Here are the full recommendations on the digital front:
1. Convene extensive listening sessions for all high-level GOP data users and contributors, to elicit up-front buy-in. New products cannot be developed without significant input from future users.
2. Support the creation of a new data platform accessible (through rentals, subscriptions, licenses or data exchange agreements) to all qualified Republican organizations and campaigns, approved vendors and research organizations for data enhancement, analytics and application development. To facilitate better access to data, advanced open-source access must be in place to make it easy to receive data, contribute data, and see the benefits in real time.
3. Recruit and competitively compensate talented and committed long-term data staff at the RNC. The Data team at the RNC is too small to adequately provide strong data and analysis of data for all state parties, candidates and organizations. The RNC is a national party and must have the staff resources available in this area to assist all 50 states, not just battleground states. The RNC should immediately expand the strategic/data staff to prepare for upcoming elections in 2013. More staff will be needed in an election year.
4. Conduct a national road show to ensure that state parties and campaigns at all levels of the ballot understand how data can benefit them, and train them in the tools made available to them. This is essential to building confidence throughout the Party and its consultant class and getting the most out of our investment.
The party’s current media buying approach was identified as another major issue this past cycle. The Obama campaign was able to specifically target its message through carefully selected forms of media and audience in 2012, while the Romney buying operation was understaffed and overstretched.
“The Obama media research and buying staff was five to 15 times larger than the Romney staff,” the report points out—a subtle knock on Romney’s chief strategist Stuart Stevens, who many blame for the campaign’s slow-moving media buying operation.
The report also recommended more schooling for campaign managers and candidates in media budget management, as well as a “best practices approach to the issuance of large contracts.” Currently, the RNC requests at least three bids if a contact exceeds $100,000 in cost. The report suggests that for such contracts, the approval of a second RNC officer in addition to the chairman should be required.