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The Best Way of Political Marketing- to Win

The Best Way of Political Marketing- to Win. Digital Marketing has been playing an important role in politics for decades. With the advancement of technology, politicians have acquired the skill to influence their voters through digital  communications .  You may be surprised to hear the term "political marketing".  It is relatively new to other branches of mainstream marketing. But you are familiar with the term ''political propaganda''.  Although I'm not a politician, I understood the significance of marketing in the political arena a few years ago when I received a phone call.  That was a candidate's recorded voice asking me to cast a vote   in favour of him.  They've communicated to me, a lthough I was not a voter in that constituency.  Nowadays, it's a common practice of all political parties.  Remember, political marketing doesn't mean merely an election campaign- it is much more. Analysis of political activities from the marketing pe

The Best Way of Political Marketing- to Win

The Best Way of Political Marketing- to Win.

Digital Marketing has been playing an important role in politics for decades. With the advancement of technology, politicians have acquired the skill to influence their voters through digital communications

You may be surprised to hear the term "political marketing".  It is relatively new to other branches of mainstream marketing. But you are familiar with the term ''political propaganda''. 

Although I'm not a politician, I understood the significance of marketing in the political arena a few years ago when I received a phone call. 

That was a candidate's recorded voice asking me to cast a vote in favour of him. They've communicated to me, although I was not a voter in that constituency. Nowadays, it's a common practice of all political parties. 

Remember, political marketing doesn't mean merely an election campaign- it is much more.

Analysis of political activities from the marketing perspective is not new these days. Research on this has been going on for a long time.

This article evaluates the concept of political marketing, the effects of using social media on voters, and how to use digital marketing tools in political campaigns.

Table of Content

                                                      Word Count: 2600 plus.    Reading Time: 9 mins 28 sec.
  • What is Political Marketing
  • Business Marketing Vs. Political Marketing
  • The Goals of Political Marketing
  • Role of Social Media in Political Marketing
  • The Benefits of Using Social media in Politics
  • Social Media Stars / Micro Celebrities
  • Influence of social media in the political arena of the US
  • Celebrity Endorsement in Politics
  • The Best way of Political marketing
  • Disadvantages/ Limitation of the political campaign on Social Media
  • Final Thoughts.

What is Political Marketing

The field of “political marketing” has grown rapidly over the last few decades and is still growing.  Marketing is now an essential part of political life. Now, I'm going to tell you something about what political marketing means.

 Shama  (Shama, 1976) defined political marketing firstly as-

 “the process by which political candidates and their ideas are directed at voters to satisfy their potential needs and thus gain their support for the candidate and ideas in question”. 

At the beginning of January 1969, Kotler & Levy argued that elections should be one of the new arenas of marketing interest as “Political contests remind us that candidates are marketed as well as soap.” (Kotler and Levy, 1969).

The purposes of "political marketing" includes enhancing and strengthening public relations, announcing political programs, and analyzing the performance, defending the criticism of opponents, and more.

Simply put, ''political marketing'' is the efforts of political parties and their representatives that use marketing strategies to persuade people to follow them and vote for them.

It focuses on attracting people in their election campaigns to gain the maximum votes.
Politicians use modern marketing tools to achieve their goals.

Business Marketing Vs. Political Marketing

Political marketing has similar characteristics to Business or Commercial marketing.

Business marketing emphasizes promoting brand, products, and services to targeted customers to earn money.

Likewise, political marketing emphasizes promoting political brand, services or utilities to the targeted voters to gain supports and votes.

Commercial advertising attracts customers to persuade them to purchase their products through branding. 

The same concept of branding has been applied to political parties and candidates. 

Political advertising attracts people to draw attention to the ideology of the party, the activities/performance of the candidates to gain the support of the voters towards various issues.

Business Marketing

Business/ commercial marketing can be defined as the process of distribution of products or services to customers or clients. 

The process includes marketing research, advertisement, communication, information, educating potential customers, building customer relationships and more.

Business marketing refers to the activities of business organizations with the ultimate goal of selling products or service to customers. The purpose of business marketing is to maximise revenue through the sell of product and services.

The business marketing process starts identifying customer's need and making strategy fulfil their needs. 

Political marketing

Political marketing refers to the activities undertaken by political organizations to provide services to the public. 

The activities include communication, information, advertisement, election campaign, and the activities that can influence the voters.

The ultimate purpose of political marketing is to create followers and supporters to maximise votes. 

The process starts with identifying the needs of voters/citizens and making strategies to satisfy them by fulfilling their needs.

The Goals of Political Marketing 

The typical goals of political organizations include-

  • Brand establishment
  • The personal reputation of politicians
  • Create political awareness
  • Understand the behaviour of voters
  • Establish a relationship with people
  • Influence the voters' behaviour
  • Establish relation with voters
  • Raising funds
  • Maximize the number of Votes
  • Improve the possibilities of winning.

Role of Social Media in Political Marketing

Social media is so popular because people can easily share information. They can spread their preferred news and information around the world in a fraction of a second.

The use of social media sites is an effective way for politicians to reach their audiences quickly. Social platforms allow you to upload and shares news for 24x7. 

Eventually, social sites are constantly flooded with political news, opinions and events.

It is undeniable that politicians in the United States are far ahead in using social media. But, social media is popular among politicians across the Globe.

It has a significant impact on the political arena of developing as well as underdeveloped countries. 

Political propaganda using cell phones is still on the rise. Political organizations use social platforms like Facebook and Twitter to communicate and engage with supporters, followers and, voters. 

Simply put, social media has changed the nature of political communication, as it is being used to inform and integrate users in a modern and dynamic way.

According to a study in  2012 on 61 million users, Facebook can influence the pattern of voting directly and indirectly. 

The study showed a specific message directly influenced around 60,000  voters and indirectly around 280,000 voters.

Due to a strong social media presence to connect with the voters, the politician Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has gained more than 4 million followers on Instagram. And in less than two years since June 2018, the number of followers on her Twitter account has increased by 600%.

The Benefits of Using Social media in Politics

Digital advertising on social media is currently an important tool for politicians to find donors and influence voters.

The Benefits of Using Social media in the political fields include:

  • Social media users can connect directly with politicians and engage in political activities in a modern way.
  • By pressing the "Like" button on Facebook and following someone on Twitter, users have the ability to connect with others and express their opinions.
  • The option for users to instantly share, like or retweet political messages has introduced a new way for politicians to reach voters.
  • The active participation of social media users has become an increasingly important factor in political communication, especially during political elections. 
  • It plays an important role in creating political awareness. Social media is a good place for the public to express their political views.
  • Previously, people took part in political discussions at the tea stall or club. Political discussions were limited to a few media, like newspapers and Tv news channels.
  • But now, social networking has made users discuss and debate political issues. Voters spend time analyzing and discussing politics. 
  • People now have an opinion on the happenings of political events. They also influence administrative decision-making through social platforms.

Social Media Stars / Micro Celebrities

Social media users having a massive amount of followers are known as ''social media stars'' or micro-celebrities.

Social influencers/ micro-celebrities start from scratch. They upload their personal content and collect followers on social media. These social followers became fans. Thus a micro-celebrity is born.

Social media plays a significant role in Election Campaigns. 

In 2008, former US President Barrack Obama used social media in his election campaign. He won the United States presidential election on November 4, 2008. 

The Presidential campaign of Obama made history in 2008. Obama was the first presidential candidate to use social media effectively as a social campaign strategy.

If you take a closer look at the 2008 US presidential election campaign of Barack Obama, you can understand the role of social media in his election.

His campaigners posted vote reminders on Twitter and used Facebook to communicate with people.

The remarkable point is, when Obama announced his candidacy, Twitter had just begun. He chose innovative media to market himself effectively.

The rise of social media has led to a positive development that people can talk about political issues.

In the blog comment section of Wharton, Dr A.Jagadeesh Nellore has posted several interesting statistics and facts about the Tweeter account of Barrack Obama.

During the campaign, Obama used over 15 social networking sites including Twitter, Myspace, Facebook, and YouTube.  

In the 2008 presidential campaign, Obama had more “friends” on Facebook and Myspace and more “followers” on Twitter than his opponent John McCain.

Barack Obama’s Twitter account (@BarackObama) is the official account on social networking site Twitter for former President of the United States Barack Obama and has been used for his election efforts.

Obama also used the White House’s Twitter account (@WhiteHouse) for his presidential activities. 

As of November 12, 2019, Obama’s account has 110,179,369 followers, making him the owner of the most followed Twitter account. 

Obama also follows 611,054 Tweeter accounts and has posted 15,685 tweets. As of 2011, it has the most followers on any account on the platform and is the third-largest gainer of ten million followers. It is one of the top two accounts in the world regarding Twitter friends. 

During his 2008 campaign, the account was intermittently the world’s most-followed. 

In May 2010, Obama’s Twitter account ranked as the fourth most-followed account with about 4 million followers.

By May 16, 2011, @BarackObama was followed by 7.4 million people, including twenty-eight world leaders. His account became the third account to reach 10 million followers in September 2011.

About 26% of the adult Twitter users follow President Obama's account, and nearly 20% of the adult Twitter users found in the United States follows President Trump's Twitter account. 

Over the last decade, political ads on social media have been increasing. Various studies show the incremental spending of political ads on social platforms.

According to Statista, digital spending on political advertising was $22.25 million in 2008, which was expected to reach over 2847 million in 2020.

Influence of social media in the political arena of the US

Digital influence in the political arena of the United States is widespread in the use of social media. Besides the traditional platforms, politicians have been using social networks widely.

Apps like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube have become essential means of connecting people for all political parties. 

Social media is also used by citizens to exchange information and communicate with their elected candidates.

Social media was one of the most frequently used digital channels by government parties and their candidates to communicate with their supporters during 2016-2018.
In 2018, about 8 1.8 billion was spent on political advertising on digital platforms. This has made it a fast-growing advertising medium in the country. 

Political spending on social media advertising increased further during the 2020 presidential election. 

Between January and May of that year, former President Donald Trump spent $ 40.87 million on Facebook ads alone. Source: Statista

In 2019, Democratic candidates spent around $32 million on Facebook ads whereas, President Trump’s reelection campaign spent about $21 million. Source: TinuiTi

Celebrity Endorsement in Politics

In general, celebrity endorsement can be interpreted as a form of marketing strategy that uses the celebrity's reputation or popularity to influence customers for several purposes, such as brand establishment, service/ product promotion, environmental or social awareness.

Celebrity endorsement in politics is the new addition that helps promote political branding, various political issues and political awareness. 

In celebrity politics, star powers are used in the arena of politics to influence people.

Celebrity politics refers to the influence of celebrities on people related to political issues, agendas or ideologies.

Professional players, television personalities, musicians, singers, actors/actresses, writers, and internet stars (aka micro stars) are regarded as celebrities.

Celebrity endorsement increases the strength of a political party or its representative by focusing on political issues and persuading or attracting an audience.

One of the most popular areas for celebrities to discuss specific political issues or events is the various social platforms.

For celebrities, influence on politics is said to have started through television channels.

 According to John Street, celebrity influence in politics began with television, as the medium is intimate and focused more on the human side of people, including political candidates, than any other medium.

It is easier for celebrities to use television to reach a wider audience. Tv personalities still can influence the audience's understanding of certain topics.

Later, celebrities entered social platforms, started publishing their opinions on various topics.

There are many examples of celebrities campaigning for and against political parties, candidates, and political agendas.

Popular talk show hostess Oprah Winfrey's support for Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign. 

Oprah hosted several events in support of Obama which helped Obama as a candidate for the US president. 


Image Source:  By whoohoo120 - Flickr: Oprah and Barack, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=27677294

Campaigns on social networks on the one hand and support of celebrities on the other - these two powerful tools ensured Obama's presidential election victory.


                 Tweeter followers of Barack Obama, Image credit- Wikipedia

Apart from political campaigns, celebrities have become candidates in elections of politics on several occasions.

Before winning the US presidential election, Donald Trump was a businessman and television personality.

In India, Amitabh Bachchan, Hemamalini, NT Rama Rao, and many more film stars became candidates in the elections and won by huge votes. 

Nowadays, in Indian politics, you will see crowds of filmstars and celebrities from other fields.

 Disadvantages/ Limitation of the political campaign on Social Media

Political campaigns on social platforms are not as regulated like traditional media such as radio and TV.

  • There have been allegations of spreading false or misleading news ahead of the 2020 US presidential election.
  • The current restrictions are not enough to prevent the misuse of social media in false propaganda.
  • Online social media platforms are now facing increasing pressure to stop running political ads.
  • There is debate over whether there should be more stringent laws around political advertising.

The Best way of Political marketing 

Now, you've learned a lot about political marketing.  Success in politics depends on the knowledge of political science and marketing. Politics is now art, commerce, and science.

The best way to win an election is to use modern digital marketing tools honestly. 
Yes, "honestly", I repeat because lies and abuse of any media can ruin your political career.

Success in politics depends on the knowledge of political science and marketing. Politics is now art, commerce, and science.

So, what should you do?
Your political marketing strategy should include:

  • Having your own website- Your own website/ blog can is one of the best platforms to influence your voters.
  • Effective email campaigning- Effective email marketing is another powerful tool. You can use it for your election campaign.
  • Effective use of social media, including video-sharing platforms- Facebook, Tweeter, Youtube, Instagram, Tik Talk, Snapchats, etc.
  • Collaboration with micro-celebrities- It can boost your political strength further and help achieve your political goals.

Related Topics: 

Social Bookmark-the powerful tool for brand establishment

Final Thoughts

Politicians need to connect with people. They should use modern and effective tools to establish and strengthen public relations.

Apart from social networks, political organizations and their representatives promote their political activities on their own websites and TV channels.

Although there are many similarities between political marketing and product marketing, the two are not equal.

While making marketing strategies, you should keep in mind that political marketing has a great social objective.


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