The Impact of Political Marketing on Voter Consensus: A Case Study of How the Movimento 5 Stelle Has Built and Maintained Relationships With Voters Through Greater Involvement

Chiara Pratelli

Student thesis: Master thesis

Abstract

Many political parties have understood the importance of adopting marketing strategies and tools to use together with traditional political strategies in order to achieve better results. Politicians know that, if they want to obtain voter consensus, they have to communicate in a different way from the past and this is even more important considering the fact that the citizens’ interest and the participation in politics has decreased. These features have been understood mainly by populist parties that have been able to gain power in many countries by using marketing strategies and by intercepting the discomfort of citizens.
The aim of this research is to understand and explain how the populist party of Movimento 5 Stelle, the strongest Italian political party, has been capable to gain an increasingly strong consensus by building and maintaining relationships with Italian voters by strengthening their political involvement. To analyze this phenomenon, a theoretical framework is developed by adopting and adapting different theories. In particular, Political Relationship Marketing is employed to investigate how relationships between political parties and voters are built and maintained; instead, the aspects of emotions and the use of social media are taken into consideration to examine how voters’ involvement is enhanced. Furthermore, direct democracy is examined, and it is considered an additional factor that contributes to foster the relationship between political parties and voters.
In order to answer to the research question and test the hypotheses, both quantitative and qualitative methods are used: an online survey is developed having the Italian adults as sample and 7 interviews are conducted having only M5s voters as sample. The analysis of the data suggests that all the political parties, and not only populist parties, should pursue political marketing strategies to build and maintain long-term relationships with voters and to reduce voter volatility. In order to build and maintain these relationships, political parties should strengthen voters’ involvement by understanding and appealing to their emotions and by developing a two-way communication thanks to the use of social media.

EducationsMSc in Brand and Communications Management, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
LanguageEnglish
Publication date2018
Number of pages106
SupervisorsTore Kristensen