Eric Wilson–Pulse Pod 18

Our guest this week on the Cygnal Pulse Pod (Ep. 18) is Eric Wilson, managing partner of the Startup Caucus, an incubator and investment fund for Republican campaign technology. As a part of the Startup Caucus, he is involved in the Center of Campaign Innovation. In 2016, Eric led Marco Rubio’s digital team during his campaign for president. He later served as digital director of Ed Gillespie’s campaign for Virginia Governor in 2017. Eric was also a digital strategy advisor for NRSC in 2016 and the Liberal Party of Australia.


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Our guest this week on the Cygnal Pulse Pod (Ep. 18) is Eric Wilson, managing partner of the Startup Caucus, an incubator and investment fund for Republican campaign technology. As a part of the Startup Caucus, he is involved in the Center of Campaign Innovation. In 2016, Eric led Marco Rubio’s digital team during his campaign for president. He later served as digital director of Ed Gillespie’s campaign for Virginia Governor in 2017. Eric was also a digital strategy advisor for NRSC in 2016 and the Liberal Party of Australia.

Kicking off the episode, Chris Kratzer, Cygnal’s VP of Research & Analysis and Matt Hubbard, Cygnal’s VP of Data & Analytics discuss their favorite subject – GOOD polling. They talk about what goes into making a good poll and what Cygnal is doing to ensure they’re producing the most accurate polls in the industry.

Mentioned in this episode:

Startup Caucus
2020 Post-Election National Campaign Technology Survey

What you will learn:

  • What got Eric into politics?
  • Which races put Eric on the map?
  • What lessons did Eric learn early on that are still valuable today?
  • What were some of the KPIs that really mattered in 2020?
  • What were the key findings from the Center of Campaign Inncovation’s Post-Election Survey of Voters and Technology?
  • Why does digital get separated from other platforms in campaigning?
  • How do upcoming campaigns need to shift in light of the fact that low propensity voters are more likely to engage with campaigns online?
  • What do campaigns do if Facebook keeps the ban?
  • What should you, the listener, take from the study?

They said what?

  • “The bells and whistles of what you can do on social media platforms come and go, but being able to communicate with an audience no matter what that platform is is going to be valuable to you no matter where you are.” Eric Wilson
  • “Increasingly, voters are consuming politics like entertainment and so candidates have to step into this role of internet influencer or celebrity.” Eric Wilson
  • “The winner isn’t the person with the most Facebook likes or retweets, it is ultimately the person who gets the most votes so any digital campaigning needs to be justified as tied directly to a key performance indicator for your campaign.” Eric Wilson
  • “There are four things you need to be doing on a campaign – earning voters, raising money, getting attention, and upsetting your opponent.” Eric Wilson
  • “We are not just competing with Democrats in terms of getting voters’ attention. You are competing with all of the other things they can do: Netflix, Hulu, Peacock […] Campaigns need to figure out how they get in there and get in that mix.” Eric Wilson
  • “No matter what your job is, be the best person doing that.” Eric Wilson
  • “Digital campaigning really is campaigning.[…] 52% of voters took active action online to search out information about candidates and elections. […] Everyone is using the internet to learn about campaigns and elections.” Eric Wilson
  • “We treat low propensity voters as dead weight. They are very expensive to get to the polls […] But what this data is telling us we can reach them in cheaper ways online. […] Don’t think of these folks as dead weight. […] They will get there eventually.” Eric Wilson
  • “The answer is organic social media. […] There is nothing stopping campaigns from producing really good content. […] Some sort of content that is worth the exchange of time that a supporter or voter is willing to give up for it.” Eric Wilson
  • “We’re bringing back the word ‘viral’” Brent Buchanan 
  • “The heart of what campaigns have to do is push a message and leverage the network effects of social media.” Eric Wilson 
  • “Campaigns need to be thinking about who their influencers are […] and go build a relationship with that person and ask them to share content.” Brent Buchanan 
  • “Relational organizing is going to be a breakout technology and campaign tactic over the next few cycles.” Eric Wilson
Cygnal · Eric Walker – Pulse Pod Ep #18