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Introduction to Political Marketing

Political marketing is a fundamental part of political life. Presidents and prime ministers; politicians and parties; government departments and councils all use marketing in their pursuit of political goals. Market research is used, when deciding on policies and service design, to understand what the people they serve and seek votes from want and need; voter profiling helps create new segments to target; strategy guides creation of the political brand to develop an attractive vision; internal marketing guides the provision of volunteer involvement; analytics and experimental research test and refine communication messages; and delivery management sets expectations and helps to convey progress once a politician is elected or a programme has begun. 

As an area of academic research and teaching, political marketing is a modern and dynamic field that seeks to understand, learn from, comment on and even influence such behavior. Political marketing also attracts public attention and debate. It has become the focus of many recent movies such as Game Change, The Iron Lady, The Ides of March and No;and TV series such as The West Wing, VEEP and Scandal which cover strategy, branding, positioning, crisis management and polling, and raise ethical issues of authenticity, targeting ethnic minorities and gender.

Academic Literature

General and overview

Giasson, Thierry, Jennifer Lees-Marshment and Alex Marland (2012), ‘Introducing Political Marketing, by Chapter 1 in Political Marketing in Canada edited by Alex Marland, Thierry Giasson and Jennifer Lees-Marshment, UBC.

Lees-Marshment, Jennifer (2001). Political Marketing and British Political Parties: The Party's Just Begun. Manchester, U.K.: Manchester University Press. Ch 1 pp. 2-5

Lees-Marshment, Jennifer (2009). Political Marketing: Principles and Applications (1st edition)  Routledge. Chapter 2 What is political marketing?

Lees-Marshment, Jennifer (2014) Political Marketing: Principles and Applications 2nd edition. Routledge Chapter 1 Introduction to political marketing

Lees-Marshment, Jennifer (2019) Chapter 1 Introduction to political marketing in Political Marketing: Principles and Applications 3rd edition. Routledge

Lees-Marshment, Jennifer Brian Conley and Kenneth Cosgrove (eds) (2014). Chapter 1 ‘Marketing US Politics’ in Political Marketing in the US. New York: Routledge.

Lilleker, Darren (2007). What is political marketing: a conceptual discussion. UK PSA Conference. Available online at <>.

Linus, Osuagwu (2008). "Political Marketing: Conceptualisation, Dimensions and Research Agenda."Marketing Intelligence & Planning 26, no. 7 : 793.

Moloney, Kevin (2004). Is political marketing new words or new practice? UK PSA Conference. Available online at <>.

Moufahim, M. and M. Lim (2009). "Towards a Critical Political Marketing Agenda?" Journal of Marketing Management 25(7/8): 763-776.

Serazio, M. (2017). ‘Branding politics: Emotion, authenticity, and the marketing culture of American political communication”. Journal of Consumer Culture, 17(2): 225-241

Scammell, Margaret (2014) Chapter 1 Political marketing: why it matters in Consumer Democracy: The Marketing of Politics. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Scammell, M. (2014). Consumer Democracy: The Marketing of Politics. New York, Cambridge University Press.

Wring, Dominic (1996). Political marketing and party development in Britain: A 'secret' history. European Journal of Marketing, vol. 30(10-11): 100-11.


The potential problems with consumer choice in politics

'Returning Brexit - it doesn't work as advertised' [4m] Scientists for EU Published on Sep 23, 2016

Giving us what we want? - The Persuaders program - [13 m] This explores the use of research in communication, through focusing on the US consultant Frank Luntz. Raises ethical issues about whether marketing really is about elites listening to voters, or in fact just another tool to sell their product to us.

Rise of political marketing and consumerism (Canada)

Susan Delacourt: A Marketplace of Voters  on The Agenda with Steve Paikin, Oct 16, 2013 Have Canadians traded in the role as citizen for the clout of the consumer? Journalist Susan Delacourt sits down with Steve to discuss her new book, "Shopping for Votes.“ 18m -

or Susan Delacourt on political marketing and Shopping for Votes on CBC News Network's Power & Politics, 12m,

General discussions about political marketing

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