Planning the Campaign Strategically

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The campaign plan
To develop a strategy (a campaign plan) you need:

  • clear objectives
  • a clear message
  • a decision on the main topics and on the top candidate(s)
  • a precise idea about your target groups
  • in-depth knowledge of the conditions surrounding your campaign (including competitors and opponents)
  • good timing (campaigns are fast, parties tend to be slow), starting with a rough schedule
  • a decision on the style and tone of the campaign
  • an initial decision on the campaigning methods used
  • a rough idea of the human and financial resources you can rely on
  • to write everything down!

A campaign plan that has not been written down is useless. Whenever the campaign faces difficulties it is important to have this strategic document on which people agreed at the start of the campaign.

It is the campaign manger’s task to make sure that all planned issues are carried out on time, and as well organised as possible. If achieving the target result is not possible, the performance should at least be as good as possible.

As a starting point, the implementation of campaign operations must be delegated: it is not a job for the campaign manager or the candidate. Those managing the campaign are in charge of planning, acquiring and allocating resources. Other ‘doers’ will ensure that the tasks assigned to them are performed, and they should be expected to report on progress.

It is significant to note that a campaign can be built in a great many ways. Even identical objectives can be successfully implemented using completely different methods. The fact that some campaigns are always carried out in a certain manner does not, in fact, reveal very much about how they should be done.

The best campaigns are born from a kind of new functional combination of various campaigning methods. It is important to ask why something is done, whether the chosen method is functional, how it could be improved, if the same can be accomplished at lower cost, or in an easier way, etc.

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