4 Marketing Lessons From Donald Trump

14Nov 4 Marketing Lessons From Donald Trump

trump-flagI’ve got some bad news…. I think Donald Trump has been reading my book! As the shock of his victory in the US Presidential election sends reverberations around the world, lots and lots of people are analysing what happened, what will happen and are asking questions about what it all means for America and the rest of the world.

Well I’ve done a bit of analysis and it’s clear that his campaign demonstrates all 4 ingredients of 3D Characteristic #2: Think in 3D! So, on the upside, whether you agree with him or don’t (and I definitely don’t!) there are some lessons for anyone in business looking to make their marketing work!

So what are the marketing lessons? Well, let’s start with our definition of ‘marketing’ being “finding, attracting and keeping the customers you want while maximising your profits”. If your in a non profit making business (and by that I mean ‘deliberately’ not making profit) it’s about achieving your objectives and maximising financial returns.

3D Businesses proactively target the right customers, develop a Dramatic and Demonstrable  Difference and do things their competitors aren’t doing, or even better, can’t do! They ‘stand out from the crowd’ and maximise the power of ‘word of mouth’ and ‘word of mouse’! They support it by ensuring that their business generating efforts are focused on those customers in terms of frequency and appropriateness.

So, let’s look at those marketing lessons from ‘The Donald’:

  • Marketing Lesson 1: Choose ‘Em Or Lose ‘Em…

trump-voters3D Businesses have a clear focus on the sorts of customers they want to work with and focus their sales and marketing efforts and resources on these customers! They ‘choose’ the customers they want to work with, and differentiate themselves in their chosen markets.

They focus on specific types of customers and understand them, their needs, their wants and their aspirations. Donald Trump’s prime targets were ‘left behind’ white ‘working class’ male Americans, many of whom felt disenfranchised and ignored by ‘traditional’ politicians. He also picked up (if you’ll pardon the phrase!) a number of ‘left behind’ women too.

Interestingly, 3D Businesses are not afraid to turn ‘non profitable’ work and customers down. They don’t try to be all things to all people! Trump was quite happy to focus on this ‘niche’ of 50 million and ignore (some would even say ‘offend’) certain customer groups…. women, Hispanics, black people, Muslims, gays, the ‘political elite’… almost anyone who wasn’t white male ‘working class’.

  • Marketing Lesson 2: Establish A Dramatic Difference…

trump-make-america-great3D Businesses recognise that ‘same as sucks’ and strive to do things that makes them ‘stand out from the crowd’ and gets customers talking about them and telling others – that’s being ‘Remarkable’!

Your Dramatic Difference is ‘an unmatchable bundle of products, services, skills, methods and practices that differentiate a business from its competitors.’ 

They don’t happen by chance and 3D Businesses proactively develop their Dramatic Difference in the areas that their customers say are important!   A great source is spotting and solving a particular group of customers, and their needs, wants and problems, and Donald Trump clearly did this.

Donald ’s ‘bundle’ was a mix of things (to be honest, he wasn’t big on the details) that really hit home. It started with the catchy ‘Making America Great Again’ (there was even a hashtag #MAGA!) and had key messages of jobs for white workers, bans on immigration and of course ‘the wall’. No real detail about the how’s, but his target audience didn’t seem to worried about that.

Your Dramatic Difference‘ is only any good if your target customers want it, recognise it, and are prepared to pay (‘vote’) for it. Clearly, Donald hit the mark on this one. He clearly ‘stood for something’ and his ‘bundle’ hit the right notes.

OK, I think it’s fair to say that his ‘bundle’ was misogenystic, racist, Islamaphobic, anti-gay, politically incorrect, anti establishment and against the ‘political elite’, but I think his target ‘customers’ actually saw that as a positive!  We’re back to ‘Choose ‘Em Or Lose ‘Em!

Establishing a Dramatic Difference is one thing – ‘Demonstrating’ it is another. That leads us on to…

  • Marketing Lesson 3: Demonstrate Your Dramatic Difference…

trump-finger3D Businesses ensure that customers and prospective customers recognise it whenever and wherever they contact them. They proactively and consistently positively reinforce their ‘Dramatic Difference in everything they do and work hard on building them into the way they do business – consistently!

Donald did this to great effect. Whether it was in interviews, debates, his ‘gatherings’ and his social media, those short sharp ‘irreverent’ messages kept coming through consistently, but again, not much ‘detail’.

In fact, even the ‘negatives’ of his history with women, recorded ‘casual conversations’ of him bragging about his approach to women that highlighted his macho, sexist views, although viewed very negatively by the ‘mainstream’ actually reinforced things to his target audience‘That’s our Donald kicking the establishment ass’!

Flying to the huge rallies in his branded Jumbo Jet to meet with thousands of his ‘customers’ wearing those red baseball caps and all fired up shouting ‘Build That Wall’ completely reinforced his core (lacking detail) message.

  • Marketing Lesson 4: Make Sure You’re Getting Enough!…

trump-rallyMany businesses say they have a ‘marketing problem’. The reality is they have a business generation problem. They simply do not have effective processes to generate sufficient enquires and sales from the sorts of customers they want. 3D Businesses take a proactive approach to establish clear targets for all aspects of their business generating activity and create a ‘recipe for success’ that is monitored and managed.

They target their activities in the right channels – ‘right’ being the ones that reach their customers. It wasn’t about massive advertising – OK he did quite a bit, but his advertising budget was ‘half’ of Hilary Clinton’s.

He targeted his customers through ‘face to face’ events using his celebrity and ‘Wrestlemania – type’ events to engage with them – again, it was communicating in a way with them that worked for them!

He also proactively used social media to ‘spread the word’ – often by saying ‘dumb’ or controversial things that would ensure that his message was passed on. He even took a hands on approach himself some mornings by tweeting himself about Miss Universe at 3.00am…. again, not necessarily delivering ‘presidential’ type messages, but his audience didn’t seem to mind!

His messages seemed more ‘personal’ and ‘spontaneous’ than Hilary’s and ultimately, it was about doing and saying things that got others to do the talking and spreading the word. Interestingly, he did it all with less than a quarter of Hilary’s staff resources – she had 800 on the payroll, he had 130!


So, we’ve now got a 3D President’…. or have we? Yes, he’s a great example of 3D Characteristic #2 but it’s got to be much more than that Maybe he hasn’t read the other chapters in the book yet. Will he Create ‘Delighted’ And Devoted Customers (3D Characteristic #3) and will he Maximise his Customer Relationships (3D Characteristic #4). I’m certainly not convinced he’s going to create a culture that engages and empowers people (3D Characteristic #5).

One of the key ingredients of marketing, as well as finding and attracting customers, is keeping them and getting them to come back for more! If I’m unhappy with a product or service, I can take it back to the supplier, and I can tell other people, so it’s in their interest to ‘deliver’ on their promises and look after me if they don’t.

So, in line with one of the principles of 3D Thinking  of exceeding expectations, here’s a 5th lesson…….

  • Marketing Lesson 5: Think Long Term, Not Just ‘Quick Wins’

trump-whitehouseMarketing is not about ‘hype’ and it’s not about the short term or a quick win’. So, yes, Donald has ‘won’ this election, and as a result of that and the nature of the job, he HAS to now focus on all his ‘customers’, which ultimately means me and you. Trump has got 4 years before anyone can do anything about what he does (or doesn’t). Let’s hope what he does it is good for ALL OF US, whether we’re part of his target customer group or not!

So, some final questions for you….

  • Do you have a clear picture of who your ‘best’ customers are?

  • Do you know what they want and need?

  • Are you ‘Dramatically Different’ from your competitors to attract and win those customers?

  • Do you ‘Demonstrate’ it in everything you do?

  • Are your marketing efforts focused in the right way and through the right channels?

  • Are you thinking long term and ensuring that you can deliver to get those customers to come back for more?

And Finally….

  • What do you need to do to make your business great (again)?!!!! 

To assess how you and your business ‘measures up’ when it comes to ‘Thinking in 3D, feel free to do our short FREE ONLINE 3D DIAGNOSTIC by simply CLICKING BELOW and using the password ahc#2 … It produces a simple report direct to your inbox to help point you in the right direction!

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