There are few bigger ROIs than President of The United States. And today, whether you’re rejoicing or starting to build your war shelter, one thing is certain – you just witnessed a historic event.
But whether you’re happy, angry or not bothered either way, there is some marketing GOLD to learn from the US Election. Here’s my top 5:
- Bigger budgets don’t guarantee a better outcome
Clintons war chest of over $700 million was more than double that of her competitor, and now President, Donald Trump.
Despite this chasm of difference, Clinton was unable to utilise free media in the same way that Trump did. As the old saying goes ‘No publicity is bad publicity’ and the media put Trumps name in front of everyone. New York times estimated that Trump had garnered $2billion worth of free media IN THE PRIMARIES! You can imagine how much bigger this would be when the dust settles from the election.
Even Clinton’s own marketing dollars had a heavy focus on tarnishing Trump, rather than advocating for her own policies. In turn, this played straight into his hands.
- Celebrity endorsements aren’t everything
There was no shortage of celebrities throwing their support behind Clinton. From movie stars to the outgoing President. They all made their voice heard about who they were backing.
On the other hand, there were few vocal supporters of Trump, but he focused his effort on networks, such as military veterans and emergency services personnel.
The point here is, it’s great to get endorsement by association, but if you can create a direct relationship with your audience(without middle men) you can have much stronger influence.
- Catchphrases work
Outdide of the US, and possibly inside too, there has only been one stand out phrase “Make America Great Again”
That one phrase could have been the most significant decision of the whole campaign. For every person that had a problem with America, big or small. To minority groups, to the elderly that have seen such dramatic change. To the youth who fear for their uncertain future. This single statement unified them all.
It elicits hope, patriotism, reform and possibility. The competition tried to turn it into segregation, hate and anarchy. But in an uncertain environment, people will cling to possibility of a better outcome.
By the way, what was Clinton’s catchphrase?
- Understand your audience pain points
Of the 350 million odd US citizens, not everyone is living the American dream. And not everyone has been an Obama fan. Whilst his 2008 win was more convincing, he still had 60million vote against. So there’s an immediate captive audience.
Add to this Trump’s ability to tap into other far right groups, knowing he’ll only ostracize those he would never win over anyway.
And lastly, he knew he could bring more people to the polls, by really scratching at the wounds of the past administration. And it worked, with many reports indicating that Clinton did not bring enough of the Black and Hispanic community to the polls – groups she was counting on having in the bag.
When you go in as favourite, there’s often a tendency to be a bit complacent. Remember when Buster Douglas put Mike Tyson on the mat?
When pre polling had Clinton in front. When the outgoing President and many celebrities were on her side. When she funded at more than twice Trump’s level. I believe Clinton thought it was a sure thing. Heck, she even told Trump he should bow out to avoid the embarrassment!
At the same time, Trump was hustling. He was attending 3 rallys a day when Clinton did one. His staff had such belief, their work ethic, whilst a smaller team, was pound for pound as strong as Clinton’s.
And this isn’t to say that Clinton did not work hard, far from it. But I believe Trump hustled like a business man, not a politician.
Time will tell if America made the right choice. All I know is there were some fantastic marketing lessons that every business would do well to adopt.