The 3 Important M’s: What Winning Political Campaigns Have in Common

All winning political campaigns all have three important things in common. It may sound simple but it’s true. And campaigns that lose usually fail in at least one of these areas. I call them the 3 Important M’s:  Message, Money, and Minutes. If you want to win your race, you must keep these three things in constant focus.

three-important-ms-winning-political-campaign

Message

Your winning message is absolutely the most important aspect of your campaign. Without a simple and clear message that connects with voters you’re probably going to lose.

Too many candidates think that if they put up signs everywhere and get loads of endorsements from local leaders and mucky mucks that they will be a shoe in for office.

Wrong. Those candidates lose far more often than they win.

Why? Because they failed to connect with the voters.

You connect with the voters of your district by having a message. That message must resonate on an emotional level that motivates them to cast a ballot for you.

The message can’t be about you. That’s a mistake a lot of candidates make too. They make their message about their resume and accomplishments, not about what’s important to the voters.

A winning message always keeps the voters front and center, focuses on a problem or problems they want fixed, and provides a realistic plan for turning things around for the better.

Before you do much else on your campaign, figure out what your winning message is going to be, then refine it and repeat it over and over and over again on the campaign trail.

Money

Yes, if you want to win your election you need to raise money.

How much money? I can’t precisely say as I don’t know the specifics of your district, that’s something you must figure out as you create your campaign budget and fundraising plan.

Basically, you need to find out how much money it will take to effectively get your message out to the voters then go out and raise that amount.

Most good candidates who get blown out in elections lose because they are afraid of raising money. They either can’t bring themselves to ask or don’t want to be told no by a potential donor.

The usual excuse I encounter is that the candidate feels sleazy soliciting funds. Don’t allow that excuse to hobble your chances of winning. Banish it from your mind right now and forever more.

There are only three reasons why raising money is sleazy.

One, the person raising the money is sleazy.

Two, the tactics being used are sleazy.

Three, the donors are being deceived about the purpose of what the money will be used for or where it is going. That’s not only sleazy there’s a good chance it’s illegal.

If you avoid those three sleaze factors, then you should be confident in the fundraising role for your campaign. It’s all in how you handle your fundraising.

NPR, PBS, United Way, and the Red Cross raise money all the time and they haven’t been branded as sleaze bags.

Why?  Because they raise money for the greater good of the community.

That’s essentially why you’re raising money too. Remember your winning message? It’s about fixing a problem in the community.

You can’t fix that problem if you’re not in office. You won’t win office unless you raise enough money to communicate your winning message with the voters.

Keep that in your mind when you’r asking for money and this essential task will become simpler.

Minutes

If football is a game of inches, political campaigning is a game of minutes.

You’re always running out of them and therefore must use them wisely.

Time is a precious commodity in a campaign. You’re always running out of time.

Election Day never moves away from you, it’s always moving closer and closer and closer like Jason of Freddie in those 80’s slasher movies.

First Election Day is months away, then weeks, then days, until you’re finally waiting for the polling places to close and wondering if you’ve done enough to win.

As a candidate there will always be more demand on your time than there are hours in the day. Because of this it’s easy to focus your energy and attention on the wrong things.

Before you know it you can fall behind on hitting your fundraising goals and getting your winning message out to the voters in your community.

You must be disciplined when it comes to scheduling your time. You will need to budget your time stringently, usually by the hour but sometimes down to the minute.

The two most important things you must focus your time on if you’re serious about winning is the time you are communicating directly to the voters and the time you are asking for money.

Those two activities should take up more than 50% of your time. Everything else goes into the remaining time or is eliminated — including things that seem important but really are not.

How do you know what things can be left out of your schedule? As the book Essentialism teaches, if something is not a “Hell Yes” then it is a “Hell No.”

Too many campaigns are lost because candidates say “Yes” to things that should be deemed a “Hell No” and avoided.  Don’t let yours be one of them.

Candidate Take-Aways

There are many things that need to be done on a political campaign. The difference between a winning campaign and a losing one is that the winners focus on what is really important.

In my experience the three important M’s are where a candidate should be focused from Day One until the close of polls on Election Day.

Craft your winning message and take it out to the voters.

Raise the money necessary to deliver that message through the proper mediums.

Dedicate the right number of minutes of every day to doing those two tasks and you’ll go far as a candidate.