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...or your own lying eyes - Input Junkie
November 4th, 2012
06:05 pm

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...or your own lying eyes
I posted about Obama's campaign being much more savvy about targeting its solicitations. It was a cool article, full of chunky geeky details about what's known about getting people to do things, and it fit my ideas about Obama as a very skillful campaigner.

However, when prodded lightly, I remembered that I've been getting approximately a zillion calls about volunteering for Obama, all of which I've turned down. It doesn't look like they're keeping track, and some of them were from actual human beings whose time and enthusiasm was being wasted.

I've also talked with someone who traveled to do volunteer knocking on doors, and was mostly turned down-- again, not an extraordinary show of skill on the campaign's part.

Of course, Obama's campaign could be 20% or 30% more efficient than Romney's, and it would be very hard to tell from the outside.

So, maybe Obama's campaign has signed on to some good social science theory but it hasn't filtered down to practice. Or the theories aren't *that* good.

This entry was posted at http://nancylebov.dreamwidth.org/996559.html. Comments are welcome here or there. comment count unavailable comments so far on that entry.

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From:pickledginger
Date:November 4th, 2012 11:17 pm (UTC)
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Implementation is always a bear. And I suspect people are getting a bit frantic by now. I know I am.
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From:heron61
Date:November 5th, 2012 12:41 am (UTC)
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Also, from what I've read, constant requests and reminders (if politely done) tend to work more often than not. The world would be less annoying if such tactics failed more often than they worked, but I don't think that's true.
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From:pickledginger
Date:November 5th, 2012 01:27 am (UTC)
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If only! But I have relatives in sales, and all the seminars tell them, people generally don't respond until at least the third contact. Sadly, that approach seems to.work.
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From:thespian
Date:November 5th, 2012 04:00 am (UTC)
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In point, actual human beings is a selling point; they do that because the response rates indicated it is harder to say no to a real person who shares your beliefs asking you to show up to a rally the next day. It is done with intent.
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From:nancylebov
Date:November 5th, 2012 02:49 pm (UTC)
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I wonder if this applies when the potential customer/volunteer/voter says no at the beginning of the message.
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From:whswhs
Date:November 5th, 2012 06:29 am (UTC)
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Ilya Somin has some thoughts on the whole microtargeting issue that you might find worth a look.
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From:nancylebov
Date:November 5th, 2012 02:52 pm (UTC)
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I wonder whether Somin is somewhere on the autism spectrum. He seems to be unable to understand that the volunteer might be matching his lack of enthusiasm as a way of getting agreement rather than actually feeling lack of enthusiasm.

I admit I didn't read all the comments, so he may have changed his mind farther down.
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From:whswhs
Date:November 6th, 2012 09:49 pm (UTC)
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I don't think that takes autism. Lots of people are susceptible to sales techniques.
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From:nancylebov
Date:November 7th, 2012 03:42 pm (UTC)
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Lots of people are susceptible to sales techniques. I think rather few can't believe that a sales person might misrepresent their own emotions to make a sale.
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From:osewalrus
Date:November 5th, 2012 11:27 am (UTC)
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If you read Fred Pohl's autobiography, he describes his time on MAdison Avenue and comments that each method at customer retention for magazines (his specialty) was like isolating U-235 from U-238. Each pass got 10%. I suspect there is a similar mechanism here. Each pass on a target identified from the data as a potential capture probably yields a 10% or so return.
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