Kasich's campaign has ties to Mercer Island

It may be a few months before a Republican presidential candidate visits Washington state, as our state's primary doesn't happen until May. But it turns out John Kasich's campaign already has ties to our area.

Ohio Governor John Kasich may be behind in the delegate count, but he vows to stay in the race until his home state votes March 15.

It turns out part of his digital strategy team is based right in Washington state.

Matthew Lundh and Josh Amato, of Mercer Island-based Sermo Digital, are two of the guys behind  Kasich's campaign emails.

"Emails are gold in campaigns, making sure emails are delivered can be the difference between getting donations, not getting donations. Getting people to events, not getting people to an event," said Lundh.

Lundh and Amato primarily focus on state and local races in Washington state, but when Kasich's digital team called, it didn't take much convincing.

"They brought us in; we talked to their digital director, liked what the governor had to say and decided to start working with them," said Amato.

"Working on a presidential campaign is a whole different ballgame just from the sheer volume of what they do," said Lundh. "They send so many more messages than a state representative would all over the country, so you have infinite amounts of segments and lists and things that they're sending to. Everything is chopped up and targeted."

Their job is to use data analytics to make sure the millions of emails sent to campaign supporters end up being delivered to the inboxes of their intended targets, as well as opened and read.

"After New Hampshire, we sent an email out immediately after he came in second, and we had tens of thousands of people open the email and re-engage," Amato explained.

Engagement can turn into votes, which makes emails a critical component of a campaign in the 21st Century digital age.

President Obama's past two campaigns are credited with changing the game for campaign digital strategy. Techniques like testing subject lines can pay dividends.

Lundh points a now famous example from the 2012 Obama campaign.

"There is an over two million dollar differential from the bottom subject line to the top (rated) subject line, ‘I will be outspent.'

More on the "science behind Obama's campaign emails" via Bloomberg.

Following defeats during the past two presidential election cycles, Lundh said the Republican Party has significantly stepped up its digital strategy ahead of 2016.

His goal and hope now is that his candidate, John Kasich, is still in the race by the time Washington state's presidential primary rolls around. 


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