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Robert P. Ormrod and Heather Savigny, "Political market orientation A framework for understanding relationship structures in political parties," Party Politics 18 (July, 2012), 487-502. [Available at http://ppq.sagepub.com/content/vol18/issue4/ ]

First paragraph:
Panebianco (1988) noted the rise of the professional politician and the bureaucratic professionalism of political actors. The rise of career politicians and the professionalization of the activity of politics brings with it a whole new series of actors and influences. Communication strategies and advertising agencies have become integral elements of contemporary election campaigns (Newman, 2002). Moreover, this influence extends beyond the election period, and whilst the idea of a 'permanent campaign' may be debated, what is clear is that many of the techniques associated with marketing are in evidence throughout the electoral cycle rather than being restricted to the formal campaign period. The idea of a 'marketization' of politics (Savigny and Wring, 2009) suggests that there is a different kind of politics taking place. This changing form of politics is one that is increasingly (but not exclusively) influenced by marketing professionals and tools and concepts derived from marketing theory. The objective of this article is to demonstrate how Ormrod's (2005, 2009) conceptualization of a political market orientation (PMO) can complement political science models of party organization by drawing attention to the competing interests of stakeholders in shaping party strategy and organizational structure, whilst treating parties as a multitude of actors rather than as monolithic entities (Wolinetz, 2002: 138) and addressing the dearth of literature on the micro foundations of parties (Quinn, 2004: 20). This is motivated by the growing need to integrate the current political science and marketing literature in order to provide a deeper understanding of the behaviour of political actors and their relationships with relevant stakeholder groups. Whilst the underlying conceptualization draws on the management-based 'relationship marketing' approach (Bannon, 2005), by striving for contextual sensitivity it is hoped that the fears noted by political scientists that political marketing is solely concerned with applying standard management models to political parties with the resulting emphasis on communication tactics at election time (Henneberg, 2004) and a more general 'commodification' of politics (Savigny, 2008), can be assuaged.

Figures and Tables:
Figure 1. Political market orientation (with expanded societal orientation construct)

Last Paragraph:
(first paragraph of conclusions) The integration of marketing literature with political science reflects a trend where politicians increasingly have been seen to embrace marketing strategies. Whilst the traditional political science organizational literature describes how parties as organizations respond to their societal base and the technological environment, the marketing literature draws attention to the wider ideological context within which political parties are now situated. In the contemporary political arena, this is characterized by neoliberalism, an emphasis on the market and market mechanisms as the means through which politics is increasingly conducted. Therefore, if we wish to understand the way in which contemporary party politics is shaped, contextually sensitive tools and concepts developed from the commercial marketing literature can contribute a vocabulary through which to analyse the increasingly market-driven behaviour of political parties.

Last updated August 2012