Twelve Marketing Questions for Politicians and Candidates

It’s primary election season in California. Sometimes we compare elections to the corporate hiring process, talking about “the best person for the job” or “tossing someone out of the office.” Extending that comparison, the campaign process becomes analogous to interviewing candidates. In my voter’s pamphlet (with its awful governmental page layout), several candidates emphasized their MBA or CPA credentials or business and managerial experience.

In this spirit of job interviews for political candidates, here are some marketing-based questions I wish we posed more often of our candidates to elective office, from dog catcher to President:

Dear Candidate–

Please respond to the following 12 questions, in the context of the specific office for which you are running:

  • What do you see is the product of government?
  • How would you change or improve upon the design and manufacture of government goods and services to make them more affordable and beneficial for the intended end customers?
  • How would you change the pricing and payment for government goods and services so that they are more sustainable, transparent, and equitable?
  • Given that we are social creatures that live together in society for mutual benefits, what obligation does government have to combat poverty and promote fairness?
  • Do you think it’s right to use government pricing to encourage behaviors in citizens? If so, where should we be using it?
  • How would you change the distribution of government goods and services to make them more effective, affordable, accessible, and equitable?
  • Is it possible to promote the availability and benefits of government goods and services in a way that helps citizens understand and take advantage of those things that they already pay for?
  • Is it ethical to promote the value and benefit of government services in order to generate more government revenues?
  • When a government or public service is a monopoly, what role does promotion and organizational narrative play?
  • If you spoke about “innovation” while on the campaign trail, can you give an example of innovation in government goods, services, pricing, distribution, or promotion that you’d like to enact? How would that innovation benefits citizens?
  • When should government accede to communities governing the commons?
  • How would you use the scale of government to benefit your constituents? What do you see as the drawbacks of working at scale?

It’s probably primary election season where you are, as well. Feel free to use these questions in interviewing candidates in your local elections, and share here and elsewhere any responses you receive.


  1. […] Electing marketers to public office would also help. Keep that in mind the next time you vote. […]

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