Rahaf Harfoush is an expert on technology’s impact on business, education, and government. In 2008, she was a part of the Obama campaign’s social media team. Recently, Harfoush is the Associate Director of the Global Cooperation Initiative at the World Economic Forum.
Rahaf is a new media specialist and has worked with numerous corporations and projects. She worked on the booked Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything and authored her own book about working on the Obama campaign titled, Yes We Did: An Inside Look at How Social Media Built the Obama Brand.
Rahaf’s presentation at the recent CMA National Convention, focused on how the Obama campaign leveraged social and email marketing to gain support for their candidate. Specifically, she speaks about the importance of spurring real world action/activity via the virtual world. As she points out, making the connection with people online is great but, that connection still has to translate into action (conversion) to be effective. Getting people together online supporting Obama is great but, getting them out to the polls is the important goal.
Ms. Harfoush relates how personalized email signed off by Obama really made an impression on people, some even perceiving them as coming directly from the candidate and replying to thank him for taking time from a busy schedule to update them. It was an effective way to build relationships with voters.
She also speaks about what the campaign email team called “hyper-segmentation”. The Obama campaign sent out 1 billion emails over the course of the campaign but, they were tightly targeted depending on the person’s location and the issues they had indicated were important to them. People were much more likely to become involved offline if they were being motivated by issues they felt strongly about. They also segmented based on donation history to ensure that people who had donated one day would not get a solicitation for funds the next.
Takeaway: Hyper-segmenting based on location and interests can convert online support into real world actions.