Campaigning is difficult; not only because of the necessary hours dedicated to executing the fundamentals, but because the biggest hills to climb are ultimately within the minds of the decision makers. The most important considerations are who they are, how they vote, and when they make their decisions.
Everyone has their own personal background and value systems that are informed by their own story. Those beliefs tend to draw them to particular political parties or institutions. This is obvious. In practice, though, less successful campaigns tend to forget that political parties are not homogenous, despite temptations to simplify them. Even if a farmer from the neighboring township and an accountant from the city have politically similar voting patterns, it doesn’t mean their values are comparable.
So, while it’s important to be mindful of your audience’s political affiliations when developing a messaging strategy, effective campaigns use data to break down these larger groups into smaller ones with reliably similar beliefs. At this point, the campaign can better communicate with specific audiences on the issues that matter most to them. Hunters, veterans, seniors, and farmers are just a few of the subgroups who react positively to targeted messaging.
The most effective campaigns use data and research to pinpoint where people stand. Identification calls, for example, help to determine who is with you or against you, easily narrowing down your audience to the individuals who have yet to make up their minds. It’s all about efficiency; working on the undecided is a far better use of your limited resources, as you’re more likely to make significant numerical gains for the time you put in.
Candidate campaigns should also be particularly mindful of absentee voters. Before you send out a mailer or reach for the phone, it’s critical to know who has already voted. Obtaining a good AV list will help candidates determine who to focus on and when, as any mailers or touch calls that reach an AV voter after their ballot is mailed will net zero gains.
Grassroots Midwest applies the most accurate data and best practices to determine who, how, and when our clients should reach out to their audience. All of this matters if you intend to win, and winning is what we do.
About the author: Steve Heikkinen serves as the Communications and Marketing Strategist for Grassroots Midwest, Michigan’s only bipartisan political advocacy firm.