Why not take aim at apathy?

With reference to Nick Higham’s article (MW April 28) on precision political marketing and its use by the main parties to target marginal seats and floating voters, I think there is a huge missed opportunity, a use to which Mosaic and other voter-targeting tools could have been put in the election: targeting non-voters.

As voter apathy increased and political participation decreased, the Electoral Commission (EC) should have been the one to benefit from using geodemograhpic targeting. Rather than producing mass advertising to persuade the public as a whole to re-enfranchise and re-engage – when most of us would have turned out to vote anyway – the EC should have targeted its limited resources to those who are not engaged. By identifying them and researching the reasons for their apathy, it could have devised more specific messages which address voter apathy. If that had been done, the general good would have been served and all parties would have benefited. Perhaps precision marketing could be the real winner of the 2009 General Election?

Professor Vincent-Wayne Mitchell

Professor of Consumer Marketing

Faculty of Management

Cass Business School

City University

London EC1

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