Mis-marketing the Conservatives: The Limitations of Style over Substance

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21 Citations (Scopus)


Every Tory leader since 1997 has made significant attempts to use marketing; the most recent, Michael Howard, appointed the first ever UK party Marketing Director to head a specialised Marketing Department. However, whilst the Conservatives have made use of the tools of marketing (polling, focus groups, public listening exercises, communication) they have misunderstood the concept of political marketing, which is concerned with creating a unified political product that is responsive to voter demands. Political marketing has hitherto not worked for the Conservative party. This is because there is a lack of a supportive internal culture that accepts the party change necessary to produce a market-orientated political product including policy, leadership and candidates. If political marketing is only used to sell a product that the party elite rather than the British public wants, it will never help the Conservatives regain control of government.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)392-397
Number of pages6
JournalPolitical Quarterly
Issue number4
Early online date23 Nov 2004
Publication statusPublished - 23 Nov 2004


  • political marketing
  • marketing director
  • targeting
  • party marketing
  • Conservative party
  • market orientation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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