Graduation Year

Spring 2012

Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Constance Rossum

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Rights Information

© 2012 Henry H. Handtmann


According to the American Marketing Association (AMA), marketing is defined as the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.[1] To do this, marketing institutions have developed systematic processes for evaluating the wants and needs of the masses, and designed mechanisms to persuade large groups of people, as well as smaller targeted markets. If the "product" is a presidential candidate…. The marketing objective of a political party / candidate is to communicate, deliver, and exchange offerings (policies for votes). Hence, political campaigning and traditional marketing have similar objectives. For clarity, the term candidate and political party are synonymous when applied to marketing concepts.

In the 1950s, marketing experts realized the potential of selling the value of their candidate, party, and specific initiatives, through a systematic process now known as "political marketing."[2] This study will review the evolution of political marketing, evaluate how several presidential candidates gained a competitive advantage over their opponents by both utilizing traditional marketing practices, and, with social marketing, gained leverage with the Internet. It concludes with the significance of the Internet, online campaigning, social media, and their collective effects on the current and future of the political system.

[1] "Definition of Marketing," The American Marketing Association,

[2] Dominic Wring, "The Marketing Colonization of Political Campaigning," in The Handbook of Political Marketing, ed. by Bruce I. Newman. (London: Sage Publications, Inc, 1999), 44-45.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.