Last week, General Assembly packed the house — both at our New York headquarters and online — for a conversation with Hillary for America’s digital strategy team. The evening focused on considering the campaign as a startup, and the conversation highlighted digital marketing lessons that strategists and entrepreneurs can use to build a responsive team.
Steph Hannon, chief technology officer, Teddy Goff, chief digital strategist, and Sara Solow, domestic policy advisor, had a lively discussion with General Assembly CEO Jake Schwartz about the realities of building tech for a startup that, as Goff noted, is “designed to go out of business in 18 months.”
The stakes are high. Because election schedule deadlines can’t be extended, leeway doesn’t exist for shipping products, such as apps designed to get out the vote in primary states. “If we don’t get something out on time, the ship will have sailed,” Hannon said.
And, in today’s dynamic tech landscape, the changes happen in real time. Goff, a veteran of President Obama’s 2008 and 2012 campaigns, reflected on digital marketing lessons from his career. He reminded us that, while campaigning in ’08, the iPhone had not yet launched, Facebook was in its relative infancy, and Twitter was in early adoption phase.
As Solow noted, campaigns once exclusively used long policy speeches to convey their message. Now, the tweet is equally as important as the policy speech. “The tweet might be the only thing that reporters see and report on,” Solow said. “Tweets force you to think about what your sound bite is.”
“What I think is most interesting is that this sort of changes the hardwiring of the voter’s brain and makes them expect a different set of experiences,” he said.
“So, if we are serving people with something that is irrelevant, boring, non-local, [or] non-participatory, they don’t have to listen to us.”
Check out our video to see the full discussion:
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