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Political marketing Empirical phenomenon Research paradigm

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Presentation on theme: "Political marketing Empirical phenomenon Research paradigm"— Presentation transcript:

1 Political marketing Empirical phenomenon Research paradigm
Social change Electoral change Increasing importance of campaigns Professionalization of campaigns Research paradigm Market models of politics Expansion of marketing to non-commercial applications Marketing model of party behaviour Political marketing – bureaucratic form of sophistry Parallels between professions of sophists and marketers Structure of markets and need for marketing Consumerism Ideological nature of marketing

2 Social and electoral change
Social change Decreasing identifiability and relevance of social class Increasing social mobility Increased education Decreasing relevance of ideology Emergence of new issues/cleavages (Inglehart) Electoral change Dealignment Increasing electoral volatility Decreasing explanatory power of variables like age, gender, class Decreasing importance of “projection”/issue alignment Issue voting; pocketbook voting; retrospective voting

3 Increasing importance of campaigns
Campaigns are no longer predominantly about mobilizing support With decreasing base support, voters need to be attracted through campaigning Campaign context impacts on economic, issue, leadership evaluations More floating voters to compete over Increasing importance of mass media (new findings challenging the “minimal effects model” providing campaigners with reasons to trust in effectiveness of electioneering)

4 Professionalization of campaigns
Exponential increases in campaign spending Use of consultants, pollsters, commercial advertisers Increasing influence of campaign consultants on policy content of manifestos Policy convergence → need for distinguishing from competitors Market research (focus groups, private polling, direct-marketing, database-marketing) Changing media focus, from coverage of issues, coverage of leadership, image and the race, to coverage of strategy, party-media interaction, and the role of spin

5 Market models of politics
Schumpeter, Joseph Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy (1947) “Elitist” model of democracy Function of voting: to restrain elites, not to manifest “common will” Downs, Anthony An Economic Theory of Democracy (1957) Rational choice model of voting Assuming material self-interest as primary motivation of elites and voters Median voter theorem: party platforms will converge, to accommodate voter preferences Wellhofer: “Contradictions in Market Models of Politics: the Case of Party Strategies and Voter Linkages'”, European Journal of Political Research 1990 Vote production vs. Vote maximization

6 Expansion of the marketing concept
Concept first introduced by Stanley Keller (Professional Public Relations and Political Power, 1956): understood marketing to mean persuasion and used it interchangeably with ‘propaganda’ Expanding application of marketing disciplines beyond business world Philip Kotler (1981) Marketing for Non-profit Organizations Emphasis on strategy, marketing-mix, understanding of politics as a market where voters and candidates/parties, like sellers and buyers, exchange ‘something of value’ Broadening of marketing definition by American Marketing Association “Marketing is the process of planning and executing the conception, pricing, promotion and distribution of ideas, goods and services to create exchanges that satisfy individual and organisational objectives” (1985)

7 Marketing and political science
Use of marketing expertise by campaigning parties/candidates The observable practice of marketing in political competition prompted the entry of the concept of marketing into political science Early political marketing literature Descriptive and anecdotical Marketing as a scientific approach to campaigning Mauser (Political Marketing, 1983) defines political marketing as the ‘science of influencing mass behaviour in competitive situations’

8 Marketing model of party behaviour
Three-stage development of modern business practice applied to evolution of organizational behaviour of political parties “Parties may simply stand for what they believe in, or focus on persuading voters to agree with them, or change their behaviour to follow voters’ opinions” (Jennifer Lees-Marshment, 2001: p. 701) Product-oriented party Sales-oriented party Market-oriented party

9 Product-oriented party
Ideological Representing/leading social movement Unresponsive to social change Electoral success not an objective in itself Electoral goal: vote production/supporter mobilization Sales-oriented party Intra-organizational choice of policies, leadership Using market research, advertising, communication techniques to sell itself, its policies Electoral goal: persuasion Market-oriented party Using market intelligence to identify voter demands Assessing deliverability of demanded policies Assessing intra-party acceptability of policy changes Designing product (party manifesto, leadership selection, etc) accordingly Electoral goal: adapting to the market

10 Assumptions of marketing model
Downsian, rational voters Exogeneity and measurability of preferences, needs, demands Transferability of product/market/marketing metaphor to the political sphere

11 Prescriptive/normative claims
Customer (citizen) orientation Superiority of market-orientation over product- and sales-orientation Prediction that market-oriented parties will prevail over sales- or product-oriented parties Recommendation for parties to embrace market-orientation Evolutionary model Increasing responsiveness of political parties Improving democracy

12 Political marketers in ancient Greece – the Sophists
Rhetoric teachers in ancient Greece (Protagoras, Thrasymachus, etc.) Criticized by Plato for providing their services/rhetorical skills for whatever purpose and position Eristic: arguments aimed at victory rather than at truth Anti-logic: the assignment to any argument of a counterargument that negates it (basis of Hegelian dialectic) Never accepted as philosophers For their suspicion towards metaphysics For their pragmatism

13 Sophism, truth and morality
Relativist definition of truth, morality There is no absolute truth Truth, or the right course of action, is what one can convince the audience of being true or right Purpose of debating is not (what would be the Platonic understanding) to jointly discover truth, but to succeed Morality is a cultural, hence conditional, value

14 Similar accusations Style over substance Technicians of enticement
“Sophistic is to legislation what beautification is to gymnastics and appearance to reality” (Plato) “Man is the measure of all things” (Protagoras) Technicians of enticement Mercenaries “The purpose of government is to be efficient and to succeed. This is the criterion by which it should be judged” (Thrasymachus) Profane “The uncultured whose desire is not for wisdom but for scoring off an opponent” (Plato)

15 Techniques, goals and justifications
Similar techniques and goals Empiricism Rhetoric Pragmatism Similar justifications Relativism Popularity replaces legitimacy Efficiency replaces values Management replaces politics Nothing is unjust but a justice that does not succeed (Thrasymachus) Morality and law are not absolute, collective values, but principles defined by those in power

16 Reconciling reputation with theory
Political marketing considered to be manipulative (spin doctors), dishonest, close to propaganda, placing style over substance Effect Political marketing practice appears to turn people off (decreasing turnout in US since 1970s, collapse of turnout under New Labour since 1997) Public demand for politicians of conviction (but consider the paradox of Margaret Thatcher – the pioneer of political marketing in UK, nonetheless understood as principled and ideological) Theory Positivistic, presenting political marketing as potentially regenerative force for democracies (by basing policy on public preferences)

17 Theoretical shortcoming of political marketing model
Neglecting departure from classic economic theory Markets are not perfect and do not self-regulate Production and pricing are not naturally regulated by supply/demand function Political markets are oligopolistic (concentrated, with few competitors) Products become secondary to the image/reputation of the firm From trader to salesman, intervening in markets Marketing is active intervention in markets Oligopolistic markets tend to produce socially uneconomical outcomes Strategic behaviour Pricing Production Labour relations Accounting

18 Consumerism Market intelligence
Not just what, where and in what quantities consumers want But also why they want it From homo economicus to buyer motivations, consumer psychology Not just discovering demand But stimulating it Potentialities of demand Dormand/latent needs Consumers are “irrational at least as often as rational, motivated in large degree by emotions, habits and prejudices; differing widely in personality structure, in aspirations, ideals and buying behaviours.” (Martineau, It’s Time to Research the Consumer, 1955)

19 The ideological nature of marketing
Reinforcing free market ideal becomes in itself a marketing exercise, irrespective of factual oligopoly in most commercial and all political markets Downsian theory of democracy Ideological in its use of the false analogy of competitive political markets, with invisible hand mechanism that produces socially desirable outcomes notwithstanding asocial nature of actors The essential features of political marketing Opinion (replacing values as more malleable building blocks of collective choice) Appearance (not whether you are a good leader, or your policy a good one, but whether you can make it appear thus, counts) Pragmatism (downgrading elected government to a management function)

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