Outside organizations such as think tanks and pressure groups are increasingly important to policy campaigns, according to Brunswick Insight's new survey of 19 public affairs heads from advocacy groups, think tanks, trade associations, and companies. On issues including the Ex-Im Bank, SOPA-PIPA, sentencing reform, oil exports, fiduciary rule and trade promotion authority, outside groups were crucial. Campaigns now need vectors besides shoe-leather lobbying: As one respondent put it, "the lobbyists in direct communications with staff and members is probably the most minor element."
So remember, for your policy goals to be implemented, you need both lobbyists AND think tanks. Or, you can hire shops like Podesta Group, a lobby firm that will help you lobby think tanks so they can lobby the government and other groups. It doesn't get any more Washington than that.