Deep Dive Breakout 1

Wednesday, July 31, 2019


We have the ability to target stakeholders at a granular level but are we doing anything useful with the resulting data? Learn from practitioners who successfully leverage data and craft messages that appeal to distinct audiences.


Conversation Intention: Learn how to segment our audiences and reach them with messages that matter

  • Every audience is self-interested, so they will respond better when they feel like they’re being spoken to individually. Using data allows us to segment our audiences by interests to target our key stakeholders with messages that resonate. 

1.Finding the data your organization collects

  • When reviewing data that you collect in-house, often with a small team your information is centralized around looking at who is visiting your web properties, cookie tracking, and seeing what they are doing. If your organization or association allows you access to your members’ data, use that to inspire what your grassroots messages should look like based on titles, locations, etc. This is time-consuming and requires patience! 
  • If you have a team that does data collection for you, try to focus your energy on understanding what you are looking for in that information. If you are trying to recruit new and diverse audiences, you want to try to understand the group you want to be engaging with cares about and is looking for within your mission. Look for data that tells you what drives them to make decisions.
  • If you’re building out grassroots data for the first time but your organization has a data collection system already, be ready to do some internal education around what exactly you need, and why you need it. Sometimes, it helps to find out what is already collected and compare that with what you wish you had and then get a conversation going about what the priorities are for your team. This might be segmentation by congressional districts, or full home addresses. 
  1. How to use the data effectively
  • Get to know your list once you have it. Try to determine: What do they care about? And why? You need to use data to understand your people and where they are coming from. From there, use segmentation to divide them up and make sure it is clearly divided by the issues people care about for advocacy. Keep trying new things and trying different messages within each segment too. Ask: Is it the subject line? The action? A petition versus emailing Congress? Why did it work or not work? Look at what you’ve done and actually ask yourself: Would I do this again?
  • Educate and trust your advocates. Use data to figure out where the information gaps might be with your advocates and fill them with education. Then, let them generalize, break it down, and include pieces into their own messages. Allow your advocates also to tell their own stories, remind them: who is telling your story? Is it you or the other group? 
  1. Crafting targeted messages
  • Segment your audiences to target them with messages that matter. The most important aspect is knowing how you can figure out and target your message to speak to the experiences of your members and advocates in a way that will move them to action. Find ways to talk about the issue in ways that are new and engaging and entertaining. Use your data to find out what members want you to speak about and create opportunities for them to let them tell their stories. Spend time thinking – are you crafting your message in a way that gets across what you want but gives you flexibility for your advocates to be part of it?
  • Consider the medium – does it make sense to use video? Social Media? Social can be switched much more quickly in picking a targeted message. 
  • Consider trying to run a campaign that is timely and geographically limited and collect campaign data as a pilot. Explore gamification as a method for targeting your messages to younger audiences. This could be a quiz for re-engagement emails, an animated game, or a point system for actions taken.
  1. Sample Campaigns
  • Look at what your audiences want – younger audiences are interested in social justice issues and use that in your campaigns as needed. Look at the data that you’ve got and do the research on what it means and make it work for you. Know why you are doing what you are doing – listen to your data. Craft your messages around that. Know your audience, what do they engage with? Use data to figure out what kinds of engagement techniques people respond to and go with it.


What are the biggest challenges? 

We think we know who our members are and who advocates should be and even who we are talking to but do the external research around communications to see what potential and existing advocates want from you so that you’re not wasting their attention. Tell the stories your audience wants to listen to.

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