Lobbying is Marketing

marketing-cloud-small(… and Government Relations is PR!)

Every definition of marketing I’ve ever respected applies to lobbying – except for one tiny component* of lobbying – and I’ve become convinced that lobbying is a super-specialised kind of marketing.

The ultimate purpose of lobbying is that someone in Government (public servant or politician)  has been persuaded they should buy** something: your client’s idea, credibility, product or service.  In eleven years of lobbying I’ve never met a lobbying project aimed at anything other than that objective.

The list of things that might be done as part of a lobbying project (here) pretty much reflects the range of things I’ve seen done as part of marketing projects.

Government relations – a term sometimes used in lieu of lobbying, though it’s not quite the same thing – is a super-specialised kind of Public Relations, and is normally a major part of any lobbying effort.  It has the same purpose, brand building in support of sales, but targeted at a very specialised “public”.

Engaging with Government is pointless unless it ends in a “sale” of something, just like marketing, and just as PR without a concrete “sales” objective is a great waste of time and resources.

So, lobbying is marketing?

 

* That tiny component is face-to-face lobbying itself, which can sometimes be more about the sales job.
** Or, every once in a rare while, sell something e.g. a public asset – but via accepting your client’s policy proposition.

About Mike Smith

Partner in Ethical Consulting Services: www.ethicalconsulting.com; sometime University lecturer; previously Government Relations consultant; before that Labor Party State Secretary in Northern Territory; union advocate with LHMU/United Voice in NT and NSW; hobby – election campaigns!

Posted on April 1, 2015, in Communication, Government decision-making, Government Relations, how to lobby, Lobbying, Lobbyist, marketing, Planning, public service decision-making, Stakeholder engagement, Strategy and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

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