Bruce Newman talks about his fantastic new UTP title: The Marketing Revolution in Politics: What Recent U.S. Presidential Campaigns Can Teach Us About Effective Marketing
How did you become involved in your area of research?
I had to choose a dissertation topic and found myself very interested in politics, even though I was pursuing a PhD in Marketing. This became the starting point for my interest in the field of Political Marketing. Over the past 35 years, the field has grown into a mature discipline.
What inspired you to write this book?
My wife, Judy, urged me to write a book about the Obama Presidency for some time before I finally decided to take her up on the challenge. The book was started after Obama won his second presidency, and it was then that I realized that there was a paradigm shift in politics, and this book needed to be written, both to reflect on the changes in the political system because of the innovative use of technology by Obama in 2008 and 2012, as well as to report on how this paradigm could also be used in both the for-profit and nonprofit sectors by marketing managers working in many different industries.
How did you become interested in the subject?
I realized that a more interesting application of the principles of marketing that I studied as a PhD student could be found in the political marketplace, a market that represented an extreme case study of marketing, where the challenges were great:
- Many different segments to satisfy, each with different needs and wants.
- 24/7 oversight of the market, not found in any other one.
- An organization in crisis-mode, even before a presidential campaign actually starts, forcing the players to be able to change on a dime and be nimble at all times.
- Brands, in the form of politicians, constantly being attacked and altered on a day-to-day basis from the start of the campaign.
How long did it take you to write your latest book?
This book contract was signed March, 2013 and accepted for publication approximately 2 years later in April, 2015, with publication in January, 2016.
What do you find most interesting about your area of research?
What I wrote about in the book, which is the juxtaposition of the use of Big Data, Customer Analytics, Micro-targeting and Social Media in 3 different sectors: The political; for-profit; and nonprofit, how these marketing tools are used to go through the 7 lessons reported in the book, and what the best practices are within each of the 3 sectors studied.
What do you wish other people knew about your area of research?
How important marketing really is in controlling the message and in determining every move a politician makes both during a campaign, as well as after they get into office.
What’s the most surprising thing you discovered during the course of your research?
- That the Obama 2012 campaign team discovered that there was not any negative reaction to supporters of Obama receiving multiple email requests, sometimes even weekly for funds.
- That Obama in 2012 won the popular vote with only 3% margin, but won the electoral vote with 30% margin, the result of a carefully crafted marketing campaign that relied on micro-targeting.
Do you have to travel much concerning the research/writing of your book?
No, but since I lecture around the world once or twice a year, now for over 30 years, I find that going to other countries and comparing and contrasting how political systems operate overseas forces me to get a better understanding on how ours works.
What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Sitting down almost every day and working on it. Writing is not an easy task.
What did you learn from writing your book?
That editing and re-editing is a must.
What are your current/future projects?
I am currently working on my next book, planning to speak in Russia this summer, and expect to be very busy with the media responding to the many requests for interviews that have already started.
What do you like to read for pleasure? What are you currently reading?
I like to read current events in magazines and newspapers.
What is your favourite book?
PT Boat 109, the story of John F. Kennedy when he was in the navy. That book sparked my interest in politics when I was very young.
If you weren’t working in academia, what would you be doing instead?
Probably working in a corporation, or perhaps running for political office.