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The Political Marketing Game identifies what works in political marketing: the rules of the game, showing politicians can choose to play the game to achieve change, not just win votes, because authenticity, values and vision are as much a part of a winning strategy as market-savvy pragmatism. Using 100 interviews with practitioners including advisors to former world leaders Tony Blair, George W Bush, Stephen Harper, Helen Clark and Kevin Rudd, as well academic literature, this book offers political elites tools to navigate the complex and unpredictable electoral market. It shows the democratic impact of political marketing depends on how the game is played. Whilst politicians need to listen, varying responsiveness to public demand is more successful than abandoning their beliefs. Elites need to work in partnership with the public, as voters want politicians who say ‘yes we can’ not ‘yes I can,’ using deliberative market analysis so that politics can evolve in the 21st century and become a partnership democracy.

Research for the book was conducted during 2005-2009, so this was a long in-depth empirical project utilising inductive methodology.


‘The Political Marketing Game by Jennifer Lees-Marshment is about as thorough an analysis of a discipline, regarded as much an art as it is a science, that one could ever hope for…Undoubtedly, the highlights of the book are the musings of communication directors, political representatives, pollsters and strategists including (amongst many others) Alastair Campbell, Iain Duncan Smith and Philip Gould, on their various electoral battles.’ (Review by Progress, March 2011)

‘Drawing on insights gleaned from an extensive range of interviews, Lees-Marshment’s monograph is packed full of fascinating reflections from practitioners…each chapter ends with a series of tables listing the dos and don’ts…packed full of practical advice, this book will be a bible for political operatives to be kept close at hand for frequent reference…Lees-Marshment offers sagacious views…her book provides a wealth of insights into political marketing and merits a place on the bookshelves of political scientists as well as practitioners’ (Political Studies Review 2014 12(1): 133 by Tim Haughton, Reader at Birmingham University)

‘Provides an in-depth overview of modern practices and developments in political marketing…utilizes extensive interviews from a wide-range of people involved in political marketing, including important advisors to leaders such as George W. Bush, Tony Blair and Stephen Harper…the partnership democracy theory presented in the final sections is most interesting. The author argues that political marketing, which is essentially deliberative in character, is enhancing democracy….voters are…provided with opportunities to not only express opinions but provide solutions…a viable partnership is being forged, improving the relationship between the public and politicians and advancing democracy in the process’ (Review by the LSE British Politics and Policy blog January 2012)

‘This is a timely and extremely important book and must be published as soon as practical as it will set new standards for the discipline and makes the critically important area of political marketing understandable and accessible to students and academics.  This is a great text and the author should be congratulated on the quality and depth of her work. This book is ground breaking…it will be a must have text and markets for it will be wide as its reach is truly international.’ (Reader report)

‘Lees-Marshment not only provides a comprehensive over-view of current developments in political marketing, backed-up by an impressive range of key interviewees but she also challenges the notion that political marketing is an enemy of democracy and instead makes a powerful argument for it to be regarded as its most powerful ally’ (Endorsement by Professor Ivor Gaber, University of Bedfordshire and City University London, UK)

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The publisher – Palgrave Macmillan    Amazon UK                           Amazon US

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Introduction outlining the research question and methodology.

Chapter 1 Analysing the market covers the changing market and importance of market analysis, market analysis methods, individualising the market through segmentation, voter profiling, targeting and GOTV, candidate analysis, predictive market analysis, consultation, consultants and clients and using market analysis in politics.

Chapter 2 Strategic development discusses developing the product, strategy, positioning and the competition, branding and authenticity.

Chapter 3 Leading responsively debates achieving change and new policies, balancing leading and following the market and the advisor-leadership relationship.

Chapter 4 Marketing the Party outlines the value of marketing the party, maintaining a long-term party organisation, managing and developing volunteer activity, marketing for money, marketing vision and ideology and internal unity.

Chapter 5 Communicating goes over strategy and communication, communicating complex policy, selling policy, communicating a leader, communicating product change or re-positioning, get out the vote (GOTV), election campaigning, advertising, targeted communication, competition communication, receiver-responsive communication, e-marketing, authentic communication, managing internal relationships, managing the media relationship, communication advisors and clients.

Chapter 6 Managing Delivery discusses the importance of delivery, pre-election delivery, delivery strategy, making delivery happen, managing failures in delivery, communicating delivery and public evaluation of delivery.

Chapter 7 Marketing Democratically explores overcoming potential problems in political marketing, realising the democratic benefits and creating new ways to use political market democratically.

Conclusion Political marketing, democracy and partnership considers how democracy itself may evolve, creating a new theory, a Partnership Democracy, in context of new trends in other subfields of political science, showing how there is an emergent change in democracy itself.

The monograph represents a comprehensive, indepth academic analysis, but The Political Marketing Game will be of interest to practitioners as well as academics because it provides ‘rules of the game’ for how political marketing could be used to be both effective pragmatically and democratic:

Rules of the game for market analysis
 Rules of the game for strategic development
 Rules of the game for political marketing and leadership
 Rules of the game for marketing the party
 Rules of the game for communicating
Rules of the game for managing delivery
Rules of the game for marketing democratically