Marketing is a very broad term which not only shows its presence in business but has also been a key tool used by various politicians to win elections. Even today we all remember the catchy slogans “Ache din aane wale”, “Abki baar Modi Sarkar”, “Main Bhi Chowkidar”, among many others used by the Modi Government in 2014 to win the Lok Sabha Election. It was considered to be one of the smartest moves used by any party and this is nothing but marketing used by a political party to brand itself.
What is the difference between voters and customers?
Well, today this question can be considered to be a wrong one since both the words have become synonymous to each other. Voters are contemplated to be the customers, their underserved needs are identified, researched on and then campaigns are planned in order to entice them. All the tactics which are used by the companies are usually used in Political Marketing. Hence, this has left us with a definition where parties are equivalent to companies whose main motive is to reach a larger audience through their marketing influence and strategies.
Political Marketing is categorized into three verticals: The first one is content marketing where parties need to prepare their punch lines, slogans, speeches, debates, interviews etc. which are used for publicity through various platforms and making it a piece of cake for people to remember the party’s name. Second is deciding the platforms on which content needs to be circulated and publicized. In traditional times, pamphlets, board advertisement, regional newspaper were in common use but with the passage of time, the platforms have been upgraded to television, social media channels, radios, loudspeakers, media houses, news agencies, blog pages, and outdoor advertising including banners, posters, hoardings. Lastly, the most important is events which need to be conducted in the forms of rallies, protests against opposition, road shows, door to door publicity, religious visits, and speeches in different areas to promulgate about the parties. It is important to integrate all the three points successfully and organize campaigns which not only add votes to your pocket but also build trust and confidence.
Nowadays, in elections, the face of a party is the most important tool. Everything circulates around the person who is shown as the representative of the party, i.e., is kept at the centre of the political marketing. Thus, it is necessary to choose who will act as the brand ambassador of the party, government and people at large. It is important to create a goodwill about the person before he or she stands for the party. In political marketing, parties (companies) try to prove themselves as better by showing the weaknesses, threats, and putting allegations against the other party. To win over the voters, the party should run a campaign where they prove how they can fulfil the underserved needs and can be a better option for the development of the nation.
Some of the political marketing strategies which helped Modi win 2019 Lok Sabha elections are:
● The Modi Government tactfully avoided their weakness in the form of an all-time high rate of unemployment, a liquidity crisis and a consumption slowdown in the economy and focused more on talking about uniting India and encountering foreign enemies. These made people believe that this Government is strong enough and can lead to development. Hence, in the above campaign, the Government tried to analyze what people are actually looking for from a leader and they just publicized about that. This not only helped in dodging their failures but also presenting them a better tomorrow.
● Another approach was of a 360- degree campaign. Besides advertising on conventional TV, print and radio, the Modi government was all over social media. Their posters, online campaigns and slogans were spread all over. They used small inexpensive approaches like sending messages on WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. The fact that the BJP has spent around 17 crores on political ads on Google and their partners, which is 500% more than their opposition, shows their dominating power in media marketing.
● And, the best strategy was that of connecting emotionally with their voters. They did around 135 rallies and tried to listen to what the voters demanded and created a connection with them. Modi tried to target the lower segments of the society by fulfilling their demands as the elections approached. This helped in building mutual trust and confidence over him.
Formulating an election campaign is now equal to formulating a marketing campaign. Like all the successful brands, which not only aim to provide good products but also to make people believe that they are the best. Political parties should convince voters as to how they are the best and can be a better future for the nation.