Many people think that money is the most important resource in a campaign. While campaign funds are definitely of essence, I have come to realize that time is even more important. Political marketing works best in a long-term perspective. One of the biggest mistakes campaign teams commit is not to start planning early. Some politicians are hesitant to start early because they don’t want to spend, or they are caught up in the daily business. As a result, they waste time. When there is no more time to be wasted, they then start to waste money. I have turned down business worth several tens of thousands of dollars from clients who have approached me when it was too late, a couple of weeks before the election. There’s no point for me to start an operation when the patient is dead.
This being said, one of the most important things for campaign teams to do early on is to neutralize weaknesses. I wrote about inoculation as a political strategy not long ago and it’s important to start it early because it takes time to implement. Your candidate might be seen as too old or too young, for example. Or your party may be perceived as elitist or too extreme. All these things can be dealt with from a marketing perspective. They may never turn into strengths, but they can be neutralized over time. Every candidate has weaknesses, smart ones do something about it – early on.