Business Lecture: Marketing Insights into the 2015 General Election

Political marketing is very different from business marketing and most MP’s, party leaders and their political advisers are not all that good at it. Plus they need to learn a lot more about social media. These were some of the conclusions presented to Marketors’ by three experts on marketing and politics at our Business Lecture in June at the London Capital Club.

Freeman Professor Paul Baines, who is Professor of Political Marketing at Cranfield School of Management, started by pointing out that unlike in the United States, there is no political campaign management school for would-be politicians and party advisers, in Europe.  He thinks there should be.

Our second speaker, Roger Mortimer, who is Professor of Public Opinion and Political Analysis at King’s College London and Director of Political Analysis at Ipsos MORI, told us the General  Election had left him with two main impressions:

  • Firstly : this election was, far less than usual, a clash between Labour and Conservative and this meant in political marketing terms that some votes were much more important than others.
  • Secondly: There were three separate target markets for different voters approached in different ways.   These were: Conservative –Labour marginal seats in England and Wales,  LibDem seats, and seats in Scotland.

Politicians have a lot to learn about voters and social media, according to our third speaker former academic, Dr Rachel Lawes, Partner of Lawes Gadsby Semiotics LLP, and one of the world’s best known commercial semioticians.  Semiotics has two components: linguistics and anthropology and is used in market research to investigate consumer culture worldwide. Dr Lawes concluded her analysis; “The next round of online election campaigning needs to address young and digital audiences in a way that is much closer to the way they are already using the internet.”

This was a meeting packed with insights and we were definitely left with the feeling that political marketing is a very inexact science.

Liveryman Roz Morris

A longer version of this article, providing full insights from the lecture will appear in a future edition of Marketor

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