Whether you agree with his political views or not, you have to recognize that Donald Trump is a smart businessman and marketer.
Trump has built a multi-billion dollar empire by knowing exactly how to market to his target audience.
Corporations use strategic marketing to shape the way we think in order to sell more of what they want us to buy. They are influential to our daily lives, and sometimes we don’t even notice. Marketing can have manipulative powers, which is why it is critical to the success of any business.
Is it possible Trump is using the same kind of strategic marketing tactics to win votes?
I think so.
Trump knows that many marketing campaigns are based on psychological triggers in the human brain. It’s the reason why we care more about losses than gains , why certain colors make us hungry and more. He uses triggers like these, to help gain popularity in the polls.
Let’s analyze Donald Trump’s marketing strategies that he has so purposefully integrated into his campaign and how you can utilize the same strategies to generate more leads and sales for your business.
He’s easy to understand
The reason so many Americans like Trump is because he uses language that we understand. His speeches aren’t stuffed full of legal and political jargon that can be confusing.
In our era of 10-second sound bites and 140-character tweets, specialists on political speech have proven that simpler language resonates to a much broader range of voters. It might be easy to attribute this to a dumbing down of society, but not according to Jeff Shesol, historian and former speechwriter for Bill Clinton:
“It’s a sign of democratization. In the early republic, presidents could assume that they were speaking to audiences made up mostly of men like themselves: educated, civic-minded landowners… But overtime, the franchise expanded and presidential appeals had to reach a broader audience.”
In the United States, the average reading level sits around an 8th grade level. But 1-in-5 U.S. adults read below a 5th grade level.
Surprisingly, 14% of U.S. adults can’t read according to a study conducted by the U.S. Department of Education, National Institute of Literacy. So, in order to reach this population of voters in America, speeches have to be tailored to reach a broader audience.
Let’s face it: politics are complicated.
Do most Americans really know how foreign policy, immigration, healthcare and other important issues work?
No I don’t think so (most people will never admit it though).
Trump knows that by keeping his speeches simple, the majority of his listeners will understand.
He understands how the brain processes information and that it is human nature to gravitate towards simplicity. Having things presented simply, doesn’t require us to think or do research. It’s human nature to like things to be done for us, even thinking.
So, what can we learn from Trump?
Keep your message simple!
Your marketing message should be clear, direct, and easy to understand. If the average reading level is between a 7th and 8th grade level, cater to that and make your marketing campaigns easy to comprehend.
It may come natural for you to use technical jargon or industry terminology that you are familiar with, but don’t. Make it easy for your audience to understand how your product or service can benefit them.
The first reaction of a confused potential buyer is “no.” If your potential buyer doesn’t understand how your product / service operates or how it can help them, then they will not buy.
Watching Trump is like watching reality TV
It is sad, but true: we find enjoyment watching drama unfold and the negativity it produces. That’s one of the reasons why reality TV is wildly popular. In fact, over 37 million people admit to watching reality TV.
We can’t forget Trump’s own reality show that he produced and starred in: The Apprentice. That show has lasted over 14 seasons. We like that kind of drama.
However, watching Trump during this election season has been like watching a season of the Real Housewives… We tune into debates and pour over online articles to see what the next crazy statement from Trump will be.
Studies have repeatedly proven why our brains are more attuned to negativity. A study, by John Cacippo, Ph.D, recorded the electrical brain activity in the brain’s cortex that reflected the magnitude of information that was being processed in test subjects while showing them images known to trigger positive, negative, and neutral feelings.
The study concluded that the brain reacts more strongly to negative stimulants. Because our brain is wired to have a negative bias, we are drawn to negative news.
Researchers Marc Trussler and Stuart Soroka conducted an eye-tracking experiment to see what stories their participants were reading, and the results were depressing, but expected.
The study’s participants were drawn to news that had a negative tone – corruption, set-backs, and hypocrisy – rather than positive or neutral stories.
The people who were more interested in current affairs and politics were particularly drawn to bad news articles.
Those two studies are proof of a negativity bias. Humans have evolved to react quickly to potential threats, so we remember bad news better than good news.
Trump knows this, and he knows what viewers like to see. He is giving us exactly what we are drawn to.
What can we learn from Trump?
Don’t be afraid to shock your audience every now and then.
Have your article or blog start with a controversial point-of-view: people love to share and comment on ideas that are opposite of what someone else thinks. Remember we love drama and negativity.
Try using shocking images in your ads to help them stand out from the rest.
Check out some of the most controversial and effective ads.
Controversy stands out. People will share it. Your message will get noticed. By having a negative tone in your article (at least to hook the audience), people will willingly share your content and that is advertising you don’t have to pay for. It’s the best kind of advertising!
A New York Bestseller, Trust Me, I’m Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator, contains a Wharton School study about which New York Times articles spread the most. The conclusion is, “the most powerful predictor of virality is how much anger an article evokes.” Make people mad. It works.
The media is Trump’s biggest donor
Trump’s political success isn’t because of all the money he has dumped into his campaign.
It’s because he is a master manipulator: Trump has manipulated the media into watching his every move because of his drastic antics.
He revels in this power, “If you get good ratings, they’ll [the media] cover you even if you have nothing to say.” He boasted that statement at a rally last week, which was covered on major media outlets CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News.
All eyes are turned to Trump because he doesn’t do what his competitors are doing. His mix of outrage, bluster, and insults has brought him 6.5 million Twitter followers… and he is a master of social media.
Last week in Rolling Stone, Matt Taibbi wrote, “The watchdogs in political media can’t resist a car wreck… Trump found the flaw in the American Death Star. It doesn’t know how to turn the cameras off…”
The media is drawn to him, because our brains are programmed to prefer negative news.
What can we learn from Trump?
Don’t depend on one source of leads.
There are lots of businesses that rely on referrals as their main source of leads. That is incredibly dangerous for your business because you can’t control the amount of referrals you receive. You are at the mercy of someone recommending your business, and you’re unable to increase or decrease the flow.
Adding diversity in your marketing channels can help you learn more about where your leads are coming from.
Investing in search engine optimization, paid advertising, social media, and other marketing methods allow you to test which platforms are profitable and work well for your business.
When diversifying your marketing channels, be sure you use social media to get in front of your ideal customers. Share helpful articles, guides, videos, blog posts, etc. to build trust and credibility in your brand.
If you present your brand as a solution to your ideal customer’s problem, they will be much more willing to read your content, and even enter your sales funnel by subscribing to your email marketing campaign.
Hate him or love him, either way we can learn something from his campaign. Regardless of the industry or audience, marketing works.