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Will Donald Trump End Outsourcing In 2017?
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Lessons In Effective Email Marketing – Presidential Elections 2016
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The Art Of Winning With Websites – Presidential Elections 2016
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How Usage Of Data Significantly Influenced The Presidential Elections Of 2016
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4 Ways In Which Technology Changed Everything About Presidential Elections In 2016

With Donald Trump finally making it to Presidency, there has been a lot of turmoil and panic in countries such as India and China with the threat of ending outsourcing to these countries. At first glance, it seems quite impossible since all major American corporations have utilized this resource as a long-standing practice, outsourcing their manufacturing to  China (notably tech firms such as Apple and Hewlett-Packard) or customer service/data management jobs to India. For years, outsourcing has been the norm in the world of American corporates and now, it appears that President Trump is threatening to bring it all down. He has already started working on doing a complete overhaul of the H-1b visa system, which has left the fate of hundreds of Silicon Valley workers hanging in the balance. Among the widespread panic that it has caused, aspersions are being cast regarding the steps that would be taken with regards to putting a stop to outsourcing.

A lot of company spokespersons are trying to assuage fears by stating that it would be next to impossible because manufacturing goods in the United States would mean a hike in the cost of production (owing to monumental labor costs), and thus cutting down on worldwide profits significantly. According to Andrew Rassweiler, Director of Materials and Cost Benchmarking at IHS Technology, products like an iPhone (Apple is one of the most prominent firms to engage in outsourcing) would cost around $2000 if all its components were to be individually manufactured in the US. That, needless to say, is far beyond what most people would be able to afford. Apart from the production losses that Apple would incur, it would also lose a lot of the political goodwill it enjoys from its consumer base worldwide.

From this alone, it is clear that it would be next to impossible to put a total stop to outsourcing (or to describe the term more precisely, offshoring). However, it is definitely possible to resort to protectionism. Tariffs and import duties can easily be imposed upon Chinese-made mobiles or automobiles made in Mexico  (Ford, to be precise).  That would set the US back 100 years as far as economic development is concerned; setting aside the fact that it could likely create trade wars with countries like China. This action could create political instability worldwide. the process has already kick-started with the US, under Trump, withdrawing from the landmark Trans-Pacific Partnership that had been inked between a host of countries with the aim to lower tariff and nontariff trade barriers. On the domestic front, too, the scenario would not be too cheerful with widespread unrest owing to a 30% dip in consumer spending on electronic and other goods of daily use.

Plus, here’s another point: The “rust belt” of the United States (i.e. states such as New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan and Illinois) were the primary swing states (a few of the aforementioned ones) that voted in favor of Trump. So, it’s not surprising that his administration would rush to fulfill its promise. However, this isn’t the fifties when the bulk of the American middle class were working in the manufacturing industry as a primary livelihood. Ever since the base of manufacturing shifted to China, rust belt workers have had to find alternate ways of living.There is a portion of this society who sustain their livelihood through assistance programs such as food stamps and others have joined the service industry. It’s an unfortunate fact that workers who do not have a college education/degree aren’t in great demand any longer in the United States. With technical degrees not as highly sought after by current American college students, there is the question as to who would be able to fill the ranks of the new (technical) jobs created by automation in various fields. The only option that companies may have is to either hire from abroad and pay relocation expenses for these skilled workers  (and let’s not forget that H-1b visa is already in the eye of the storm), or simply remain to outsource them to IT hubs abroad. Forcing these companies to get back to the pre-automation period and rely on unskilled laborers is simply not possible anymore. Manufacturing is all but dead in the USA; there’s simply no demand for home-grown workers in this field anymore. Reversing this is not just difficult, but simply impossible.

What the future holds remains to be seen, but with very real and practical concerns that surround the thorny issue of outsourcing. Considering all the facts, there’s little chance it will be stopped soon. Already a lot of foreign Silicon Valley professionals are boarding flights back to their home countries because of the new measures were taken regarding the H-1b. If outsourcing is targeted next, Trump will surely risk his credibility and respect as a president, and may possibly even have to contend with the threat of being impeached due to corporate lobbies alone in Congress who may push for his removal.

‘Emails’ – was included in a recent article, “5 words that explain 2016.” This probably isn’t surprising. If you have been following the presidential elections, you might agree with how Bernie Sanders aptly surmised, “The American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn emails.”

Let’s talk about the effect of emails on this year’s election. Before we lose all your interest, rest assured that we are not going into another relentless analysis of how the Clinton Email scandal, and it’s dizzying coverage, shaped the results of the election. We are instead going to talk about emails that silently changed the course of the election.

Email has become the gatekeeper of our online identity. Think of it this way, how many forms and services do we sign up for by inputting our email? This has made email, if used correctly, one of the most efficient marketing tools of any industry, as is clearly reflected in our survey data.

– Marcel Becker, Core Product Director at AOL

Despite unprecedented access to sophisticated digital machinery, emails were still a very important tool in the arsenal of almost all candidates. It still stands poised as arguably the fastest, most effective way to reach a large demographic. More importantly, it’s noninvasive. People make a conscious effort to open an email and read through it at a time when it’s convenient to them.

If political campaigns can work with emails through their rigorous and real time TATs (Turn Around Time), we should be learning a thing or two from them. Let’s have a look at the kind of patterns that emerged from the presidential candidates trying to leverage emails to their advantage.

#1 Keeping It Personal

Keeping emails personal happen on many levels. Though many experts think that the presidential candidates missed a lot of opportunities when it came to personalization, they still hit a lot of the right points at a lot of right places.

Both the Clinton and Trump campaigns made sure that their emails appeared to be coming from a  specific person, be it the candidates themselves or their surrogates, making them appear to be a personal email. The Trump campaign also used the first name of the recipient to address all emails, following the best practices of email marketing.

Another level of personalization came from using data to micro-target demographics. Data gave both the campaigns a detailed understanding of small groups in demographics. They used it real time to frame their content, for their design and their CTA’s (Call To Action).

#2 Keep Them Guessing

We all know the importance of subject lines and their role in click rates. The campaigns understood this as well. They made sure that most of their emails had subject lines that were intriguing.

For example:

The best Trump performers, during the period of Sept. 20 to Oct. 20, was an email marketing campaign with the subject line, “American Won Last Night,” deployed on Oct. 10. Following the second debate, the emails reached an audience of 2.4 million, with an inbox rate of 61 percent and a 28 percent read rate.

Source: DMN

The best-deployed email marketing campaign for the Hillary Campaign, between Sept. 20 and Oct. 20., read in the subject line: “Sorry to send this.” Launched hours after the leaked tapes of Trump’s groping remarks, it reached 2.5 million people and produced an inbox rate of 90 percent and a read rate of 24 percent.

Source: DMN

#3 Keep It Urgent

A noticeable strategy being used, particularly by the Trump Campaign, involves evoking a sense of urgency.

An article on not imperative notes, “Per week, 40% of Trump emails referenced the number of days left until the election. This is further augmented by use of emphatic subject lines such as, ‘We’re Being Overrun’ and ‘I’m fighting for YOU.’”

Here is some valuable insight from the overall email marketing campaigns of elections 2016.

cn_blog_050117-1

Make the best use of email marketing for your brand by personalizing your content, and micro-targeting your audience. To know more, contact us at http://www.capitalnumbers.com/contact_us.php

Legend has it that the presidential race between Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy pivoted on a single night. September 26th, 1960, for the first time ever, a presidential debate was broadcasted on national television

“What happened after the two candidates took the stage is a familiar tale. Nixon, pale and underweight from a recent hospitalization, appeared sickly and sweaty, while Kennedy appeared calm and confident. As the story goes, those who listened to the debate on the radio thought Nixon had won. …Those that watched the debate on TV thought Kennedy was the clear winner. Many say Kennedy won the election that night.”

~ TIME

Fifty-six years hence, television is no longer a game changer, but the powerful influence of technology over presidential campaigns and communications has only progressively increased.

That exponential growth is evident when we look at the role of websites within the presidential campaigns.

Despite their different stances on issues and their widely different personalities, we must acknowledge that both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump had eyes on the same prizes.  They wanted to raise funds, gather and influence potential voters, and then ultimately drive them to the polls, where voters would choose them over their rivals. Arguably one of the major ways in which they sought to gain these prizes was through their websites.

Websites are the backbone of any and all content strategy in the digital world. Like brands, candidates treat their websites as extensions of their personalities, their promises, their claims, their wishes and their ultimate message to voters. Studying the websites of candidates is thus heavily beneficial to those who are looking to catch scalable and sustainable trends in online marketing.

Let’s have a look at the potent ways in which both candidates got creative with their websites

Audience Sets the Rules

Even though the bare structure of the websites of both Clinton and Trump are similar, they are still distinguishably different. You don’t need to be an expert to figure out what is different. You just need to look at them carefully.

Clinton capitalizes on fun, vibrant design and sophisticated functionality, specifically directed towards the younger progressive audience that she was trying to appeal to.

Trump, on the other hand, plays around with bold ideas and classic themes – directly in sync with the conservative audience that he was appealing to.

From the color selection to the font, to the linguistics – every little thing on each website is a reflection of the demographic that the candidates wanted to speak to the most. Audience data, knowledge about demographics and regular engagement also evoked real time changes in the websites of both candidates.

UX Is the New Handsome

The campaign experience is much more complicated now. It’s relentless, persistent and exhausting.  In the past, it was about candidates speaking to the public in person or on TV, but now it is that and much more. The campaign experience is now twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. The candidates speak to the public all the time, through social media, through television, through distributed content, through appearances, through their choices of allies and even through their clothing choices. All of this information and experience is calibrated and culminates into the website.

The user experience of the website is as important now as for how looking good on TV was in previous times and the campaigns are well aware of this. Clinton, for example, sports a website that’s built with mobile-first best practices. Its contextual navigation helps tell an engaging story. Trump’s website is mobile responsive as well. On top of this, it’s lightning quick because it’s primarily text and isn’t as populated with multimedia content such as his rival website. It may not be as enjoyable from the modern web perspective, but it works with its audience. The results stand as a testament.

A Tool That Changes Shape

Everything about the presidential race was about being efficient and effective. Any need for changes was recognized, acknowledged and implemented within a matter of hours. That same process was reflected on the website. So, it’s natural that these websites were agile and quite scalable. The most interesting part about this was how the website platforms were used to churn out the most engaging and interesting content. For example, Clinton used her website homepage as a real-time fact checker during the first debate with Donald Trump in an effort to combat, what the Clinton team felt, was Trump’s ways of evading the truth. You can also check out the Birthday Chronicles that her team created on Clinton’s 67th Birthday. The tool engaged users by telling them to celebrate Hillary’s birthday by seeing what she was doing the year they were born.

There are much more highlights of websites, like the great integration of social media and clear line CTA’s (Call To Action) of both campaigns as well as the websites of the candidates who didn’t make it to the general elections. They implemented some of the best ways to achieve their targets and goals. 

“There is a level of sophistication and knowledge about the electorate in battleground states that just gets advanced every four years.”

– Mr. Plouffe

The 2016 presidential election showed that the use of data to identify, persuade and turn out voters has become increasingly nuanced and sophisticated. All roads lead to the White House, and all routes were carved by data.

Quite literally, right from the primaries, most presidential candidates used data analytics to chalk out their respective maps of the race. Then, you may ask, how did data about the same electorate tell different stories to each presidential candidate? It’s a valid question and, quite simply, the essence of data science.

If you are a marketer who is interested in figuring out how best to use data to leverage your position and campaigns, then the presidential elections of 2016 is one of the best case studies from which you can learn the do’s and don’ts from.

Let’s bring into focus the lessons that are as relevant for any marketing campaign as they were for the presidential campaigns.

#1 Data May Be Accurate, but It Can Still Be Subject to Human Flaws

Hillary Clinton’s campaign was proudly data driven. It generated dizzying coverage from tech and political enthusiasts alike. It was sci-fi(ish), to the extent that they used terms like “cost per flappable delegate”. The Clinton Campaign took the concept of micro-targeting to a level of exquisite art.

So, when she lost, the backlash over the data was swift and ruthless. Over-dependency on data was ridiculed, data did not fail; the human beings who analyzed it failed. The colossal collapse of most polls showed us how personal biases can percolate into sample biases, bad survey designs as well as several other loopholes that can ultimately paint an untrue picture.

#2 We Should Live in the Moment, Not the Past

Cambridge Analytica, the firm which informed key decisions on Donald Trump’s campaign travel, communications, and resource allocation – put out an articulate, yet the abstract explanation of how they went on to achieve the impossible.

One of the unique things that they emphasized is a real-time collection of audience data and quick response to it. They really believe (and it’s very plausible) that this gave them an unrivaled insight into where the race stood every day, as well as giving them fresh information to add to its commercial and demographic data.

#3 Marriage Between All Kinds of Data Nets You the Winner

In an article from what feels like a prehistoric era now, May of 2013, Wired magazine gave us a simple formula:

Big Data + Social Data = Your Next President

They hit the nail on the head. The winning campaign apparently benefited a lot from fully integrated teams carrying out research, data science, and digital marketing. In fact, as the Cambridge Analytica proclaims, “Their workflow created a circular learning process. Field surveys directly influenced the data modeling. In turn, it built audiences for digital marketing, TV ads, mail and other engagement. Field research then tested the effectiveness of voter targeting, which adapted and improved accordingly. This circular process meant the campaign was constantly learning and improving its outreach.”

These are exciting times for data, but numbers are what we make them be, and the presidential elections are just one of the many testaments to that. If out of all lessons, there’s one that we would strongly preach, it would be about the need for data science to be client specific. A proper understanding of history, premise and context are imperative in building a watertight data informing system.

“Did the internet elect the president?”

As absurd as this may sound – this is no doubt an actual headline of an article by CNN – and to be clear they are not at all far off from the truth.

Even if we are to strip the phenomena of its political – social ramifications (which is sort of impossible, but we shall try to give it an objective view), this statement still manages to tickle our intrigue beyond measure.

It’s because you can’t help but notice the striking parallels between presidential campaigning and brand marketing – as in essence, both processes are about enabling and ensuring that your audience gets your message loud and clear – which propels them to take the kind of action that you’d like them to.

“There’s really not that much of a difference between politics and regular marketing,” an unnamed senior official of the Trump Campaign told Bloomberg’s Joshua Green and Sasha Issenberg.

US Elections have always been on the radar of marketers per say; from the first televised ad campaign back in 1952 to Barack Obama’s unprecedented use of social media in 2008, US Presidential races have always seen candidates leverage the latest technology to reach more and more prospective voters.

4 years is a lot of time when you consider technological advancements – so no one would be surprised if we are to talk about the deeper penetration of technology and more dependence on technology now more than ever – but the trends and effects we noticed in 2016 were a lot more than just that.

As mentioned earlier, the tools that were being used rampantly are hardly surprising, but the art of their deployment, the levels of execution and the unprecedented effects left the world stunned.

Let’s talk about 3 ways in which technology helped change the presidential race in irrevocable ways:

Technology created illusionary worlds

If you are a Donald Trump supporter, you strongly believed your candidate was going to win.

If you are a Hillary Clinton supporter, you strongly believed that your candidate was going to win.

If you are a Bernie Sanders supporter, you strongly believed that your candidate was wronged in the Democratic primaries and had a real shot at winning if given a chance.

If you are a third party voter, you strongly believed that you are on the right side of history by not compromising on your ethics and had valid reasons to vote for candidates who couldn’t in any way win.

The thing is, all the above situations, though not mutually exclusive were still processed as mutually exclusive facts. How did that happen? Well, the answer’s simple. Social Media and Search algorithms that are designed to show you ‘optimized results’ / ‘best results’ / ‘results that you formed virtual echo chambers around people. They constantly got their beliefs and prejudices validated and they constantly met people who were thinking the same and saying the same. So people were literally living in their own worlds, and they didn’t even know.

Technology helped find facts and delusions

Extensive write-ups, discussions, debates – on policies, issues, past stances of all candidates were readily available. In fact, when up against a candidate who can easily evade truth – Hillary Clinton turned her own website into a fact checker during the presidential debates – that fact checked what both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton said real time. So, arguably this has been the most transparent election ever.

But, not everything written on the internet is “true” – and not everyone knows that. The technology the great democratizer let everyone publish anything they wanted to – and that was a boon and a bane. While even ordinary people could genuinely publish what they see and feel along the course of the election – several fake news sites worked in tandem to populate the web with fabricated stories that hurt the candidates. These stories conveniently found their way into the feeds of 62% of US populace who depend on social media to find their news.

So people had the facts, and they had fake news. What tilted their vote completely came down to the particular individual.

Technology fell short

This election saw a deluge of data – data were used for everything. Right from deciding on communication tones, to the way in which the candidates dressed and how they super targeted ads.

There was so much precise data that painted such comprehensive pictures that most candidates could easily sort out sets and carve their communication around them. Each candidate thus had a clear view and a clear path of how they could win all of the diverse groups in a country like America.

There was so many data and yet not enough. Because polls collapsed right and center when it came to their predicting the tide of the election, they were not even close. How did they fail so miserably? The reason maybe the wrong choice of samples and subjects, dishonest participation, wrong analysis and a combination of all – pollsters are still trying to wrap their heads around, though – as to how they could be completely wrong.

This was a macro view of how technology shaped the perception and conversation in the Presidential Elections 2016. But we would do this topic no justice if we don’t delve in detail.

So we would be talking about this in a series of blogs where we explore Impact of Social Media, Big Data and Advertising Tech on the election – where we are planning to wrap our talking points under the following heads: Amount spent, innovative strategies used, historical contexts and future trends.

Stay tuned for more!

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