Most people think that lobbying organizations do little more than make – and leverage – contacts with those in power. While connections no doubt play a huge role in the success of lobbying efforts, they aren’t the only tactic that lobbyists have at their disposal to help their clients.
The rise of technology in the past few decades has given lobbyists one tool which their professional ancestors couldn’t have dreamt of: intelligence. This article revolves around lobbying intelligence, its major tool and the benefits that lobbying intelligence is already providing to its users.
Major Tool of Lobbying Intelligence
Here’s the most important tool which helps companies gather lobbying intelligence:
To illustrate how big data helps in lobbying efforts, take the example of FiscalNote. It’s a technology firm that uses machine learning, natural language process and (of course) artificial intelligence to scrape the internet for data on politicians, public policies and regulations.
Once it gathers this data, FiscalNote sells it to the highest bidder. One example is Nestle, the world’s biggest food company whose net worth is a whopping $247billion. US Corn Growers Association as well as the Dutch chemical company Nouryon are also on the list of its clients.
That’s just one prominent example of a company that supplies big data to its clients to help them in their lobbying efforts. There are dozens of other companies that do the same. The lobbying companies that purchase this info that leverage it to alter the political agenda in favor of their clients.
What’s more, big data doesn’t only have information about politicians. It also has information about the local populace which one can tap into to know what the issues are that are closer to the heart of a layman. Businesses use this kind of data to better structure their marketing campaigns.
Benefits of lobbying intelligence
Below mentioned are some of the benefits that come from lobbying intelligence:
– Give one lobbying organization edge over the other
Imagine you’re looking at two lobbying organizations. One has the data as well as the persons to analyze them. The other just relies on field contacts it has made over the years with people in power. Which of the two do you think will be better at lobbying?
Of course, the one that uses data. Data abolishes the requirement of having to invest your time and effort to get to know people on a personal level. A mere click on their profile will tell you everything you need to know about their personality, and you can exploit it.
– Mobilize grassroots campaigns
Assume that a lobbying organization wants to organize a grassroots campaign in support of a particular cause. Won’t it be in a better position if it knows, in advance, whether the issue is as important to the local population as it is to their client?
Most definitely it will. Big data allows lobbyists to identify those issues on which the public and their clients are on the same page. That, in turn, allows them to swell the numbers in their grassroots campaigns.
– Alter political agenda
Politicians, by nature, are cautious people. Since they have to go back to their electorate every few years to get votes, they have to sidestep the issues which can damage their popularity. And nothing harms their reputation more than being associated with the wrong cause.
Lobbyists with intelligence use this fact to their advantage. They use big data to let people in power know that the interests of their clients align with those of the politicians’ voters. This information puts the politician at ease, and increases the chances of success of lobbying efforts.
In the good old days, lobbying merely relied on political connections. How much successful a lobbying organization could get depended on how many people in power it knew. While this statement still holds true to some extent, the arrival of lobbying intelligence and, by extension, big data, has changed the game. Only those lobbyists can claim to be at the forefront of their profession who have this intelligence.