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What Business Can Learn From the Obama Machine

Stocks in this article: CAKE F GM

The best test of the techniques is North Carolina, which most analysts expect to go Republican. I don't. As a liberal DailyKos diarist wrote over the weekend, the Obama cloud focused on sporadic, unlikely, and newly registered voters there in the early vote, so that while the President may have "won" that vote by only 142,623, based on party registration, half the margin came from people who didn't vote in 2008 and 2010, and a quarter came from people who registered at the same time as they voted.

By focusing early vote efforts on unlikely voters, the President was left with a pool of Election Day voters more favorable than polls suggested. By identifying difficult prospects months ago, and by getting them to vote early, the campaign maximized its chances of gaining a winning share. By having a detailed database in advance, and by soliciting volunteers throughout the year, the President could have the best chance of victory.

What an Obama victory in North Carolina would tell business is that the new techniques of randomized message testing, database marketing, email targeting and social networking can win a dominant market share, even if you're being outspent on media.

The marketing battleground has shifted, from TV to the Internet, and to computing in all its forms. Businesses that understand this and act on that understanding, can prosper in any political environment.

At the time of publication, the author was long F

This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.

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