Roughly, there are 4 types of political consulting firms—pollsters, media consultants, direct-mail experts, and strategists.
The direct-mail experts are those who focus on fund-raising. However, in recent times they also lend their expertise for more targeted messaging.
Pollsters are firms who take opinion surveys and polls to understand the pulse of the voters. They bring back information on how popular the candidate is with the target audience, what issues affect them, and how they respond to the candidate’s most recent event.
Media consultants focus primarily on producing and placing TV and media ads. They are responsible for the ad spends (note – this has the maximum money) and also handle social media for the candidates.
In fact, pure strategists who don’t offer other services—Republican Stuart Spencer is the most famous—are a dying breed. They only offer strategic guidance on what to focus the campaign on – leaving the rest to the candidate (and his team) to figure out.
Whatever their role, political consultants understands the key challenges the candidate (and by extension their campaign) faces.
They then offer strategic solutions to not just overcome the problem, but also shape a favorable opinion of the candidate with the public.
In some cases, if the candidate already has a public image (like Joe Biden, running for 2020 elections), the political consulting company should be able to leverage it to win support.