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Politics + Technology
3 Common Email Marketing Pitfalls & How to Avoid Them
From K Street Cafe:

Famously referenced as the ‘cockroach of the Internet’ in David Carr’s recent New York Times piece, email newsletters are here to stay. In fact, despite the proliferation of social media and sophisticated news applications, e-newsletters are actually taking off at an unprecedented rate:

“Newsletters are clicking because readers have grown tired of the endless stream of information on the Internet, and having something finite and recognizable show up in your inbox can impose order on all that chaos,” wrote Carr. “At a time when lots of news and information is whizzing by online, email newsletters — some free, some not — help us figure out what’s worth paying attention to.”

Upon reading Carr’s piece in the Times, the marketing professionals I know had one of two reactions: they were either jumping for joy or heaving a deep sigh of exasperation. It can be tough to navigate best practices, especially when the suggestions are vague and/or contradictory (e.g. use images, but not too many images). That said, some email marketing mistakes are largely avoidable, if the right actions are taken.

Read the rest at K Street Cafe.

What Political Tools & Technology CAN’T Do
From epolitics:

Here’s a great reminder from a tweetchat hosted by the National Democratic Institute’s political parties team today: political technology can help a campaign or an organization do a lot, but it’s not magic. If you don’t have the right candidate or the right ideas, no amount of technological savvy can save you. The tools amplify traditional political strengths, not replace them!

For one example, think about data-driven grassroots organizing, which was key to Obama’s 2008 and 2012 victories as well as other political success stories from Terry McAuliffe to Thad Cochran. But when I talk with veteran field staff, they’ll often say that even the best grassroots outreach is good for maybe 3% at the polls. If your candidate is close, 3% will put you over the top. But if you’re down by 20 points, even the most sophisticated voter outreach driven by the best data modeling imaginable won’t win the day.

Read the rest at epolitics.

A Purchased List is a Dead List
From Mail Chimp Blog:

As a permission-based email service provider, MailChimp doesn’t allow users to send to purchased, rented, scraped, or stolen lists of email addresses. Why? Well, much like Lloyd Dobbler, we don’t want to process anything sold or bought. It’s annoying to the humans on the other end of those purchased lists who haven’t asked to be part of your marketing. And above all, it’s illegal.

But here’s another reason to stay away from purchased lists: They’re as good as dead. When you send to one, it’s crickets out there.

Let’s go to the historical training data from Omnivore, MailChimp’s anti-abuse system.

Read the rest at Mail Chimp Blog.

Hacking the political mind
From Campaigns & Elections:

People aren’t simple, and neither is politics. So why do so many professionals believe simple methods can resolve political questions about a massively complex muddle of voters, candidates, issues and emotions?

Understanding what actually causes a change in the big, buzzing confusion of human society and individual minds is tricky. Correlations and observational data can point us in promising directions, but they can’t answer the most important question: Does a certain message or tactic work? For that, we need apply the most fundamental scientific research tool: randomized controlled experiments.

Even medical science often gets this wrong. Studies of observational data find a correlation between being treated with hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and lower rates of coronary heart disease (CHD). Many doctors and patients drew the conclusion that HRT caused better health. But recent randomized-controlled experiments suggest the therapy is at best ineffective and at worst harmful; the apparent impact was due to healthier lifestyles overall, not the drug.

Read the rest at Campaigns & Elections.

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