Essence of political marketing lies on the corresponding the marketing and political concepts. This is the only way to make the vast knowledge in marketing techniques find its usefulness in political arena.
Thus, as starting points I would like to direct the attention to the very definition of marketing which is : Exchange at value. Marketing can be seen as an effort or process to create exchange which is beneficial for both buyers and sellers. Without the mutual benefit, it just plainly a fraud. The next important questions are actually, what is the product? Who is the seller? Who is the buyer? What is the benefit for each other?
The first fallacy occurs when many think that the products are the candidates. The media agencies treat the candidates as the product to sell. Thus, the campaign is centered around those narcissistic babies. But what the babies are good for? What will we as voters get out of it?
The second fallacy occurs when the politicians think the position/ offices as the product. They are willing to pay to get the position. Thus, we see the money politics as manifestation of this line of thinking. They bribe the voters to elect them.
We have to start thinking that public policies as the product in political arena. The policies can be in the forms of laws, bills or government regulations. These are the things that valuable for the voters because it can affect how they live their lives.
Only after we can see policies as the product we can appreciate the marketing implication of it.
The sellers of course the political parties. Upon realizing their roles, now they should focus their effort to produce draft of laws, bills or government regulations. Indonesia had been run by Soeharto for quite long period where the draft of laws and bills used to come from government. Political parties were used only for legitimation. It is too easy too forget that the true roles of political parties. Especially among politician who think the political position as the main reasons why they enter politics. We need to get it back to what it should.
The buyers of course is the voters. They buy the policies with their votes and tax money when they think the policies can improve their quality of life. People need to be educated on this. We need to raise awareness that our taxes pay for the public policies. It is stupid to pay for things that we don not want.
Looking at policies as a product also has marketing consequences. We should acknowledge the marketing fact that no product can satisfy all of the customers. That’s why we have competing products in the free market. Analog to that, in democratic countries we have many competing parties on the basis they have different draft of policies. Thus, the focus on every political campaign should be articulation of the policies in the most persuasive ways.
The term positioning in the marketing has similar role to ideology in the political arena. It serves as the short cut to win the battle in the customers mind. However, the consistency between promise in the positioning and product delivery is the key for loyalty. That is also true for political parties. But what do we get where every political parties have the same ideological stance? Indifference. That is what we actually have today. People are sick to politics because what we see is: No good crooks hungry for power.
In conclusion, political marketing should be directed to the articulation of ideologies in terms of public policies. Only then we can get benefit from the various marketing techniques in political arena.