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This blog offers an international look at the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign. Indeed, campaigners worldwide are fascinated with American election campaigns. We observe relentless paid television advertising, straight-forward attack spots, sophisticated targeting and record-breaking fundraising. One cannot – and should not – simply copy paste American campaign techniques. However, campaigners out there in Europe, Latin America, Africa and Asia can get a lot of inspiration and specific takeaways from the most professional campaign in the world. This is the purpose of this blog.

Money is Overestimated in Election Campaigns

Last week, I taught for the sixth time my class in political marketing at the University of Zurich. Among many things, one point that we discussed was the fact that money is overestimated in political campaigns. It takes enough money to implement a winning campaign plan. The best plan obviously doesn’t do anything good if you don’t have the money to implement it. But money alone doesn’t communicate a message nor does it mobilize voters.

This being said, I would even go as far and say that too much money can be counterproductive in a campaign. Planning a campaign means to reach difficult decisions regarding the message, the target audience and the mix of tools used. If there is too much money, one tends to avoid making these decisions and instead trying to solve everything with money. I have seen it happening.

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