Given the extreme competence campaigns have developed on the operational side, where they have now have the ability to reach very specific groups of voters, the next logical step is for campaigns to develop greater expertise in the science of persuasion and influence. This will take campaigns into areas they have traditionally overlooked, such as neuroscience and psychology. Campaigns will investigate the process by which people make political decisions, and how they can intervene in that process to make them vote for a particular party. Just as campaigns have got used to having pollsters around, soon campaigns will start working with experts on how the mind works.
It is becoming increasingly clear that people make political decisions based primarily on emotion rather than reason. Even on issues like the economy - issues that should encourage a more objective, cost-benefit analysis about what is at stake financially for a given voter's family - within reason, people make decisions based on judgments around the perceived competence of parties, the extent to which they can be trusted, and whether or not a party's approach feels fair. People will always know when the economy is doing really badly and when parties have messed things up - think back to the ERM - but in less extraordinary times people are more likely to be moved by their emotional response to what they see and hear.
That people are moved by emotional arguments is not a new discovery. What is changing, however, is that we are starting to learn much more about how the human brain works, and therefore why messages that appeal to emotion work much better than those that appeal to reason. Messages that touch people on an emotional level cause a physical reaction in the brain that makes such messages more likely to be stored in our long term memory - and therefore more likely to affect our political outlook moving forward. Messages that are backed by powerful audiovisual stimuli are particularly likely to affect us.
Scientists believe different types of messages affect voters in different ways. Non-surprising, partisan political messages that we agree with touch our "disposition system". This is the part of the brain that enables us simply to go about our everyday lives operating on autopilot. Such messages do not surprise us or make us think deeply. Rather, they act as reminders, putting certain messages in our head. Such messages tend to be positive and partisan and they are useful to campaigns in reminding party supporters to vote.