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Campaign plans aren’t simply calendars of activities in an election campaign; campaign plans are much more than that. Good campaign plans are written months and even years prior to elections so that the party-building and good governance work required to be elected or to be re-elected are put in place with that clear, strategic goal in mind.

The written definition of that goal – and the map of how to get there – is the essence of any campaign plan.

Different political parties offer different analyses of the problems and solutions facing society. These are the choices put before voters.

But if those ideas are not communicated effectively, to the right voters, using appropriate language and through a medium in which they can be heard and acted upon, those parties’ ideas will not be represented in parliament.

A campaign plan is about thinking through the component steps of a campaign to touch voters in such a way that they choose you over the other parties and candidates on offer.

Many techniques are the same regardless of party, electoral system or even country. But it is in the planning – and subsequent implementation – that Malaysia’s candidates will prove to voters that choosing them is the best option to keep Malaysia on a bright and positive path to the future.

While the given political landscape is an important factor in any campaign, in many cases the most important factor – the difference between winning and losing – is what goes on inside the campaign.

There are three types of political campaigns that have nearly NO CHANCE to achieve victory on Election Day due to their own internal failures.

The FIRST is the campaign that does not have a persuasive message to deliver to voters and does not have a clear idea of which voters it wants to persuade. This type of campaign lacks direction from the beginning and the situation will only get worse.

SECOND is the campaign that has a concise, persuasive message and a clear idea of which voters it can persuade but lacks a reasonable plan of what to do between now and Election Day to persuade these voters. This type of campaign wastes time, money and people as it wanders aimlessly toward Election Day. It is often distracted by the days’ events, by things the opponent’s campaign does or by things the press says, spending more time reacting to outside factors than promoting its own agenda.

Finally, the THIRD kind of campaign is one that has a clear message, a clear idea of its voters and a plan to get to Election Day but it fails to follow through on the plan, not doing the hard work day after day to get elected. This is a lazy campaign that makes excuses as to why it cannot do what it knows must be done and in the end makes excuses as to why it lost.

The WINNING political campaign is most often the one that takes the time to target voters, develops a persuasive message and follows through on a reasonable plan to contact those voters directly.

The basics of any election campaign are deceptively simple. All campaigns MUST REPEATEDLY COMMUNICATE A PERSUASIVE MESSAGE to people who will vote. This is “the golden rule” of politics.

A political campaign is a communication process – find the right message, target that message to the right group of voters, and repeat that message again and again.