Marketing and Democracy

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  • Conversation Summary

Faculty Response (23 April 2008)

A number of discussants agreed that political marketing helps democracy by increasing the number of information sources and the amount of information available to voters. Do you think there should be truth-in-advertising standards for politicians, as there are for commercial products? Should there be regulations on the amount of advertising by candidates, political parties, businesses, unions, other special interest groups?

As some discussants noted, democracy is more than elections. Marketers, various government agencies, and not-for-profit organizations all provide goods and services to consumers and citizens. In some circumstances, e.g., disaster relief, they cooperate; in some, e.g., education, they compete. What lessons, if any, can leaders of these organizations take from each other so as to be more effective in serving people's needs?

Original Questions

In our new book Greater Good: How Good Marketing Makes for Better Democracy, we examined the impact of marketing on society. We concluded that contemporary marketing performs essential societal functions—and does so democratically. Also, that people would benefit if the realms of politics and marketing were informed by one another's best principles and practices. Some of the ideas provoke sharp reactions. We would like to get your thoughts.

Political candidates have seized on marketing techniques to promote candidates and sway public opinion. Well-funded candidates, political parties, and interest groups can overwhelm opponents with costly marketing and advertising—including negative, attack ads. But we propose that what's needed in politics is not less marketing but better marketing: focusing on current and emerging customer needs, developing product and service solutions, informing interested citizens about them and making them easily accessible. Do you think marketing by politicians and political parties helps or hurts democracy?

Good marketing delivers benefits that are very similar to the pillars of democracy: marketers give consumers information; they offer choice; they engage consumers; most seek to be inclusive; there is fair, mutual exchange with consumers; and subsequent consumption of goods and service satisfies needs and improves human welfare. A critical difference is that marketplace exchanges tilt toward pursuit of self-interest and democratic political exchanges, in the ideal, tilt toward pursuit of the common good. In practice, is the commercial marketplace more democratic than political institutions?

Your Comments

  • Farrukh

    I strongly feel being from a developing country that marketing campaigns by politicians have helped a lot in our region. Before, we didn't have any TV station except the state televison named "Ptv" or pakistan television network, so we had to do away with the govermnent version only. But now as marketing has become fast politicians do point at each other's mistakes. In this process our majority of less educated people is able to be more informed and is in a much commanding position to decide about the right candidate. Not all but most blame placed on politicians and their counter claims are unfortunately true, which results in grassroots awareness among the public. Makes them wiser each time they vote. And in reality affects the spirit of democracy in a true way.

  • Peter Kaye
    Alumnus MBA 1994
    PK Brand Consulting

    I agree with the general premise of Profs Quelch and Jocz. To me great marketing and brand building is about communicating a promise (through a wide range of vehicles), and then delivering on it consistently over time. For a commercial product this promise and delivery cycle is usually much shorter in timeframe than a political candidate has to deal with in a typical 2-4 year election cycle in the US (e.g., think of fast moving consumer goods where the purchase decision, or "voting" for which beverage to drink is an everyday occurrence). As a result I think that the commercial marketplace is much more democratic than political institutions, since consumers can vote for one brand today, and a different one the next, depending on which meets their needs the best.

  • Mary Welsh
    Alumna 1992 A
    University of Cincinnati

    Utilizing marketing techniques are pivotal to the democratic process. However, it is the type of marketing vehicle(s) utilized and the overall message quality which dictates the success of the candidate or party. Utilizing the same communication vehicles and similar message, a lackluster -- yet monied -- candidate with a known brand name (e.g., Taft, Bush, DeWine, Cuomo, Jackson, Sununu, etc.) will soundly trump a stellar candidate with low name recognition. In my opinion, the only way to break the existing brand equity of a so-so candidate or incumbent, lies in creating entrepreneurial, impactul and "relate-able" marketing strategies highlighting innovative -- yet realistic -- political policies.

    The constant, favorable "buzz" derived from such a strategy would be worth 10 times more than stuffing the electorate's mailbox with countless leaflets or airing constant attack ads. The electorate, I believe, wants an informed candidate who appears both intelligent, approachable and creative. However, if no such candidate fills that void, the electorate is forced to vote based on unimaginative marketing using brand equity/name recognition as a "seal of approval." If marketing techniques were used to highlight a candidate's qualities and coherently illustrate his/her vision, marketing would be a considered a necessary asset to winning an election based on merit.

  • B V Krishnamurthy
    Director and Executive Vice-President
    Alliance Business Academy

    60 years of freedom and democracy mean quite a lot in a region known for turmoil. And yet, one cannot but get the feeling that money and muscle power are the two determinants for success in politics. We have had the unseemly spectacle of candidates being in prison, facing serious criminal charges, and yet winning elections. Looking at the scenario from a marketing perspective, there is practically no differentiating factor as between candidates.

    If one were to remove the names and symbols, the manifesto of every political party reads very similar. Candidates with credentials do not enter politics. As a result, we pay a heavy price in the form of elected representatives taking the country for a bumpy ride. The Honorable Speaker of the Indian Parliament remarked only last week that members were "destroying democracy." During election time, all kinds of promises are made - only to be forgotten till the next election.

    How can we have better marketing in politics? For starters, we need to limit the number of political parties at the national and regional levels. This could be done by mandating a certain minimum percentage of popular votes to be considered a national or regional party. Over a period of time, we would do well to move toward a two-party system.

    The biggest problem that needs to be overcome is the lack of accountability. Organizations can be penalized for producing / supplying products of poor quality; they can be penalized for inadequate service. The only remedy available in politics is to vote for a change at the next election. By then, the damage would already have been done. Democracy badly needs the right to recall an elected representative. This might bring about a semblance of values and deliverables in what is otherwise a murky atmosphere.

    Equally important perhaps is to define the role of government. The most visible signs of progress have been achieved in areas where government has had little or no role to play - IT, BT, Communication. Therefore, we have a strong case for less of government and more of governance.

    As answers to your questions, from an emerging economy:

    Marketing by politicians and political parties as practiced now is doing more harm than good.

    The commercial market is certainly more democratic than political institutions. The commercial market does not tolerate inefficiency or poor service. Political institutions appear to tolerate them all the time.

    Warm Regards.

  • P.A. Habeeb Rahiman
    Marthoma College of Management & Technolocy, Kochi, Kerala, India.

    What differentiates Democracy from Business?

    Dear John A Quelch & Ms. Katherine Jocz,

    A relevant issue which can even test the very chemistry of democracy is put for conversation by releasing your book "Greater Good. How Good Marketing Makes for Better Democracy?"

    True, good marketing will bring in better democracy. But the moot question is whether politicians are prepared for Good Marketing?

    If we examine history, we could logically agree that Democracy is THE Best, compared to any other systems where the entire power is vested with the people. But what we witness over a period of time, that what is being administered as Democracy is not what it should be.

    In the final analysis, one could conclude that Good Democracy and Good Business are for the common Good of the Community.

    Coming back to Democracy, people, though they are to be treated as Customers, are seldom treated like that and as such they do not enjoy any of the wider powers a Customer possesses. A customer has several redressal mechanisms if the product does not perform what it promises. But in democracy, once elected the Politician becomes the master, whereas in business the Customer is the undisputed King at all points of time.

    The election manifestoes every politician released has value only till election and not after that, where as for a product the relevance of the manual of instruction / use becomes vital after the sales takes place.

    In democracy, after sales service is something unheard of. Once elected the leader becomes purely unapproachable, and all the promises he makes go with that.

    Finally, if Good Marketing can be introduced in Democracy, it will add value to democracy.

    But the real problems are:

    No politician would agree that Democracy is Business, though in reality it is.

    Democracy is being looked upon as s short term route to grab Power and not to serve people, whereas in Business ultimate purpose of every product is to offer service to customer.

    Too much relevance for branding in Democracy.

    A customer looks for Value for Money, before buying any product, whereas in democracy, his priorities are different.

    In short, the commercial marketplace is more democratic than political institutions. Politics is a big budget business, with only a short term strategy of coming to power, and unethical marketing has become quite common while marketing politics.


  • Francois Glemet
    Alumnus MBA 1974
    Director Emeritus
    McKinsey & Company

    The book written by professors Farris and Quelch some 20 years ago was one of my favourites. I thus tend to respect the opinions of the authors very much.

    Concerning marketing and democracy, yes, Ms. Jocz, the commercial marketplace IS more democratic than political institutions; however, this does not imply it is as democratic as it should be.

    In the commercial market place, the better educated and better informed have a clear advantage. They are more numerous in that marketplace than in the non-transparent world of politics, so the former "place" is more democratic than the latter. But let's be realistic, there are still many consumers who are lured (in the negative sense of the word) and led astray by shrewd marketers, looking for short-term results.

  • Sonia
    MBA Student

    when you look around we can realise the truth that marketing has found place in all relams of mankind and thus in politics also.

    Marketers actually provide information to the consumers,they motivate them to buy the product,offer them with wide range of choices etc.

    similarly,we also have wide range of parties,leaders motivate us to join their parties etc. the application of marketing in democracy,the people would get more information regarding parties and politics as a whole.

    today even in politics also several marketing techniques are being implemented.the best example is attack ads. marketing by politicians is a boon as well as a bane. the bane is that most of them provide false information and mislead the people.another negative is that they use illegal marketing techniques.

    what is exactly needed in politics is identifying the consumer needs and satisfying them.

  • Juliana Moretti

    The marketing that political candidates have used is not the true marketing in marketing management.

    We don't use pre-concepts to attack opponents, in marketing we think of the needs of the customer, when you know so much about the customer your product sells itself. The true marketing management just makes democracy strong; the bad application of the marketing strategic for people irresponsible just hurts the democracy and marketing.

  • Marvin H. Shaub
    Alumnus MBA 64
    Semi-retired, doctoral candidate
    Tilburg University (The Netherlands)

    With all due respect, I don't believe the processes are completely comparable. If you are marketing commodities or broadly used products or services then the situation is comparable to most elections where one has to make money go as far as possible, often dealing with multiple market segments that have different profiles of benefits that are appealing and it is winner take all. There are many marketing situations where a niche strategy is appropriate, either because your product or service appeals only to a certain segment or because you cannot afford a mainstream campaign. Thus you segment the marketplace and aim for a big share of a small constituency. In most instances that would be a formula insuring defeat in politics.

  • Anonymous

    Politicians who utilize marketing methods can use them for good or for negative purposes. Whether or not those marketing methods hurt or help depends on the perspective of the public. The public being the people who make up the democracy. All we see is one candidate using marketing practices to tear down and destroy the character of another human being. Now when we see that it projects an image that in order for one to stand out and win he must tear desinergrate the other person entirely. This is no way to teach a nation. Now the people these methods attract are the same people who would utilize the same tactics in their personal life. Since I choose not to use those practices to attract my crowd then I would have to say it hurts my democratic spirit.

  • Patti Kelly
    Reimbursement Specialist

    What I would like to see in Political Marketing is a factual spreadsheet of all the positives and negatives of each candidate. Right now I believe that the candidates are only standing out according to whomever their cheerleaders are as Obama with Oprah & Hillary with Bill. The people I have spoken with cannot define each candidate's platform. One friend said she is for Obama because he means change, but could not tell me one thing he would change. I think we all want change, but be careful what you pray for as you may just get it. How can anyone believe that the president alone can get all the troops home now or save the economy, etc.

    But the spin doctors are now creating false images for those who don't read and just go with the flow...I am so glad that I am a baby boomer and won't be around for another 20yrs to see the end of this movie at the rate we are going...I have loved my country for a long time but that love has lessened severely over the last decade or so....thanks, patti

  • Henry Maigurira
    Programe Co-ordinator
    MTK Corporate Solutions

    Commercial marketplaces overhaul deficient political systems. I am thinking in history of how civilisation and modernity have shaped the way we regard political instituions. If it were not for strong marketing and perfect economies of scale we would not have democratic political instituions and models.

    Simple economics principles allocate high costs of productivity and general high costs of consumer goods in an interest high inflationary economy as a sign of deeply embedded political flaws in instituions, either corruption, dictatorship, or gross anti-democratic ideal sentiments.

    Reverting to the topic of marketing and democracy, people naturally view human capital as means to make value of what is available in a competitive society: this means agents of reciprocity in the information age have to mutually coincide at a leadership level in all aspects of commerce and political governance. After all, democracy allows individuals to maximise their potential in free society, therefore dichotomising legitimate boundaries for adequate cost measures.

    Industries are interlinked and knowledge sharing has become a developmental aspect of a trasnient point in bringing fruits of labour to people. What is important is the acknowledgement of best practise in the democratision of political institutions that are automatically self-governed by market performances. A good example would be global consensus on Anticorruption and Combating of Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism.

    A utopianist would say that marketing in democracy is not only necessary but achievable, with overwhelming result to the poor. The necessary drive lacking for redress in global democracies is evident in the potential of labour ... and markets are flexible enough to determine a general cost of living that affords health care, education, affordable food prices and access to technology at low cost across the globe.

    Political parties and politicians have a duty to lead a democratic society in a free manner and defend freedom for democracy.

  • Joseph Mello
    Product Manager

    Two very good questions are posed. I'd like to comment first on one aspect of Ms. Jocz question. She suggests that the marketplace is focused on self-interest, but that politics is focused on the common good. In my view, politics as practiced by elected officials is also focused on self-interest. This breaks down somewhat differently between the 535 elected congressmen (plus the President & VP) versus other government officials. Elected officials are very much engaged in activities that hinge on self-interest. Even when focusing on issues of concern to all people, elected officials will build in and exploit components to the solution that benefit themselves.

    This situation is complicated because "self-interest" for an elected official extends to the businesses and organizations that sponsor them and that they represent (this can be different than the public). The public at large is a secondary recipient of the benefaction of government -- from the perspective of elected officials. The common man is more often a justification for debating a bill's merits than the driving force behind the legislative act. In short, the marketplace is more democratic than politics.

    One problem I see inherent in the first question posed by Professor Quelch is that better marketing of laws or programs does not necessarily translate into better laws. Better marketing may make them more palpable, but not necessarily ensure that the best solutions become law. Marketing of legal and governmental programs should enable clearer and more spirited debate about the issues. Unfortunately, the organization or governmental body that pays for the marketing can put their spin on the message. I know of no totally impartial way to discuss politics, because someone always has to judge either the message that gets delivered, or can affect the channels of distribution.

    Thank You, Joseph Mello

  • Dave Bath

    If politicians were subject to "truth in advertising"/"false advertising" regulations that apply to commercial products, then outcomes for citizens would be greatly improved.

  • Pranav Awasthi
    Project Lead

    While for marketing as a function in political space it is more dependent on entry time and exit time, more or less with fixed boundaries to make choices. Benefits realized from such marketing can be experienced only after the decisions are made. Although such marketing helps sharing information to common man, the outcome of his decisions can be experienced only over a period of time. Moreover, in the political marketing arena a user does not have many options to revisit decisions over a given period of time, so one has to live with the consequences of decisions that groups make. Also to highlight in political marketing, someone's gain is always others' loss, so if there is one section benefited by such political marketing another section can be impacted.

    While in commercial marketing the component of direct self interest seems high, it can be transformed more easily by consumers in a lesser time span and an individual decision does not effect the common benefits to be received by a section of society.

    To close, in my personal opinion, any marketing engagements have personal self interest, and in commercial marketing a consumer has more authority to cast change at any given point of time; while in political marketing, although the information flow increases, opportunity to revisit the decision is frozen over a period of time. So after a consumer has made choices, another opportunity to exercise options is parked in future, so it becomes highly eccentric towards marketers' self interest.

    These thoughts and opinions are mine as an individual.

  • Jimmy Toriola
    American Interconental University

    Marketing and Democracy

    To me, Marketing by Politicians and Political parties can only help and not hurts democracy. What is democracy? According to Abraham Lincoln; he said that "Democracy is the rule by the people and for the people".

    What is marketing? Marketing is said to be the process of planning and executing the conception, pricing, promotion and distribution of ideas, and services to create exchange that satisfy individual and organization goal. (

    Politicians and Political Parties had seen that without marketing their candidates, they can not be fully recognized or known.

    Marketing helps to promotes the candidates and introduce him or her to the world at large. What marketing does it that it creates a brand name for the candidates and allows the consumer to know whom they are dealing with. Nobody wants to buy what they don't know.

    Democracy works well, where people have choice and the ability to make that choice in their candidates. We don't want a situation whereby our leader will be impose on us as a nation. We are a civilized nation. We want to share in the process of electing our leaders.

    Marketing and Democracy go hand in hand, and one cannot do without the other.

  • Niti Vidyarthi
    A N College, Patna

    In a country like India, Marketing during elections is hyped up propaganda and millions are spent in this area. It acts as a two edged sword where the consumer (the electorate) doesn't have a redressal mechanism.

    In a country which still faces illiteracy, many of the leaders have used the situation to advantage, using wrong methods of Marketing that have sent some states on the backfoot. Democracy is not just about elections; it has a wider perspective as well which goes beyond elections.

    India is vibrant and growing but the pace could have been much more if our leaders indulged in better and honest marketing.

  • Driss Tsouli

    the common point between democracy and marketing is the "state of mind" and both of them are limited. for example democracy prefers positive law and this law is making by humains and we know that humains are not rational. marketing is limited because it doesnt anticipate the needs of consumers. so we are invited to redefine these concepts. i propose to replace democracy by concertation (choura in islam). and introducing in marketing some techniques of prevision.

  • Sudheer Reddy Mukku 2 year
    sastra university

    Good morning to all the HBS community who inspires the world by their innovative skills that they teach and learn and for their fore-sightedness in the world of human industry.

    According to me, marketing and democracy are are two sides of a coin that does not have any value if either of them do not exist.

    Democracy is that which provides free access to the people, so that for marketing an open window is created.

    Coming to the political form of marketing, it is the way in which the political party or candidate uses it to reach the people, and forward their ideas and their motives.

  • Giles Crouch
    Managing Partner

    I believe marketing is truly successful when the buyer does their purchase evaluation. Especially with products that have a longer life cycle and are considered big ticket - like a car. Most people will own a car for about 4 years, the length of a political cycle. During this phase, they will evaluate the car based on how they use it and how the car performs (perhaps this is a bad analogy) in different situations and weather.

    In political terms, politicians have become very good at marketing during campaigns. Good politicians and political parties could use better marketing practices during their tenure in office. The US is an excellent example of democracy in action, and applying marketing during the time in office, not just prior to an election might bode them well when election time comes. This is Retention Marketing. The second primary objective of marketing is "keep the customer" and so this should be part of the best practices employed. This applies I think to Canadian, British and American politics.

  • Moderator

    Note: Comments below are in response to new questions posed by faculty on April 23, 2008.

  • nelavalli naresh
    sastra university

    Democracy is that which provides free access to the people by way of sharing their ideas and thoughts. Marketing is one of the modern ways of reaching people to share their ideas in the developed communities.

    Though the costs of marketing are higher as it is the fastest way of communication through the developed technologies and helps in mass communication.

    It also helps in creating brand value to the particular person. People can be known by what exactly he or she wanted to do.

  • Ajay Jayarajan

    I do not completely agree with the underlying assumption that the critical difference between market place exchanges and political exchanges is that the former rests on the idea of self interest and the latter on a more idealistic common good.

    I believe that the driving force of the decision in both cases is self interest.

    However that being said, when we look at the dynamic of the decision making process there is not much of a difference. Both commercial and political decisions are made on an individual basis shaped by the quantity and quality of information available to each individual.

    Whether it be political marketing or commercial marketing, the winner is the one who can push the maximum amount of positive information to the maximum number of people. It is rightly about creating perceptions.

    Whether it be Apple promising to "Think Different" or Clinton downing shots , it's all the same thing. The consumers act in their best interest after acquiring enough information to make a decision either in a commercial or political setting. In a commercial setting, the consumer is able to make a decision that directly affects their quality of life depending on the decision they make. However in a political setting, the consumer's quality of life is affected, not only by the decision made by him but also by the decision made by the people around him. Since the decision is made depending on the amount of information made available.

    I would have to conclude that the candidate with higher resources has the capacity to shape opinion better than one with lower resources. The definition of democracy is a social or political setting in which the majority decides for the group. Thus, this leads me to believe that the commercial marketplace is both individualistic and democratic at the same time. While the political institution although in theory is democratic, in practice is more oligarchical.

    However, there is a fundamental difference between a political sale and a commercial one.

    In a commercial sale, the consumer has more immediate forms of redress. If the product is not what it is marketed to be. You either go to consumer courts or appeal to the brand keepers who will move to redress the consumer complaint quickly, since future sales depends on the maintenance of positive perception and they can not afford negative information to permeate. The process of commercial success is a 24*7 continuous one.

    In a political sale, the consumer does have forms of redress. However they are more winding and complicated. In most cases the consumer is tied in for a long period of time within which the winner of the political sale is in a position to affect future perceptions.

    Since this is the case, there is capacity of great harm by giving a free hand to political marketing. Although marketing is about the flow of information, the information send out can be negative. At the end of the day its about information that most effectively shapes perception. By having gross inequalities in the resources of competing candidates, one would actually be destroying democracy by giving free hand to political marketing.

    In conclusion, the commercial market place is more democratic than political institutions. And yes, political marketing in the absence of a code of conduct or strong ethical framework will hurt democracy if it has not already.

  • Adrian Grigoriu
    Enterprise Consultant

    Since marketing is unavoidable in an election environment, it should be regulated to eliminate bias towards the rich, the powerful and the mean. In fact, making a parallel, the jurors in a trial, are insulated from prejudice instilled by the press or any other sources. Since this is not quite possible, the voters should be offered balanced information through marketing by imposition of regulation. This is so important in comparison with the commercial regulation since the consequences of having made the wrong decision would dictate the future of your region, country and world.

  • Yusuf Capar
    Alumnus MBA 2005

    There should be standards and regulations for political marketing.

    I agree with many people that think political marketing is a part of democracy. However, it seems like there can be marketing that is not giving people any more useful information but is misleading people. Therefore, there should be some restrictions on certain types of marketing. I don't think it makes sense to have too many restrictions on content, which is possible in commercial marketing. The main reason is it will be hard to have an unbiased body that makes judgments. Even if you could find an unbiased body, it would be procedurally ineffective to do it. There would be too much litigation and it might slow down the process.

    It seems like having restrictions on the amount of advertising or resources spent can be effective. There are restrictions on campaign donations for example, and I don't hear many people complaining that they can not donate enough to a campaign.

    At the same time, it seems like the people that make these rules usually like fundraising and marketing aggressively. Therefore, they wouldn't really want to change anything, would they?

  • Vijai Caprihan
    Sr. Lecturer
    Dayalbagh Educational Institute, Agra, India

    Largely marketing by political candidates and political parties hurts democracy because there are no established norms about advertising ethical codes for political parties/candidates. Parties largely advertise highlights of their political agenda. The question is: Is this what the consituency wants? Are political parties segmenting and targeting markets? Are they atall marekting or just selling their promises? In todays time, a commercial marketplace is certainly more democratic than political institutions.

  • Anneal

    Marketing is used not only in a democracy but also in the other forms of governance (dictatorial, communist, socialist..), or shall we just refer to it as propaganda.

    In the strictest sense of the definition of marketing most of the forms of governments and their consumers, witting, willing or unwilling will benefit from the exchange of information contained in the "marketed materials" upon rational analysis which may produce conformance or non-conformance.

    I agree that in a democratic society we need to adhere to certain set of standards for truth etc else it becomes a sheer battle of funds and leverages.

    A democracy would be assisted greatly if a neutral consortium did the quality control but then we would be sacrificing some freedom for this process. Perhaps multi-party plus oversight process.

    This leads to the commercial process which is regulated therefore providing a relative quality level for the communications.

    It is interesting to note that pharmaceutical marketing that bombards consumers relentlessly to the extent of making each one of us into hypochondriacs is of questionable benefit or perhaps even detremental to US. Many of the other democracies have curtailed this practice for the greater good.

    On the list of top 10 free countries (democracies) the US is generally near the bottom. Regulation leads to curtailing freedom but can be viewed as societally good. The gestalt created in a controlled environment is driven by the beliefs of the populace in that environment and not the outsiders. (To the people of Amsterdam, NYC or LA may look like a police state, conversely Amsterdam may look like a society in decline).

  • Ravi Prakash

    For me, democracy is something which includes the views of everyone and reaches to those who were left somewhere. Making informed choices is also part of democratic processes. Marketing helps the company or service provider to raise awareness among masses about their products or services but still the choice of purchases or rendering services is on sole discretion of the public. But this situation is assumption of ideal market. Think about a market where, there are limited products (one or two), of a similar type, and consumers have to consume it, then what happen....

    In a similar type situation where there are limited choices with citizen to elect/select their representative(s), marketing only helps political parties to sale their ideas, through good or bad marketing techniques, but the condition of citizen would be always worse off.

    For developing countries there are several issues which have been always kept alive by politicians to be in centre of power or next to it. Underprivileged people, who constitute the maximum part of vote-bank, have been sold a dream about their better off (through marketing mechanics) but in reality they have been divided on the name of caste, religion etc.

    It is also true that if a political party highlighted themselves and defames another, some basic information reaches to mass about actual situation. In my opinion there should be redressal mechanism to address the concerns of the citizen as in commercial marker where if a consumer purchases a product and find it inferior, then he/she can go for a complaint.

  • rohit prakash

    Healthy Marketing is possible only for standardized material/products .... If we give freedom for marketing of the product and there is no further check, one will start saying anything for their product, deviating much from its actual quality.

    A similar situation may arise for the case of marketing by politicians and political parties. Since there is no further check of whether they are strict on their commitment or deviating much, marketing by politicians and political parties may not give genuine output. Thus, the final output of marketing by politicians and political parties will be based on their marketing strategy, not on actual merit.

  • Farooq Ahmed
    Head of Retail Sales
    UBL Funds

    Marketing is a science entailing systems and set of tools that can be employed by any person or entity, good or bad, poor or rich to put across the contents. Contents if bought can help a person or hurt a person. But there is no debate that this marketing be not used. Politicians and political parties are selling the ideas and services to fulfill the people's needs, want and demands both at macro and micro levels. Therefore, inevitable to engage in marketing. However, as in commercial landscape where stake holders operate under certain regulated and self implied code of conduct to abstain from misleading the users of the message, the political communications are left to voter's scrutiny.

    Politicians all over the world have one tendency i.e. politics of obscuring meaning keeping eyes, ears and mind away from the core matters. They very cleverly cultivate an obscuring environment whereby audiences get swayed to their rhetoric's.

    Democracy means entities be allowed to write and say things and entities be allowed to read and listen to things. As the stages progress to attain maturity, filtrations start kicking in leading towards authenticity, clarity and transparency. This means marketing which primarily means communication was there since inception of mankind and too much part of the history, marketing has been consciously or unconsciously employed by people for trade and wars.

    As humans progressed particularly the west, political marketing has come out as a specialized academic gesture. Marketing does help democracy as it gives tools to both (politics, political parties and voters) to reach and analyze quickly. But one thing is to be kept in mind that marketing will not produce good politicians but democracy.

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  • John A. Quelch
    Lincoln Filene Professor of Business Administration
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    Research Associate

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