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What is Political Marketing?

The political landscape has shifted drastically over the past several decades, but arguably the more so in the past three election cycles than any other point in history. Why is this?

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Marketing Capabilities and Channels

Candidates are placing more of an emphasis than ever on marketing themselves to the general public. In the digital age, personal branding has become more important than ever before. The 24/7 newscycle, make effective in large part through the internet, requires candidates to continuously market themselves in all activities they do, from philanthropy to rallies to fundraising events, the public can see all of it. This is in part why the advertising budgets have doubled each election cycle in the past four cycles: voters are demanding and consuming the marketing efforts laid out by political candidates, and establishing and reinforcing a political brand that resonates with the largely diverse voter base has become a key component of any political marketing strategy.

Candidates also have more channels in which to access the general public. Relatively newly developed marketing channels replace what was historically effective in historical elections. Gone are the days of telemarketers and direct mail campaigns. These marketing techniques are being replaced with social media campaigns, grassroots efforts, internet advertising, and text messaging campaigns. The way in which candidates access and talk to the public is shifting, creating a completely new political dynamic and redefining the election process all together.

Increased Access to Knowledge

The public has greater access to knowledge about political candidates than ever before. The internet allows us to thoroughly research each candidates background, political history, and personal scandals, which shapes our view and ultimately impacts our voting stances. Because voters are more informed than ever before, the importance of investing in creating and reinforcing political brands largely shape our political views.

Data

Big data, a relatively new buzzword that captures the opportunity digital technologies can provide, was a cornerstone in Obama’s success and is currently being leveraged in both Trump and Clinton’s 2016 campaigns. Thanks to big data, candidates have the ability to collect and mine data on voters to decipher the issues they care about and how to reach them. They can also more effectively pinpoint where to most efficiently spend their advertising dollars, focusing most intently on securing undecided voters and continuing to build relationships with committed voters as well. With increased access to data and enhanced microtargeting capabilities, candidates can more effectively tap into the interests of the nation and essentially advertise themselves to align with our values. As a result, we are more connected than ever with our political candidates, thanks to advances in data mining and application.

Crisis Management & Political Scandal 

With greater access to information, political scandals seem to occur more frequently than ever. Crisis management skills of candidates has become a critical and arguably table stakes skill candidates are required to possess in order to stay in the race.

These are just some high level changes that are shaping the political environment. Regardless of where you stand politically, we can all agree that, without a doubt, there is a Marketing Revolution in Politics.