Tech Industry

Finding the most compelling uses of data and tech in politics

Moments when research contrasts intuition are the most compelling, says Daniel Scarvalone, director at Bully Pulpit Interactive.

You can watch the video interview above or read the transcript below.

Daniel Scarvalone, director at Bully Pulpit Interactive, spoke with Tech Republic's Dan Patterson about the most compelling use of data and tech in politics.

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"Were there any moments inside the campaign or later where you thought, 'Ah, that was telling. That really helps me understand where technology is going or applicable now?'" Dan Patterson asks Dan Scarvalone.

"It's a good question," Scarvalone replies. "The most compelling uses of data and technology in politics are moments where you receive a quantitative finding or you receive a piece of research which contrasts with your intuition, and you have to figure out why. There are a lot of folks who work in politics, myself included, who have strong natural intuitions about the way to run a race or the way to run a marketing campaign, and I bet there are a lot of CMOs in corporate America who think similarly.

SEE: Campaigns are catching up to the consumer: How AI is shaping the world of politics (TechRepublic)

The most rewarding, fulfilling parts of that job are the moment they get a piece of research back which have been analyzed or they're looking at an analytics report on people who've engaged with content, and something surprising is revealed. For example, seniors are the most engaged with contents on social, or they discover young people are promoting a message about brand equity.

Those are the real moments that belie an impulse and that can challenge an oft-held point of view are the most impactful. That applies on the campaign side. Right now Democrats are discovering potential receptive voters for messages not necessarily on the table in 2016. We're now racing to communicate with them in 2018, to corporate America, where they're figuring out, 'Gee, we haven't been talking about the reputation of our brand for quite some time. We haven't been talking about the work that we've been doing to help the environment, but our research is telling us that we should be, because it's what people care about.'

The real impactful moments happen when campaigns look for data to drive, as they think about marketing timelines and campaign timelines in the years to come."

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About Dan Patterson

Dan is a Senior Writer for TechRepublic. He covers cybersecurity and the intersection of technology, politics and government.

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