Political Relationship Marketing: some macro/micro thoughts
Relationship Marketing, and more broadly the placement of networks at the heart of marketing theory and practice, has sometimes been seen by practitioners and theorists alike as a universal panacea. Yet, given the contemporary phenomenon of rapid decline in direct participation in politics, with tumbling party membership rosters, the relevance of relationship marketing and its capacity to re-energise democratic politics has intuitive plausibility. We therefore seek to theorise about relationship marketing in a political context, arguing that the development of a theoretical construct and rigorous conceptual frameworks would invigorate current research on political marketing. We distinguish in particular two approaches - a micro view dealing with specific entity and exchange-oriented aspects, while a macro-perspective will look at the interplay with the wider political structures and the overall political system. Beyond this, the authors are also acutely conscious of the applied perspective and explore various methods by which the concept could be operationalised and grounded in practice. In this article we therefore seek to remedy the literature's remarkable neglect of relationship marketing in politics. There is a crisis in democracy when people perceive politics as something which happens to them rather than something over which they exert ownership, and such a crisis was created in part by the substitution of political marketing tools for face to face contact. These authors thus suggest how political marketing potentially can help solve a dilemma it has helped create.
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