Relationship marketing is a framework in which marketers aim to build two-way bonds with their customers, with the result of long-term benefits to both parties. The rise of social media and the prominence of digital marketing in general, including targeted ads, commercial websites, and email campaigns, has increased the potential for brands and organizations to build such relationships with current and potential customers over time. In the realm of politics, digital marketing has been brought to the mainstream throughout the last decade and its prominence in presidential campaigns has increased ever since, closing the gap in communication between voters, organizations, and candidates. This thesis is an exploration of the effect digital marketing had on Arizona State University students’ perceptions of the presidential candidates and political organizations targeting them during the 2020 election season. The ASU Young Democrats, ASU College Republicans, ASU Undergraduate Student Government, and the 2020 Trump and Biden campaigns were studied through three methods: an analysis of each organization’s marketing tactics through the lens of relationship marketing, interviews with each ASU subject, and a survey of 328 students. The conclusion offers recommendations to each subject based on hypotheses formulated from the analyses and discusses the interrelationship that subjects’ relationship marketing strengths and weaknesses had with students’ views of each organization relative to their desired perceptions.
- Exploring the Effects of Digital Marketing on College Students in the 2020 Election