Tuesday, April 22, 2014

2014 Election Proves- Marketing Matters

                       2014 Election Proves- Marketing  Matters                               
                 Indian election to Parliament 2014 is in full swing. In elections political actors and parties sell social products to voters. Voters are market and catch for politicians. Projects, programs, promises, good governance, new welfare policies, ideas and schemes are social products. National and regional parties are having marketable social products. But if marketing is weak, product would not be sold. Modi’s marketing lead is acknowledged by his competitors.
                  The marketer E. Jerme McCarthy proposed 4P classification in 1960. Since then, it is in use worldwide.  4P marketing model is well known. 4P stands for product, price, promotion and place. This 4P model is product oriented. With fast changing situation, taste and technology, orientation is also changing- from product to consumer. In the 1990's 4C concept was introduced. There are two theories: first is Lauterborn's 4C is consumer, cost, communication, convenience; second is Shimizu's 4C is commodity, cost, communication, and channel.
                Marketing word was monopolised by commercial market.  In 1969, Levy and Kotler suggested that in addition to economic products and services, the concept of marketing is applicable to the marketing of persons, organisations, and ideas.
                 Political marketing is the process by which political candidates and ideas are directed at the voters in order to satisfy their political needs and thus gain their support for the candidate and ideas in question. The marketing concepts are quite applicable to political marketing. Admittedly, by focusing on the decision marketing approach to voter behaviour, other popular approaches were not given any exposure.
                 The primary aim of political warfare is to win votes, by building preference and shaping perception. The challenge of preference building has to be accomplished in a short of time. This is not classic marketing warfare; marshalling the 4Ps. Marketing in politics is more about the 4Cs than 4Ps.
                 Constituency is the equivalent of local markets in marketing. It is crucial for parties to think differently of the 543 Lok Sabha constituencies.
“Think national but choose local" is the best strategy, similar to brand marketing campaigns.
                 Comparative advertising is the cornerstone of political marketing. The idea is to portray competitors in an unfavourable way without being perceived as attacking them. Political advertising does this by creating FUD: fear, uncertainty, and doubt.
                 The U.S. Federal Election Commission finds that 2014 general election in India is projected to cost about $5 billion, making it the costliest election ever in India and the second most expensive campaign in world history, behind only the 2012 U.S. presidential election, which cost some $7 billion. 
                  The huge sum marks India’s entrance into big-time election expenditures as well as the emergence of sophisticated Western-style campaigning, fund-raising and the domination of social media in politics.       
               According to the Centre for Media Studies, an Indian think-tank, the $5 billion price tag for the Indian election will be about triple the amount of money spent by Indian candidates in the 2009 general election.
               Part of this spike can be explained by inflation, but also by the fact that politicians seek to appeal to a younger, tech-savvy Indian electorate with more easily accessible campaign venues, more television commercials, digital marketing efforts, closed-circuit live broadcasts of rallies and increased social media and Internet content.
                 Narendra Modi, the visionary leader of the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party, is especially keen on the use of social media to attract young voters, while the incumbent Congress party has “started spending on digital, which it never did in 2009.”
               Indeed, Modi has been campaigning since last year, aggressively crisscrossing the country to give speeches in front of huge, adoring crowd.          His excellent marketing plan and media management are keeping him in lead.  Social media and 3D modern tool are his new marketing weapons to have lead against his competitors. Unlike others, he is managing his campaign on world-class selling techniques and managements. Above all, his advance planning and start leaves other adversaries behind.
                      He is first in 3D technology’s use worldwide. He is the first to use this technology in his assembly election of Gujarat in 2012. Now this experimented tool is a marketing boon for him in his ongoing election. This proves him an innovator and attracts young and net savvy voters. No other country and leader used it. Hence, he is showing the political marketing way to world leaders.
                    Social media came in limelight in 2008 US election. It helped Obama in making him President. After this, this new media as political marketing  tool is getting ground gradually world map. Recent Delhi assembly election proved its might in Indian elections. AAP used it like Obama and Arvind Kejriwaal became Chief Minister within a year of one year old party.
                    Though all parties have realised its potential, but Modi is ahead among all in using it as selling tool. He copied Obama's social media model. As a result, the tool helped him a lot in making his image. Modi uses social media to connect and engage with high class gentry who are net savvy. 
                      He is making favourable opinion by social media. His social media use is well calibrated and planned like Obama election of 2008. These two marketing tools are keeping him always ahead of others in race.
                      In internet age, old style of campaign and election management is getting obsolete gradually. Those who are relying more on old style are lagging. Here Modi is unmatched. He started his campaign long back in September 2011 with his much-hyped three -day fast for communal harmony. After this, he is campaigning non-stop. His election and campaign management is world-class with respect to Indian standard. 
                      Modi and Nitish, as chief minister Gujarat and Bihar respectively have been running a long battle to capture the national imagination with their respective "governance models". The growth acceleration in Gujarat seems to owe more to the opening up of the Indian economy than to Modi's rule.
                       Modi ensured that economy did not lose steam by choosing wise economic policies but his performance is driving growth pales in comparison to Nitish. Weak marketing of Nitish is not fetching favourable results. While his social product is comparable or better than that of Modi's..
                    During an interview with a TV channel, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi said “BJP is better in marketing its campaign. But for us our strength is amongst the poor. Their (BJP) marketing is good. But our work is better than them.” Mostly national and regional parties and political actors are acknowledging this directly or indirectly.                                   
                   Modi’s marketing, world class campaign managing, early starting and new technology tools are chariots to keep Modi in lead not BJP. It is Modi’s marketing which is pulling big crowds in his meetings. Well and accurate planning has provided time space to cover more meetings and constituencies is a very tight schedule.
                   As of now, it is visible that it is Marketing which helped BJP and Modi to build-up a conducive environment in his favour. Others are also having comparable social products. But due to poor marketing, they all are lagging far behind in political gains.
                  Modi is selling primarily two social products. First is good governance and second is development. He developed these two product in a state level market. But, he is able to sell these state level product in a national market. He is  doing  this by his marketing acumen. This proves political marketing matters in  Indian elections.

Heera Lal (views are personal and academic, based on different sources)

1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marketing_mix
2. http://www.acrwebsite.org/search/view-conference-proceedings.aspx?Id=12061
3. http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2013-10-14/news/43032070_1_political-advertising-pm-candidate-marketing
4. http://www.ibtimes.com/indias-2014-election-cost-5-billion-second-only-price-tag-2012-us-presidential-election-1570668
5. http://www.deccanchronicle.com/140413/nation-politics/article/bjp-all-about-marketing-rahul-gandhi
7. http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2013-04-22/news/38736125_1_bjp-mlas-gujarat-model-nitish-model