Originally published: November 14, 2012
Last updated: November 26, 2012 - 12:25pm
Five years ago, Barack Obama harnessed the power of social media to transform himself from a relative unknown into presidential-candidate 2.0, taking grassroots fundraising viral and defeating a field of more prominent candidates to become president. This year, his campaign staff put him in an even more technologically savvy roll: pivoter-in-chief. Obama’s reelection staff didn’t just pivot once, twice, or 10 times over the course of his campaign. By accident or design, they followed the “lean startup” methodology pioneered by Eric Ries, whereby a company launches a rudimentary product, sees if people want it, then fine-tunes its strategy if it’s not popular, or stays the course if it is. Only the Obama campaign did it not with products, but with ads and online strategies, constantly measuring their effectiveness and making changes whenever reality didn’t jibe with their assumptions.
Here are five ways that the Obama campaign was run like a lean startup:
- They measured every single thing.
- They used A/B testing.
- They used behavioral targeting to increase engagement.
- They streamlined the checkout process.
- Their marketing was nontraditional.
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