Even the most technologically-driven campaigns need in-person voter contact in order to succeed.
Ethan Roeder, who ran the data department for the Obama campaign in 2008 and 2012, noted that 40 percent of all the volunteers on the president's reelection effort last year joined up because they had in-person engagement.
"Offline interaction is still a big piece of the puzzle," he said Tuesday at CampaignTech West in San Francisco.
Moreover, the stories of the volunteers and supporters were incorporated into the narrative the campaign told. Think "Fired up! Ready to go!" On the trail, Obama frequently retold how he took that slogan from a volunteer.
"It's about getting their individual and personal stories told," Ajay Ramachandran, chief marketing officer at Dynamic Signal, said during a panel discussion that tackled strategies for tapping into social data and building communities. "Those are the personal connections that people will make to a cause or an issue."
Through those connections, campaigns can also expand their targeting, he said. "Organic targeting is better than algorithmic targeting."
Organic targeting can be as simple as direct messaging Twitter followers with large networks, said Adriel Hampton, vice president of community at NationBuilder.
Case in point: "Some people open all your messages, some people open some of them," he said.