When Santiago Martinez started at 270 Strategies three years ago this month, he was the only member of the data team. Under his watch, data has become one of the fastest growing teams at 270, with two more employees joining just last week. “Instilling the mindset that data is valuable to any project, no matter how big or small, is a key part of 270’s approach," Santiago says of his team's growing presence.
Santiago worked with the 2012 Obama campaign as the North Carolina data director, and later as data and targeting director for America Votes. The Obama campaigns were known for their impeccable digital data collecting strategies and implementations. Since then, 270 Strategies has expanded those methods to apply data in many different settings. “The scale we work at is very broad — anything from local schools and organizations, to global campaigns — and solving the particular problem each client is up against keeps it interesting and rewarding,” Santiago says. “I’ve seen the impact of data with organizations big and small that are using data to take what they are doing to the next level. Whether it’s one of our clients in the education space learning how to harness data from surveys they’ve collected to better understand how to engage families, or working with clients around the global to understand how to adapt advanced targeting techniques for their local elections.”
Since 2012, technology has constantly evolved to allow projects to be easier to integrate and less labor intensive. That’s what keeps data exciting. As Santiago explains, “the tools we use are always changing - we’re constantly learning new programs and refitting what we know to address a different challenge.
For Santiago, data makes all of our efforts at 270 more real. "Data isn’t as mysterious as people think,” Santiago says. With data, you see the impact that your actions are having. You see, for example, that knocking on a certain number of doors is going to make this much of a change in support numbers. By providing concrete evidence of what’s been effective, the data team’s work helps to set realistic goals, and allows organizations to take their reach to the next level.
Especially in an overly digital age, the utility of data will only continue to grow — at 270 as well as across the globe. “It’s just hard work,” says Santiago. “If you want to push what you know, are comfortable making mistakes, and are willing to take risks to learn more, then you’ll be successful. Everyone can and should be a data person.”