While television ads still play an important role, particularly downballot, the election results clearly show that Republican campaigns need to be just as aggressive with their grassroots outreach, online persuasion, and data collection and analysis as their media buys. …

A disproportionate amount of postmortem coverage has focused on Obama’s data and technology operation which was bigger — though also qualitatively different — than 2008. Instead of relying on the magic of a youthful candidate, big rallies, and racking up a billion minutes of view time on YouTube, Obama 2012 used quantitative analysis to squeeze out every last advantage it could, reflecting the “grind it out” mentality of this year’s campaign. …

The most pressing and alarming deficit Republican campaigns face is in human capital, not technology. From recruiting Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes in 2008, to Threadless CTO Harper Reed in 2012, Democrats have imported the geek culture of Silicon Valley’s top engineers into their campaigns. This has paid significant dividends for two election cycles running. …

Does this mean that this Democratic advantage is permanent? It will be if the operatives and funders in the Republican Party come to believe that the problem is merely one of buying a few shiny tech objects, rather than doing the hard work of recruiting a new generation of technical and data talents to remake the culture of Republican campaigns.