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Keywords:

  • marketing models;
  • democracy;
  • public sector management;
  • eGovernment;
  • deliberation

Abstract

The application of marketing models in political and public sector contexts is examined. The assumptions in marketing of positive outcomes of (i) rapid responses to consumer concerns, (ii) the extension of choice and customisation in product development, and (iii) the application of market research techniques are considered in turn. This analysis suggests that in the political context, responding rapidly to public opinion is not necessarily a sound reaction; extending choice and customisation of products may not best serve public welfare, and applying market research techniques may not provide for the best system for policy decisions. The features of liberal representative democracy, particularly the role of deliberation, informed assent and accountability, have been neglected. Speed of response has been emphasised to the cost of democratic filters and checks on public opinion; enhanced choice, enabled by mass customisation, presents problems of social fragmentation; and the application of market research is no substitute for political discourse and engagement. Copyright © 2003 Henry Stewart Publications