What we’ve learned about Campaign Management
Nov 13, 2014
Measure twice, cut once – there is no sense building a campaign based on messaging you’re not certain will resonate. Start with a scientific poll to nail down your key messages and those of your opposition. Not only can message development polls help you determine what to say, they can also tell you with whom you should be communicating – which demographic groups are likely to respond to your message and which are not. You’ll want to spend your time and money on the former, and forget about the latter. These instruments provide good information on how people prefer to receive information (traditional media, online, word of mouth) and who are the most credible messengers for your issue (men, women, technical experts, clergy, business people, etc…). Finally, a good poll with solid data provides a reference point that can help you and your team maintain good message and strategic discipline throughout the campaign.
Get boots on the ground – different communities have different ways of operating. If you want to build trust and support for a point of view, employ a well-regarded local organizer and put them to work building an army of support for your issue. A good organizer will have a ready- made network of contacts and will know how things get done in that community. They’ll know who the influencers are – the official ones (electeds, academicians, business and social leaders) as well as the unofficial ones (a philanthropist, community activist, coffee shop owner, or even a prolific letter writer to the local paper). Good organizers will employ a variety of tactics such as one-on-one meetings, neighborhood gatherings, leafleting at local farmer’s markets or community events. Set numerical goals for the number of personal encounters you need to have on a weekly basis and watch your database of supporters grow.
Reach and frequency, reach and frequency, reach and frequency — Once you think you’ve communicated your key messages sufficiently, go back and communicate some more. People need to receive the same information multiple times through multiple channels to absorb, accept and take action on the information you’re providing them. A well-constructed campaign website is often the best way to create a central repository for information about your issue, a list of your supporters and ways for people to take action in support of your position. Social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter can serve as a sort of electronic “water cooler” around which people can discuss, debate and learn more about your issue. Employ periodic HTML email blasts to keep your friends and allies informed and educated on the latest developments. Finally, tried and true tactics such as paid advertising and direct mail – particularly in the home stretch of a campaign – can be a good way to drive interest and support for your point of view.
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