In an ideal world political marketing tactics wouldn’t be necessary. Each candidate would be judged on charisma and policy alone. However, we live in a world where it has become vital to market political campaigns in the right way. To put it simply – marketing wins elections. If you get the marketing wrong for a political campaign, then the chances of success become almost non-existent. But which ones work best? Let’s take a look at what marketing techniques work best in the political world:
1. Develop a Narrative
We are living in a time when nearly every politician will try and develop a narrative for their campaign. The narrative comes from that particular person’s story – marketers will combine history, beliefs and personality and come up with a narrative. Look back on some high profile candidates of modern times. Hillary Clinton’s campaign focused on her becoming the first woman president. Barack Obama’s focused on him being a political outsider. You can even go back to the nineties when Labour completely switched the narrative of their party. Leaving behind an old-fashioned left wing party view to become a more centrist party.
Social media has become one of the most useful political marketing tactics. Candidates are able to reach a large audience in a matter of seconds. There are several uses of sites like Facebook and Twitter. Campaigns can promote candidates, individually target voters and bring awareness to situations. They can also be used in a manipulative way, such as publicly calling out a rival candidate. Social media can be both a positive and negative for politicians. Get it right and it could win an election, get it wrong and the consequences could be damaging.
3. Political Marketing Tactics: Direct Mail
Direct mail may seem like an outdated tactic in a world with Email, social media and television – but it’s still a very effective one. Older generations can still be influenced through brochures, leaflets and manifestos posted through their doors. This form of marketing can be used to reinforce the narrative you have created for yourself. While it may be expensive, it might just convince a few people out to vote – swinging an election in your favour.
4. PR and Media
Television and radio attract huge audiences. Millions tune in to watch or listen every single day. This makes it a very useful tool when marketing a political campaign. Booking candidates on to radio shows/talk shows and other appearances can be very influential. It will make voters see them in a different light. If they act and seem genuine, then it can influence the voter to trust them more, making a vote more likely.
5. Negative Campaigns
Negative campaigning is not something that should be shouted about. In fact, it is often shady and unsportsmanlike. However, it is still a tactic that works. You want to be able to shine a light on all the good things that your candidate is doing. On the other side, you want people to focus on the negatives of your opponent. Campaigns will constantly have people looking to dig up the dirt on rivals. Leaking it to the press or posting it on social media might influence enough people to not vote for that person.