Friday, May 23, 2014

Can you still win with less money?

The easy answer is yes, but it's harder. The more nuanced answer and the approach used by this campaign consulting team who often represents the underdog, hence less well funded, candidate, is that you can, if you plan wisely, strategize carefully, prioritize your spending and most of all, craft your message to perfecton.

Then it's a matter of shoe-leather and targeting. Shoe leather for you and volunteers who will walk with you to voters' homes as you deliver your walk pieces. And targeting to the voters who will vote in your election; the ones who vote most frequently, the ones who are most likely to "get" your message, when they get it at the door or in their mailbox.

Use humor, color and eye catching visuals on your materials. Make the best use of the space provided. Don't use the most words, Use the wisest, most appealing words to get the message across.

Walk precincts, stand in front of supermarkets; put something in your voters' hands, at their front doors, at community events, debates and the evening commute.

Phone, phone phone. If you must, use robo calls, but again, target carefully. Have a "celebrity" whose name will resonate with your voters. (It's not always the Mayor or the local representative who people want to hear from; it might be a well-loved high school coach or the lady who sells organic peaches at the Farmer's Market. It all depends on your district, your race, your message, your voters).

And never stop raising money. You don't have to have the most money, but you do have to have the most votes, and the money pays for printing, postage and all the incidentals. It's the last week? get that last $1000 for a targeted phone call, a humorous radio ad, or a much needed answer to a last minute "hit" by your opponent.

Win or lose, you will have done your very best, and can enjoy the party on Election Night with your loyal volunteers, who, believe me, will already by plotting the next campaign.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

If the incumbent attacks first, they're scared

Candidates, especially first time candidates, hate to "go negative." They think it makes them look bad, that people will accuse them of not playing fair. And some people will. But if you don't tell people why you are the better choice for the job, you do yourself a disservice. People need to know your qualifications. Just as importantly, they need to know the other guy's shortcomings.
This is especially true if you are running against an incumbent. Then you really do have to tell the public why they should fire him and hire you.

If the incumbent attacks you first you know he's running scared. Incumbents usually try to stay above the fray. They have a record to run on, unless that record is not so stellar. Then it's your job to tell people about that record. Why it does not serve the constituents and what you will do differently.

If his record were so great, you probably wouldn't be running at all, now would you?

But what if the incumbent goes on the attack? if they do it first, you know they're running scared. You know there is indeed something they don't want to call attention to. What a gift! Unless you are a raving loony tunes, you know you've got the upper hand.

Now make sure your polls are all on track and that the skeletons in your closet are not going to come tumbling out. If they do, own them and move on. Better yet, make sure your campaign team has all the information on you before launching. Then don't be afraid to letting the voters know why you're the better choice.