Data driven campaigning: The power to influence

Having the ability to act on the right information at the right time is critical to any campaign. Data is more widely available now than ever before, but you don’t need a data scientist on your team to start making use of it.

Hyper-targeted campaigning – where you customize your messaging down to the individual – sounds like a lot of work, but the tools are widely and publicly available. Facebook Custom Audiences, for example, enable you to merge the data you own about your stakeholders, with the data they have shared with Facebook. You can then use these various data points to identify individuals down to a granular level. Taking appropriate action on this increased understanding of your audience requires two things: time and a clear strategy about what you want them to do.

Tailoring your campaign to the individual

Targeting individuals often works best when you offer a clear choice. For example, the Brexit campaign’s data team was incredibly successful because not only did they use an analytics suite designed to find and target niche audiences, they then analysed their audience’s psychology and gave them a real, binary choice that spoke to their individual needs. The campaign spoke to myriad disaffected audiences and offered them the opportunity to steer their future for a fleeting moment. Which is why the data agency from the Brexit campaign, Cambridge Anaytica, now also works for Donald Trump; a campaign that has been equally unique in its dogged hunt to provide a choice, rather than a version.

Whether you agree with them or not, it’s essential to learn from the campaigns in action all around you. If you have ever sat in on NCVO’s Certificate in Campaigning, you will know that this is the best way to get a head start – and start running more influential campaigns.

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Sarah Gilbert Sarah Gilbert is an experienced campaigner. She is an independent consultant and runs projects for NCVO on campaigning and influencing, including the Certificate in Campaigning and Leadership in Campaigns. She also coaches campaigners, has guest lectured for Roehampton University, and is a member of the advisory board for the University of Westminster's MA in Campaigning, Communications and Media. Sarah sits on the Campaigning Effectiveness Advisory Board and writes blogs, articles and tweets about how to influence people and the sector’s role in campaigning.

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