Title

Feasibility of a digital marketing company for political parties in Pakistan

Degree

Master of Business Administration Executive

Faculty / School

Faculty of Business Administration (FBA)

Year of Award

Spring 2018

Project Type

MBA Executive Research Project

Access Type

Restricted Access

Keywords

Marketing--Data processing -- Pakistan | Electronic commerce | Internet marketing

Executive Summary

This report set out to explore the possibility of setting up a digital agency with political parties as primary clients. The objective was to explore how parties differ from brands as clients and if a specialized digital agency could be created which will pitch consultancy and solutions designed for them. I reach the conclusion that the market opportunity for a Digital Agency geared towards political parties exists. This opportunity is big enough for dedicated agencies that can sustain with political parties as clients. Understandably, the current solutions available within the market have been designed for 'brands' and their specific social media needs. The behavior of brands differs markedly from political parties on social media. Up until recently, corporations / startups did not consider political parties as serious clients. Therefore, the research and development that went into developing technology for them was limited. Social Media Mapping done by very few companies is a feature that allows you to meaningfully engage with users in order to achieve maximum impact (Reach). Today, political parties even in Pakistan are actively looking for solutions that helps them engage meaningfully with the public on social media. Secondly, my research also explored whether the market was moving towards standardization or towards customization in the Social CRM market. Unlike, the ERP industry which has a achieved an advanced level of standardization (SAP, Oracle & Microsoft dominate the market), the CRM industry is not moving towards standardization, especially in the case of political clients. My results show that when it comes to social media, there is a clear tilt for custom built features even within brands. Finally, I posit that a specialized agency with political parties that retain human resource which knows the industry (in out case politics) is an added benefit to the client. There is an almost universal consensus that industry experience is very important for Digital Agencies. Our primary and secondary research confirms these steps. In our opinion survey majority of respondents (69%) said they think User Engagement is important. However, only a minority (44%) said that social media mapping is important. This indicates that the audience is not aware of advanced social media mapping technologies or understand how it increases the return on engagement. One of the reasons 44% of respondents picked social media mapping maybe that they understand it according to the very basic mapping that can be done using techniques and available technology. This clearly indicates that new technologies which can offer meaningful engagement can be introduced in the market. More importantly an overwhelming majority (87%) said that they are willing to try new products which have features that are more relevant to their industry. This goes to show that political parties will appreciate tools that are geared towards their space as opposed to the one-size- fits-all approach currently employed. A reasonable majority (75%) said that they would prefer a custom-built application as opposed to an off-the-shelf product which indicates that the industry is still moving away from standardization. It is evident that the current collection of products does to meet the disparate requirements for each industry. This low level of trust will be even lower in users in political parties as they are not yet appreciated as significant clients. As far as Agency opinion is concerned, the respondents were unanimous (100%) in stressing the importance of consultancy. Similarly, our focus group discussion and interviews with subject matter experts also pointed towards the absence of custom solutions and insights for a particular industry. Respondents felt that agencies lacked experience or the innovation to offer them solutions that are tailor-made to their requirements. Moreover, our feasibility (business plan) also points to a positive NPV, IRR of 14% and a Payback Period of 4.2 years. In conclusion, we establish that an existing opportunity for a dedicated digital agency for political parties does exist. This is also in accordance with the industry disruptions taking place in developed markets such as the United States, Europe and even India.

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