Political marketing : an Irish investigation
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The following document provides an investigation on political marketing. To facilitate this, a number o f areas in the parent domain o f marketing are first looked to, as they build the foundations for understanding the origins and evolution o f political marketing. In this particular study there is a concentration on the Irish political domain and while the secondary desk research incorporated a global experience o f the marketing typology the primary research is specific to Ireland. Marketing has received criticism for its validity in the political domain but it was clear in the study its strategic potential is continually being recognised. The internet was a major focus in the research as it was deemed to be pivotal in the marketplace by the researcher. The primary research took the form o f in depth interviews with key personnel o f the Irish political parties chosen for the study, namely the Green Party, Fianna Fail and Fine Gael. These interviews were recorded and analysed for the purpose o f the research. A number o f issues were highlighted through the interviews. While countries like America are moving toward a world o f political marketing consultants Irelands political scene is still predominantly made up o f volunteers and activists and many o f the parties are reliant on the expertise o f its members. While all parties made claim to having a marketing philosophy and mindset in place, others such as the Fianna Fail respondent were dismissive o f voters being involved at every level, which he believed a complete marketing philosophy to entail. The internet featured more in parties such as the Greens while Fine Gael were experimenting with what the internet had to offer, but Fianna Fail were critical o f the opportunities in this technology. The second part o f the primary research involved looking to the consumer side of politics. Within this a questionnaire was administered among three samples o f voters; one questionnaire was self administered on O Connell street Sligo, another was administered via email to an average internet user group and the third sample involved in the research were respondents to a link to the questionnaire which was placed on an Irish politics site. The three samples were strategically selected so there would be a holistic collection o f voter’s perceptions. Interestingly while not many respondents agreed they had already used the internet to contact a pojitician many agreed they would consider it in the future. While the secondary research had identified online news channels as the main source o f political information for internet 3 users, the research specific to Ireland highlighted that Irish users first choice were party political sites, then You Tube and finally news channels. As manipulation o f the media and how candidates are portrayed via this external media was a key feature in the marketplace, an opportunity was identified for Irish political party’s to reach their target market directly via their websites. As a result o f this the author composed the political marketing sphere (adopted from the political marketing triangle Kotler 1994) which illustrates the main marketing uses in Irish politics. The internet can be seen at the middle o f the diagram as an interactive, inter connective medium that creates an opportunity for Irish politics.
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