The kickoff of the 2016 presidential campaign cycle has provided brand marketers with both opportunities and challenges. On the one hand, it has created a competitive landscape filled with nuances forcing marketers to adjust “business as usual.” On the other, it presents a jewel of an opportunity to further engage with their target audience. That’s because politics offers traditional brands something they crave: data. As attention continues to increase around the political candidates and their campaign message, marketers that look to leverage the political landscape can find success in capturing audiences’ attention in an overcrowded marketplace.

Contrasting voter data with other, more traditional data sources provides valuable insights for marketers, including granular information on characteristics or behaviors of a specific target audience. Political data is extremely powerful simply because of its level of detail, and oftentimes it can reveal information otherwise unknown. It is particularly powerful when used in the planning phase, either in preparation or assessment of mediums. Alternatively, it can uncover intersections where opportunity for additional engagement presents itself.

Looking to political data to better understand a target audience can generate valuable insights for a marketing campaign. Some examples of how this kind of data can be leveraged include:

Local comprehension.

Political data is particularly useful because it is hyper-local. Marketers can zoom in on consumer information on the zip code level. For businesses, such as retailers, focused on local initiatives, this can be useful information for identifying areas for new stores. It can also be used to better inform local media buys, like billboards versus newspaper ads versus direct mail, and target messaging in those advertisements.

Identify active participants.

Voting is a right that Americans may or may not choose to exercise. Those that do vote have made an extra effort to “make their voice heard,” and this sense of community involvement can be powerful information for marketers. Voting citizens traditionally display a higher involvement in community affairs, and may therefore be more likely to take action for other causes they deem important. If a brand is planning a joint venture with a charity, for example, this information can be particularly valuable, especially when these voters display other characteristics of the brand’s typical customer.

Policy preferences.

Like voting behavior, policy preferences and party affiliations can be valuable information for traditional businesses, especially those looking to customize messaging for a particular audience. If you are a healthcare company, for example, who serves communities with a large Hispanic population, policy preferences could be useful information for crafting marketing content. Political data (in this case, L2’s Nationwide Voter File) showcases that the majority of Hispanic voters, for example, support the Affordable Care Act. If a company is looking to capture more Hispanic clientele, creating marketing content with information around the Affordable Care Act could be well received by this community.

Personalized communication.

Marketers now have access to tools that help optimize their work, and geo-targeting has become a popular trend as a result. Personalized communication with audiences is now more accessible at scale, and something many marketers are looking to for increased consumer engagement. Political data can be a helpful tool in this quest, both because of the granular geographical information it provides and the level of detail in the data. If you know, for example, that you are targeting the Hispanic community in the Miami area, it may be helpful to know specifics about this general group of citizens, including where they reside. Voting data provides information on ethnic background, which provides deeper insight into the Hispanic community. This can be used to better inform communication. What matters to Puerto Rican-Americans may vary, for instance, from what’s important to Mexican-American or Cuban-Americans.  Being able to target a potential customer with a message specific to their cultural values can be a powerful way to create more personal engagement.

Political data can be a powerful marketing tool for traditional brands, particularly during the election cycle. While the flood of competition for attention may disrupt traditional plans, marketers that leverage this new source of information can understand and target their audience in unprecedented ways.