Many of the challenges being discussed at the Campaign Tech 2012 conference today in Washington DC will be familiar to Econsultancy readers in the brand world.

How do you reach influencers? What can you do with “big data?” What’s going on with mobile? Where are viewers headed?

And above all else, how do you get your message in front of them?

Many of the event sponsors who are here to get their services in front of electioneers, such as AOL, Google, and XBox Live, would be familiar to brand-side digital marketers. Several hours ago, Facebook moderated a panel on how “timeline apps and social design will change campaigns.”

Now that several years have passed during which political and commercial marketers have developed their approaches to digital separately, it looks as though we’re headed for a period of convergence of technique. The common digital platforms between marketing and electioneering fosters a commonality of tactics – but both sides come to the table with different strengths. 

The political side is long-used to running campaigns 24/7, moving opportunistically, and being utterly, completely focused on leading the national conversation. On the other hand, a quick guess is that on average, many commercial-side marketers have been in workplaces where executive-level digital buy-in happened earlier, and where the margins for error and experimentation are larger. They also have continuous team experiences.

One thing for political teams to consider that commercial marketing consciously strives to get right is team continuity. Campaigns win or lose and tensions are always high. After an election is over, teams are sometimes rapidly abandoned, including volunteer networks (some have accused the Obama camp of doing this).

An interesting question for politicians is how they can create and manage teams that can learn together, then keep that group learning and apply it to the next project. 

In the commercial world, the value of this group learning is the reason that many brands have very long relationships with agencies.

If you’re recruiting for either side, you probably stand to benefit highly from importing talent. If you’re a marketer or vendor who wants in on the record-breaking amounts of money that is being spent on American politics, or maybe want to “make more of a difference,” think about how to position and network yourself in. The same goes for electioneers who are tired of wearing a tie and want to move in the other direction. The rest of us stand to benefit by adding a little cross pollination to our media diets.

Here are some snippets of the talks so far today: 

I’m on frontline of trying to sell this to a candidate who doesn’t check email.

- Justin Germany, Founder and Partner, Craft | Media / Digital

What plays in social is different from what plays on… there’s no cannibalization.

– Brandon Thomas, Director of Product Management at the Washington Post

In the online world, it’s so easy to click away… I like to open with a huge bang. Don’t bury the lede. In an online video it’s crucially important not to bury the lede.

– Casey Phillips, Co-Founder, RedPrint Strategy

I want two million views on my resumé, but I want the right two million. Engagement matters… one of our theories that we started with from day one was that we were going to take ‘viral’ off the table and judge it in different terms… I would suggest, or cause you to think about about viral campaigns – viral YouTube campaigns, versus a single video. If you get one 100,000 view video for a local race – does that give you a bump? If you produce ten 10,000 videos, you’ve achieved the same number, over a longer time. That’s something we’ve focused on doing. We’re constantly striving for singles. We want to do a video that gets 5,000 views a week, for 52 weeks a year.

– Justin LoFranco, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee

What do you think? Disagree with any of this? Know more? Let us know in the comments.