Table of Contents
Social and political marketing is a phenomenon that has been used for influencing a group of individuals to accept a particular idea (Newman, 2012). The concept of social and political marketing has been used across the world as a way of influencing individuals, groups, and societies. The social marketing strategies have transformed communities around the world (Towner & Dulio, 2012). For example, the public health campaigners have used critical approaches to convince individuals to adopt healthy living styles. Today, there are many politicians and societal groups whose actions are determined by marketing strategies. For instance, the United States’ Democrats and Republicans use strategic political marketing techniques to win elections. According to Lange-Faria and Elliot (2012), the concept of social marketing is deeply rooted in economic and social reforms.
On the other hand, the political campaign aims to enhance political change. The two aspects have become increasingly important in the modern world. They aim at informing the people about the different things to make the best decisions about them and the society. The social marketing approach seeks to influence individuals to behave in a certain way by informing them about the advantages and demerits of certain activities. On the other hand, political marketing aims to influence the public to vote for a vying legislator. These individuals use current issues to gain popularity in the society. However, the process is fraudulent since most people have little information about the legislators and their parties. Besides, the voters believe in what they hear from the politicians, which is not necessarily true. In fact, most of the individuals vying only intend to get the political jobs and do not have the interests of the people at heart most times.
It is believed that social marketing has been in existence since 1970. The concept uses campaigns to influence societies across the world to accept some ideas. Lefebvre (2012) posits that such campaigns are often used to achieve social improvements. Social marketing processes have been used in many areas including health, politics, and, education. They have offered organisations and institutions cheaper alternatives to public information campaigns. Through social marketing, people have gained extensive knowledge in different areas.
Health Campaigns and Social Marketing
Social marketing remains one of the fundamental pillars of public health campaigns. The concept has sustained the art of strategic campaigns that seek to promote healthy behaviours among individuals. Skarmeas and Leonidou (2013) contend that over the years, the social marketing campaigns have helped in discouraging unhealthy behaviours among populations. The social campaign strategies have also facilitated easier ways of disseminating information to larger communities (Arnett & Wittmann, 2014). Through successful social marketing campaigns, there have been robust improvements in the social lives of individuals, which make the concept critical in dispatching knowledge.
Social marketing has various principles that define the roles and tasks to be achieved with the campaigns through strategic communication (Gordon, 2012). Such initiatives are designed to spread knowledge across larger populations, change attitudes of individuals on specific social issues, and alter their behaviours as well as to spread the messages for social change. For example, campaigns against tobacco use rely on strategic social marketing campaigns. In fact, public health officers have adopted strategic communication campaigns that are aimed at reducing tobacco use (Skarmeas & Leonidou, 2013). Social Marketing Campaigns against drugs and drug abuse have reduced the consumption of drugs and tobacco across many countries. As such, sustained marketing campaigns are carried out; and individuals are made to believe that there are some harmful effects of drugs including tobacco and alcohol. The intention of such marketing campaigns is to influence behavioural patterns in the consumers.
To ensure that social marketing campaigns are effective, they must be able to engineer social change. For example, at the end of a certain campaign, consumption of alcohol must be perceived by the consumers as a harmful social habit that hass ome health consequences (Arnett and Wittmann, 2014). To influence the consumer perceptions on alcohol consumption, public health campaigners show the consumers some of the negative effects of the substance. Social marketing campaigns use images that show how dangerous alcohol and drugs. For instance, images of serious accidents or diseases can be used to dissuade the consumers against alcohol. In this manner, the campaigns help in ensuring that individuals understand the adverse effects of consuming alcohol or tobacco. They must further understand the benefits of abstaining from these products (Lefebvre 2012). Although the social marketing procedures create tension with their campaigns, they modify how individuals perceive them. For example, it helps people to make choices between the social good and individual freedoms.
Unlike the commercial marketing campaigns, the social approaches have several advantages, for instance, facilitating change across a larger group of the population compared to commercial campaigns (Lange-Faria and Elliot, 2012). Additionally, the social marketing processes are relatively probable compared to other for-profit strategies. They are not as excited as commercial marketing strategies as they run on smaller budgets. They are summative as they seek to achieve an overall result.
Role and Benefits of Social Marketing
Although social marketing is not regarded as a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), it helps in marketing good reputations and goals. The purpose of the process is to help individuals transform their behaviours for the better (Skarmeas and Leonidou, 2013). Ideally, social marketing campaigns have helped public health practitioners to improve the lives of individuals in many societies. The strategies employed are meant to introduce behaviour insights that aid in the improvement of human behaviours. This process also allows people to make critical social choices that can improve their livelihoods. The campaigns help in reducing behaviours such as smoking, violence, drug abuse, environmental pollution, as well as the spread of disease. Also, the marketing campaigns assist in improving public safety, controlling birth rates, and enhancing the overall livelihood of individuals.
Newman (2012) explains that political marketing is designed to influence consumers about the existing issues. The strategy has remained a primary tool used by leaders to popularise and spread public matters. In the recent past, political marketing has become famous as most politicians have considered it to be the primary campaign tool (Cwalina, Falkowski and Newman, 2012). In fact, politicians have been able to gain popularity using strategic campaign techniques.
According to Towner and Dulio (2012), politician-voter relationships have been enhanced through effective political marketing techniques. Although most of the aspiring legislators have gained popularity through political marketing, studies have established a close link between the concept and profit for societies. Political parties across the world have also gained much from the approach. Towner and Dulio (2012) reiterate that some individuals and organisations have used the political campaign strategies to acquire voter trust. The political marketing strategies market political parties, individuals, or philosophies (Armstrong et al. 2015). There are no products often sold during political marketing campaigns, for instance, Republicans may choose to promote their President through the Mass Media or televisions to be more relevant to their voters.
Role of Political Marketing
In the modern world, politics have taken a newer dimension by forcing politicians to be more convincing in their campaigns. Besides, competitions have become more heated, which has influenced many to seek robust concepts to promote their policies, philosophies, and parties (Cwalina, Falkowski and Newman, 2012). However, there are suggestions that most voters do not know about the party policies and information. Okan and Akyüz (2014) acknowledge that most voters are often duped to believe in vague policies and philosophies by various parties. Nevertheless, the hazy party impressions are used in political marketing campaigns to convince citizens.
The popularity of parties and politicians depend on the effectiveness of the marketing campaigns. Ideally, most voters believe in what they hear and see in political marketing events. Therefore, the marketing concepts help politicians by making them more dominant and accessible compared to those that do not promote their parties and philosophies (Towner and Dulio, 2012). Republicans and Democrats often use radical methods to ensure that voters believe in them. Therefore, their campaign approaches must include selling a brand which appeals to the voters. Political marketing campaigns are considered easier to carry out compared to other because many voters do not know much about legislators. The ignorance of the citizens makes the events cheaper and easier to execute. Besides, most of the decisions that voters make depend on what they hear from the legislators.
Individuals vying for various positions treat politics as a commodity and the citizens as the consumers. Okan and Akyüz (2014) indicate that these individuals use the theory of consumer sovereignty to achieve their objectives (Maarek, 2014). It is also believed that the political market is efficient since it has fewer impediments compared to commercial campaigns. Legislators assume that consumers are in control of their personal decisions and that they know what is good for them. For instance, President Jefferson Kennedy was convinced that most voters know what is right and therefore would choose him. He therefore branded and marketed himself as the right choice for the Americans. However, the political marketing campaign is meant to influence the thoughts of the voters (Armstrong et al. 2015). Since there is freedom of making choices, the political market is considered efficient. In this case, voters believe that there is a democracy. It is also assumed that the consumers are always right. Despite the influence of the politicians, the campaign concept states that the voters are independent of external domination. However, political marketing influences them indirectly to control the political choices they make.
Despite having the political will to choose freely, the voters are exposed to vague information about legislators and their parties. Newman (2012) postulates that, the lack of accurate knowledge makes voters less independent and dominant. As much as consumers have the sovereign power to make political choices, they are denied the right to information on politicians and their parties.
Reinforcement of dominant frames
According to the model of reinforcing the dominant structures, voters have attitudes and beliefs on various political parties and philosophies. The framework states that campaigns are only meant to strengthen the pre-existing positions that the voters have on the politicians and their political parties. Holmes et al. (2012) indicate that when the legislators manage to consolidate the votes, they only confirm the prior socialisation. Therefore, political marketing campaigns remind and reaffirm the beliefs that the voters have on various parties and philosophies (Davis 2013).
Nonetheless, political marketing campaigns are necessary for the creation of the desired impressions and brands for the legislators. For instance, the Democrats in America used President Obama’s impression as a sign of hope for the voters. After a long period of oppression for the black people in the US, President Obama was perceived to be the only hope for voters. Besides, many individuals vote for the opinions that they are exposed to through the political campaigns, even if their decisions are made on the basis of assumptions only (Shehata, 2014).
In political marketing, the volatility of an opinion is more relevant compared to the facts. To be popular, the thoughts of the voter must be adopted and used as the dominant ideas in the campaign. The public opinions are tapped and owned by the politicians to help lure the consumers to vote them (Van Dalen, 2012). The consumer opinions are used in setting the agenda for the political marketing campaigns (Shehata, 2014). After surveys and researched polls, the politicians employ lobbyists to influence the voters. The political marketing campaign remains one of the best strategies to acquire political dominance.
Both social and political marketing can cause critical changes in politics and societies. Marketing has remained common among the politicians as it helps them to popularize and advertise their political philosophies. On the other side, Social marketing has helped in the transformation of societies as well as individuals within various societies. Ideally, social and political marketing have been used to influence the way individuals perceive social behaviours as well as politics. Although studies have indicated that not all the marketing processes effectively achieve the desired results, most of the consumers and voters believe that marketing is a source of critical information; and these marketing drives influence their judgement on many issues. This is the reason politicians have used political marketing to convince voters to vote for them. The social marketing campaigns have also successfully influenced how individuals perceive information. As such, the social and political marketing campaigns have both improved the behaviours and perceptions of many people around the globe.
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