Political Marketing Orientation: Confusions, Complications, and Criticisms

Nicholas J. O'Shaughnessy, Paul R. Baines, Aron O'Cass, Robert P. Ormrod

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


In this article, we seek to distinguish between two concepts often conflated in the literature: political market orientation and political marketing orientation. In the discussion, we focus specifically on voters rather than other actors in the political sphere such as competing parties, party members, the media, and lobby groups due to the centrality of the electorate in the political marketing literature and in political practice. We identify five key issues that influence the ability of parties and candidates to successfully leverage a well-developed political marketing orientation. These are (1) that it is difficult to control symbolization, (2) that it is difficult to control personality, (3) that there are value and symbol abnormalities, (4) that the public mind is unknowable, and (5) the corrupting power of negative campaigning. Finally, we distinguish two areas of further research, "downstream" research focused on political marketing orientation and "upstream" research focused on political market orientation, with specific recommendations for further research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)353-366
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Political Marketing
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • democracy
  • market intelligence
  • political marketing
  • political marketing orientation
  • politics
  • voters

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