If I posed the same question about a campaign manager, a communications director, or a political director, the answer would have been an obvious and resounding yes. But why do so many campaigns think they can get away with outsourcing “digital” to an agency or vendor?
Part of the confusion arises because campaign decision makers don’t really have a complete understanding of the term digital and instead use it as a catch-all term for a number of different, critical campaign functions.
And while it’s true that an agency or vendor is an important component of your overall digital strategy, your campaign needs someone whose job description involves full-time thinking about how you’ll use technology to win. The good news is that the skills needed for an effective digital director are really a mindset rather than technical knowledge.
The question becomes one of priorities. Do you want your campaign to communicate effectively with voters online where they’re getting more and more of their political news? Do you want your campaign to interact with activists and recruit volunteers on the social media platforms where they’re having most of their political conversations? Do you want to raise money using the tactics that are empowering modern campaigns?
The question answers itself. Your digital staffer should be one of the first positions you hire.