Internal party political relationship marketing

Encouraging activism amongst local party members

Authored by: Robin T. Pettitt

Routledge Handbook of Political Marketing

Print publication date:  November  2011
Online publication date:  March  2012

Print ISBN: 9780415579933
eBook ISBN: 9780203349908
Adobe ISBN: 9781136597442


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Local party member activism is an area of growing importance for electoral success, and parties and scholars alike often debate how participation can be encouraged within increasingly centralised party organisations. Modern political marketing in some ways creates an obstacle to local activism: a carefully crafted product, based on extensive marketing analysis carried out by experts hired by the party leadership, and delivered in a centrally controlled campaign, inevitably means centralisation of key functions – especially, quite obviously, designing the product. We therefore have a situation where the making of the product is increasingly seen as a something done centrally, but where local activists have a key part in bringing that product to the voters. This creates a problem, especially if the local volunteers are not happy with the product. It is a well-established idea that activists need to be incentivised. What is the incentive for delivering a product that activists have had no stake in producing? However, relationship or stakeholder marketing offers new tools and concepts to analyse and potentially overcome this problem. This chapter will focus on how internal stakeholder relationships can be nourished and explores what strategies can be used to incentivise internal stakeholders in a centralised organisation.

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