Analytics won the Election and other Hard Truths

I joke with the few family and friends I have in the analytics business and call them a bunch of “click counters.” Yet analytics as a field is shaping our lives in ways we simply do not know.

Most recently Barack Obama can thank his analytics team for a second term. It was a a socially connected ground game driven by analytics support that help to seal the White House.

In fact Mitch Stewart who directed much of the analytics team drove this point homw to campaign staffers in the eve of the election:

Our analytics team constantly evaluates our program so we can ensure these volunteers are making a difference in the conversations they have with voters, especially after graduating from our interactive trainings.

On the flip side the Romney camp, Rassmussen Polling, and American Crossroads failed to utilize analytics correctly had distorted polls and lost the White House.

This failure was especcialy true for Romney headquaters on election day. They had a voter identification and analytics machine dubbed ORCA. It was more of a beached whale then a killer whale. Politico’s MAGGIE HABERMAN and ALEXANDER BURNS report that the ORCA analytics was a disaster:

Numerous Republicans in and around the Romney campaign called the ORCA platform a total bust, stranding thousands of volunteers without a way of reporting data back to headquarters and leaving Romney central command without a clear view of developments on the ground.

Sure there were other mitigating factors that lead to the President’s win (Romney’s careening to severely conservative principles,  backfired efforts to limit access to the polls, an improving economy, etc) but 2012 was the year analytics helped to win the white house.

This why I tried to stress the issue of social networking and data driven marketing when I spoke at the Connecticut Business Educators Association Annual Conference. My basic premise was if you are not preparing business students for a world in which data drives your marketing decisions then you are not graduating students that are college and career ready.

If 2012 taught us anything it that data is everything. I attach my talk below:

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