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Strategic analysis is about looking at what is happening outside your organisation now and in the future. It asks two questions: •How might what's happening affect you? •What would be your response to likely changes? It's called strategic because it's high level, about the longer term, and about your whole organisation. It's called analysis because it's about breaking something that's big and complex down into more manageable chunks.IntroductionThe current interest in political marketing on the part of political scientists is clear. Several political science books and articles which have used the term “marketing” in the presentation of accounts of elections, both contemporary and historical, have been published in the UK alone in the past year (Franklin 1994, Kavanagh 1995a, Scammell 1995). Similarly, this special issue of the European Journal of Marketing signals the interest and concern of marketing scholars. However, there are important differences
30between the conceptualization and approaches of these two disciplines. Among political scientists, it seems to have been accepted that marketing is an activity which politicians may indulge in at their discretion and which is largely confined tothat formal and stylized period called “the campaign”. There appears to be little appreciation of marketing theory, especially at the strategic level. Indeed, at the leading British conference of political scientists in 1995 – The Annual Conference of the Political Studies Association of the UK – not a single reference in any of the papers on political marketing was made to a text or journal from the marketing domain (Franklin 1995; Kavanagh 1995b; Norris 1995). It is pointless to berate political scientists for such a blind-spot; rather, we should acknowledge fault on both sides. Henneberg (1995) rightly insists that there is a crucial need for political marketing concepts to be based “...on both pillars: marketing and political science” (p. 5). To address this lacuna in the political science understanding, it is necessary for marketing as a discipline to present its insights and analytical perspectives in a “political-science-user-friendly” fashion. If the marketing paradigm is to influence another discipline, it must first be tendered in broad, generic terms, and address matters at the strategic level: progress is limited by picking partial and incomplete concepts from the marketing theory. In this paper, therefore, a well-established strategic framework of competitive market analysis is applied to political parties. Further, the political marketing literature tends to be specific to single countries, and indeed often to particular party cases. While this approach offers the advantage of depth of study and analysis, it militates against the broader application this article seeks to present. Therefore, examples are proffered from many electoral contexts (or markets), in keeping with the generalist thrust.