The Pragmatic and Principled Reasons for Political Marketing Research

In a new paper in Customer Needs and Solutions Jennifer Lees-Marshment lays out why politics should matter to marketing scholars. She argues that “the dominant research philosophy [in political marketing] is pragmatism, the methodology depends on the research question and the aim is to have a potential practical application” (Lees-Marshment, 2019). This is especially appealing to me. Too often I see researchers with a hammer looking for things to bash rather than settling on important topics and then thinking about what skills will be required. (One can always skill-up to tackle big topics, a pointless topic is never going to become worthwhile). And political marketing as a topic is about as consequential as things get. How do we decide how we structure our societies? Who do we decide to help? When do we declare war? What are we going to do to about climate change? These are all impacted by political marketing.

It is important to recognise that political marketing isn’t just the selling of candidates. Nowadays ‘Pre-dominantly the [political marketing] literature argues for using market research before designing and developing a product or brand to identify voter demands and then tailoring the product to suit this – becoming market-oriented” (Lees-Marshment, 2019).

But why should scholars study it? Lees-Marshment gives a number of compelling reasons.

” Because politics is just like marketing and business is just like politics…

To expand the marketing discipline, your own thinking, and keeps you fresh…

To gain pragmatic benefits such as media exposure…..

To fulfil the social obligation to study the marketing of politics which has a profound influence on society” (Lees-Marshment, 2019).

There really is something for everyone in researching political marketing.

Read: Jennifer Lees-Marshment (2019) Marketing Scholars and Political Marketing: the Pragmatic and Principled Reasons for Why Marketing Academics Should Research the Use of Marketing in the Political Arena, Customer Needs and Solutions, https://doi.org/10.1007/s40547-019-0091-0