Important Elements of a Campaign Strategy
Campaigning for any type of elected office requires a sharp eye for
detail in regard to what voters are looking for in a candidate. A campaign
strategy should be comprehensive in its efforts to reach as many voters as
possible. Yet, without a solid base of ideas from which to expand upon, the
message being conveyed can easily be lost or taken out of context. In order for
a campaign manager to avoid this blunder from occurring and maximize the
candidate's chances of victory, he or she must pay attention to a few basic
campaigning elements before attempting to stretch the campaign to its maximum
visibility. First, the campaign manager must identify the important issues in
the election as well as the voters supporting the candidate and those who are
undecided. Developing a general campaign theme, preferably one with a catchy
phrase to use in speeches, is the second critical element. Finally, an
important concept that must be incorporated throughout the campaign is the wise
use of the media, both paid and earned.
Identifying the important issues and the voting makeup of the
constituency is a preparatory task that should be done mainly before the start
of the campaign. The decline of partisanship has led to a rise in issue-based
voting, therefore making a candidate's knowledge of the issues a much greater
factor. Yet, simply having knowledge of an issue is not sufficient. A concrete
stance should be taken on positional issues. The phrase "concrete stance" tends
to imply that the position taken should be somewhat extreme when all it really
infers is that it should be a belief held consistent throughout the campaign.
In all actuality, it is in a candidate's best interest to avoid taking any
extreme views if at all possible. Recognizing the voters who are supporting
the office seeker is important in managing a campaign because it helps to ensure
retaining those voters. More importantly, the undecided voters or those who are
"on the fence" must be targeted for relentless campaigning. This group contains
the "sway votes" which are an integral part of winning any election.
Understanding the issues and the voters is something that should be done when
running for any office. Obviously, it would be easier for someone in the race
for county commissioner to achieve a sharp awareness of his or her constituency
than it would for a presidential nominee. Still, it is vital for a candidate at
any level to develop a grasp of the different groups that will decide his or her
fate. As stated earlier, this dimension of the campaign process is primarily
dealt with before the campaign commences. Once completed, the popular
definition of the word campaign takes form.
Conveying a message to the voters in the form of speeches, advertisement,
and public appearances is the primary objective of a political campaign....