“The dirty truth in Washington,” says J.C. Medici (above), “is that there’s no such thing as partisan technology.” The national director for politics and advocacy for Rocket Fuel was discussing the agency’s announcement of a partnership with The Data Trust, the major repository of data on right-of-center voters and the exclusive list management company of the Republican National Committee.
Until recently, such an arrangement might have tagged Rocket Fuel as a GOP operative. Political shops have always tended to go one way or the other, but digital’s grand arrival on the political stage for this year’s presidential election is changing all that. “When they start working with real tech companies, they’re amazed at how agnostic we are,” Medici says.
Rocket Fuel, which got its feet wet in Washington during the 2012 election, helps candidates leverage artificial intelligence, voter data, and programmatic tech to deliver relevant impressions to the right voters, regardless of political persuasion.
“We’re doing with [candidates] just what we’re doing with brands, and now the political agencies are willing to have meaningful discussions about what’s really possible,” Medici says. “Before, it was, ‘Is there any way we can reach likely voters in District 7?’ and we’re like, ‘Yeah, we can reach people in District 7 all day long, but look at this.'” Medici’s “this” refers to the capabilities of Rocket Fuel’s Moment Scoring technology.
Moment Scoring calls on data from various sources, such as The Data Trust, to serve ads to voters based on their propensity to take action. Four years ago, for instance, candidates may have targeted messages to people who supported 2nd Amendment rights. This year, Medici says, Rocket Fuel is helping candidates break out that segment into hunters and self-defense advocates.
The bottom line is that it’s Gold Rush days for marketing tech companies in Washington, where their data-driven platforms are changing the rules of the game and helping to make nontraditional candidates such as Trump and Sanders front-runners. “Both sides of the aisle are going through the same growing pains,” Medici says.