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What can politicians learn from marketeers? Visa, Hootsuite and Papa John’s discuss

As the campaign trail ahead of the General Election in May gets in full swing this week, The Drum caught up with marketeers, and judges for The Drum Marketing Awards, from Papa John's, Visa and Hootsuite to find out what politicians can learn from the marketing industry in the battle for Prime Minister.

While politicians are “good at retail”, they still need to learn more about marketing and communications to fully engage voters, according to Nick Jones, head of digital communications at Visa Europe and former Number 10 digital communications head.

“I think the key thing is that content still counts and will always count,” he said. “What they say off the cuff can be captured and used in evidence against them going forward so they really need to think carefully about what type of content they produce and how they distribute it.”

Social media will have an undeniably large role to play in the 2015 General Election, particularly when it comes to political heads working to engage younger voters. Merinda Peppard, EMEA marketing director at Hootsuite, said that thinking social in the way that brands do can help the likes of David Cameron and Ed Milliband get supporters to “do the talking”.

“A lot of brands are bypassing conventional marketing and really thinking about social for their campaigns moving forward and I think politicians can also do the same,” she said. “It’s about engaging with audiences, it’s about being the influence in the things that you know and also putting your audience in front of the campaign; actually having your audience doing the talking is really working for brands and I think it can really work for politicians too.”

Meanwhile the way that marketeers deploy insight into brand's consumers is something that politicians should take in to account on the campaign trail, according to Andrew Gallagher, UK marketing director at Papa John’s, who said they should activate genuine insight.

“The best campaigns are those that have taken something that people really think, not just what we [marketeers] think they think, and turn that into what runs their campaign and what they can deliver in the end.”

The Drum Marketing Awards take place on 7 May at the Marriott Grosvenor Square, London.

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