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DONALD TRUMP WILL WIN THE ELECTION

August 31, 2016

I saw this headline on a Facebook post recently and I’ve seen similar ones. Given the current polls, why would anyone think Trump could win? Before I tell you why, I want to remind you that this is a marketing, not a political, blog. I believe the election offers some great marketing lessons. So, what does Trump have going for him?

Customers do not always tell the truth. As a researcher, I believe the polling models are under-reporting Trump’s level of support. In social science it is called: Social Desirability Bias. Respondents want to answer questions in a manner that will be viewed favorably by others. If you are a college educated white male, a woman, a Hispanic or an African-American, are you going to tell pollster that you are supporting Trump? Especially when it seems that everyone is telling you, you would be crazy to do this? So, you lie, until you get to the voting booth. MARKETING LESSON: If you are conducting a survey it is critical that you structure questions to reduce all types of bias. That’s why firms continue to hire us even if they do their own data collection.

You are in trouble if your customers don’t like you. The most recent Washington Post-ABC News poll shows that 56% of Americans view Clinton unfavorably. Of course, Trump isn’t real popular either and that is the marketing takeaway. MARKETING LESSON: Many people do not have a favorite product. They have ones they avoid. They often pick the least objectionable product. That is what we are seeing in Trump vs. Clinton. Remember, it is essential that your customers respect and like you, if you want them to come back.  A variety of research tools can be used to track how you are doing with your customers. Dr. Lougee and I will be happy to share this information with you.

Journalism is entertainment. Have you ever sent a story out and you barely recognize it when it is published? The unbiased journalism model I studied at the University of Oregon is, dead. Today news is entertainment and Trump is, first and foremost, an entertainer. Seriously, if you were going to a dinner would it be more fun to sit next to Trump or Hillary? MARKETING LESSON: News is almost always slanted to the audience a media must entertain. That’s why when you send a story out, you must know who will be reading it – so you can tailor to their self-interest.

Skilled communicators create the world we perceive. Trump now has one of the best professional communications teams you can buy with pollster Kellyanne Conway and Breitbart News Chairman Stephen Bannon. These people know how to take advantages of today’s 24/7 media. They helped create the current media model. MARKETING LESSON: Most often, facts do not change a person’s personal opinion. We live in a world of perceptions – what is in it for me. That’s why retaining communication specialists are critical in shaping your brand (or candidates).

Now, Trump does have an uphill battle because of the electoral college structure. But never count out a competitor until you have a sale.

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