Applying our skills in the political arenaDavid Patrick
The agency team are encouraged to spend some time during their working hours to purse their own interests. And during the election period I worked with the Labour campaign team in Broxtowe in Nottingham.
This two-way marginal seat had a popular Labour candidate who had broad support from independents and Liberal Democrats as well as his traditional Labour supporters. The Conservatives fielded a woman who had mounted a strong local campaign over the last two years and had the benefit of significant more funding than any of the other parties.
In addition to the traditional political technicques of door to door and telephone canvassing the main parties used targeted direct mail to woo floating voters. The Labour strategy was multi-faceted with targeted messages to postal voters, known supporters of other parties and variable messages depending on which part of the constituency you lived in. A special team was established by Labour to build alliances with Conservative and Liberal Democrats. Plus our candidate made pledges designed to appeal to each group of these voters.
This was not enough however to prevent the Conservatives from winning the seat (after 3 counts and with a majority of just 389). We took some comfort in the fact that though the national swing to the Conservatives was 3.8%, the swing in Broxtowe was less than 2%.
As marketers we have much to learn from how politicians communicate with the electorate. We also have much to give in helping to craft messages and tailor communications to different groups.