere solves this problem by bringing the expertise campaigns need at the price they can afford in one easy to use platform.”

Members of the media are invited to join campaigners at the launch event tonight to experience the revolution. Check out event details and preview video atRevereHQ.com. 

Background on Revere: 

Revere Exchange – Advertising

Americans are spending more screen time with their smartphones, tablets and laptops than their TVs, but political advertisers are behind the curve. Revere Exchange gives campaigns the expertise they need to precisely target political audiences in ways never before possible. Reach the right people, at the right place and the right time  — at the price your campaign can afford.

  • Target custom audiences with advertising using voter file and consumer data
  • Revere Exchange is the only platform that works with all progressive data vendors to provide you with a reach no other vendor can provide. Reach over 162 million registered voters
  • The first self-serve platform to target political audiences using cookie, IP and mobile targeting
  • Match your own data and create audiences in Revere Exchange
  • Reach your audience when you want to, on any digital device they use, then retarget them to generate more actions
  • Revolution Messaging monitors your buys to ensure maximum deliverability and to safeguard against fraud
  • Revolution Messaging leads the industry in fighting spam and fraud in political advertising and are the only political technology company that is a member of the IAB (Interactive Advertising Bureau)

Revere Calling – Interactive Voice

Meticulous targeting and analytics aren’t just for ads. Operating an effective calling campaign requires the ease and accountability of an interactive voice system that targets the right callers and connects them with their appropriate official. Shutting down the switchboard is okay, but campaigns need to know their message is reaching the right officials at the right time.

  • Our easy-to-use calling platform enables you to set up toll-free or local telephone numbers for driving supporters to members of Congress or any of the 50 State Legislatures
  • Revere Calling is an all purpose tool for using phone calls to generate actions
  • Our technology ensures your supporters are directed to their legislator, not the switchboard
  • Accurately measure the effectiveness of your outreach and allows you to learn what is driving the most calls to your targets
  • We provide easy to set up toll-free numbers or click-to-call forms for your website
  • Screen Actor Guild voice recordings for exact pronunciation of every legislator

Revere Mobile – Two-Way SMS

When is the last time you saw a 95% open rate on an action email? Smart texting helps your message get in front of your target audience’s eyes faster and more effectively than email.

  • Reach your supporters directly on their cell phone with an action rate five times higher than email
  • Combine SMS with social channels to get your message heard
  • Incorporate data from other Revere Platforms and 3rd Party Integrations to send the right message at the right time
  • The most flexible data structure combined with the fastest messaging of any SMS platform makes for the ultimate in rapid response. Send messages more than ten times faster than other text message platforms.

Revere Social – Push Clips Further

Today’s campaigns need to be quick and nimble to squash attacks and share important developments. There is a faster, easier, cheaper way to spread the word and incite action.

  • A faster, easier and cheaper way to compile news clips for your campaign or organization’s rapid response efforts
  • Send news clips over email and text message
  • Give supporters a way to take action and share positive news through social media, while fighting against mis-truths or inaccurate reporting
  • Data on the actions your supporters take can be used for optimization of messaging

Revere Direction  – Better Custom Links

Know who is sharing your news effectively and use that data to drive a more powerful campaign — all while branding and shortening your links.

  • Set up the domain of your choice as a URL shortener
  • Track platform & browser statistics across the Revere Suite
  • Tag traffic through all shortened URLs or through specific shortened URLs for retargeted advertising
  • Track referrers, platforms, browsers and individuals

Revere Sync – Data Hub

Drive a more powerful campaign with integrated analytics — from phone to text to links to ads.

  • Sync is the data hub for rapid response
  • Sync connects all actions taken in Revere Suite with websites and apps built by Revolution Messaging
  • Integrates with NGP VAN, BSD, Salsa and many others to ensure your data is available on the platforms you need for digital success
  • Implementation Open Supporter Data Interface coming soon
  • Couple this with integrations to the leading, progressive CRM and email platforms and your campaign or organization has the edge necessary for victory

Facebook Wets Its Mobile Toes

Facebook has been all over the news recently, but this time the world’s largest social media network’s revenue model will directly impact the mobile marketing world. Using location technology, Facebook has joined the mobile advertising world that allows us to target users with real-time data based on their geographic location. And because more than 200 million people access Facebook via their mobile phone, this advance in technology will directly affect you.

Research to date has already indicated that Facebook mobile ad targeting will change the marketing game. Click-throughs seem to be more effective than on desktop computers, and the geo-targeting will customize ads to each individual. Facebook is certainly at the forefront of the ad technology, and we feel it has the potential to revolutionize the marketing world. You can now target an ad only to Spanish speakers in Washington, D.C who are reading through their Facebook news feed while walking down the street (we all know we do it). The possibilities are seemingly endless with this Facebook development. At Revolution Messaging, we have been conducting extremely successful mobile advertising campaigns since the fight for health care reform in 2009, and we have been eagerly waiting a Facebook mobile advertising option.

Initial research shows that Facebook mobile marketing is also financially beneficial. Ad Age research delivered the news that mobile ads had an average 0.79% click-through-rate versus an overly optimistic 0.32% for PC-only ads with various types of placement. Much like other mobile ads, the higher click-through means your ad budget can be stretched further.

In addition to this ad targeting program, Facebook’s recent acquisition of Face.com (for a mere $50 million or so) will make the social media network even more tech savvy and appealing to users and advertisers. This acquisition may finally help Facebook figure out how to help people tag mobile uploaded photos, something that people currently can’t easily do. Without this option made easy, Facebook misses out on alerting people they were tagged in a photo, which is then missing out on people immediately visiting their Facebook page wherever they are to find out more. And when they visit their Facebook app on their mobile phone, it is one more chance that they will be served your mobile ad. Facebook is working towards the right combination of technology to make sure their presence on mobile is as integrated and advanced as possible.