Posts Tagged ‘Trump’



November 13, 2016

I am not going to add to the relentless analysis of the recent election. If you love politics, read my friend Pete Sage’s political blog. It is well-written and very insightful. But I do want to cover three core marketing principles that your business can learn from Trump’s victory.

GET OUT AND MEET YOUR CUSTOMER – Most businesses today think they are listening to their customers. They tell me they monitor user review websites (Yelp, Amazon, TripAdvisor, Foursquare, Angie’s List, BBB, Manta, etc.) and use online surveys (Survey Monkey) to know what is going on. Big mistake, you do not know what is going on. The internet has a self-selecting bias. You are only going to hear from people who love or hate you. But what about the majority that do want to share their opinion and will simply not buy your product. Or the 20% that have no home internet access (Pew Research study)?

The Trump Marketing Lesson: On almost every measurable statistic, the economy is better than when Obama came into office in 2008. That’s a statistical fact. But Trump’s victory in Wisconsin reveals that 61% of voters said the economy was bad or “not so good.” Their vote was a rational choice. It was not a vote of deplorables. Oh, and never, never label your customers.  Bottom-line: nothing replaces getting out in the real world and asking your sales or service team for honest feedback on what customers think. Nothing replaces visiting your key customers and listening to their concerns. Do not rely on metrics only.

SELF-INTEREST IS YOUR CUSTOMERS ONLY INTEREST – All business run marketing programs because of their self-interest. They want to sell more, make more money and profits, and enjoy the rewards of their hard work. Therefore, most businesses place their self-interest over the interest of their customers. But as I have said in my book and in years of consulting, the only real interest customers have is self-interest. Trump totally understands this, perhaps because he so totally focused on marketing himself.

The Trump Marketing Lesson: If you focus on your client’s self-interests, they will overlook a lot, if they believe they are being heard. White evangelical Christians voted 81% for Trump. They simply overlooked locker room speak, playbook character flaws, numerous marriages, trophy wives, and questionable business ethics because Trump promised to lead with their self-interest in mind.

TAKE NOTHING FOR GRANTED – In this 24/7 digital world, your customers are overwhelmed. They long for a simpler time, where they can trust things they believed in as a child. But today we are outliving our value systems, and this makes everyone very fearful. Because of fear, your customer’s opinion of your business can change instantly based on what they hear or see. Remember, events create public opinion.

The Trump Marketing Lesson: You can’t take anything for granted in a constantly changing world. That is the essence of my PowerShift Marketing philosophy: if you are not doing something every day to move your business forward, you are moving backwards. There is no status quo. Are you a market leader and think you can rest? Forget it. Are you behind the market leader? Keep focused and work smarter.



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.



July 24, 2016

One of the marketing principles in my book POWERSHIFT MARKETING is that most people do not have a favorite product. Brand loyalty is pretty well dead especially with younger consumers. Most people today pick the least objectionable product. Think about how you watch TV. Using your remote, you click-through 200+ channels and when you find nothing you want to watch, you don’t turn off the TV. You simply select the least objectionable program.

This is very much where we are with this year’s presidential election. All polls show that the majority of Americans (59% or more) have an unfavorable view of Trump and Hillary. Even more people believe they are both untrustworthy. So, will voters just turn off the TV and not vote? I suspect that the majority of the 57.5% of eligible voters that vote (2012 data from the Center for the Study of the American Electorate) will reluctantly choose one of the two leading candidates.

Why is this important to small business marketing? Because you gain a tremendous marketing advantages if you are not the least objectionable product or service. That is why it is critical to make sure your potential customer have a favorable opinion of you. How do you do this?

Do not act like a presidential candidate. Our research and other studies we’ve reviewed show that people want to purchase products/services that are trustworthy, honest, do not over promise, and our transparent (what you see is what you get). Every month we conduct studies for our clients to make sure that these values are driving their brand.  It is unfortunately that one of the best brand marketers (Trump) and one of the worst (Hillary) have not learned more about the basics of real marketing.



August 14, 2015

I really don’t like politics. In fact, I’ve only worked on two campaigns in my life – one Republican and one Democratic (both were successful). But I just can’t seem to resist being sucked in to watch pundits trying to explain today’s political circus. It is kind of like watching a train wreck. So, why is Trump leading the Republican clown car? It has nothing to do with his plans for governing, since we haven’t heard them. It has far more to do with today’s cultural values than politics.

First, Americans do not value politicians. So that takes most candidates out of the game. A recent Rasmussen Reports Survey shows that only 3% of likely U.S. Voters think politicians are doing an excellent job. So why would we want one for President? We also don’t really value intelligence or education (60% of Americans have only a high school education). Today what Americans, especially younger ones, value is celebrity, money and power.

The bombastic Trump is the perfect storm – a living example of the three driving values in our society today. It is that simple.

CELEBRITY HAS VALUE – The most popular online and print publications all focus on celebrities, not politicians. Today an expanding world of social media lets everyone vicariously live via a celebrity’s life. The 24/7 media is also obsessed with celebrities, not journalism.  Why would Caitlyn Jenner be the most talked about speech at the ESPYS when the room was filled with sports stars?

MONEY HAS VALUE – We love people that we believe have “f_ _ _ you” money. We love to dream about having a lot of money (who hasn’t bought a lottery ticket?) because we think it would give us freedom to speak our mind. To have our own bully pulpit for sharing our opinions without fact checking. In fact, most people simply don’t care that the richest 1% in the United States now controls more wealth than the bottom 90%.

POWER HAS VALUE – We also love people that we perceive as powerful. We think they can say and act the way they want. And in America, power comes from money. From 1776 to today, those who have the money, have the power. G. William Domhoff, a Research Professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz, has written some interesting books on this subject; check out his website:

As for Bernie, he is kind of the anti-Trump. He is playing off a value shown in a 2011 study that people across the political spectrum, when they learn about how much the 1% controls, prefer a far more egalitarian distribution of wealth. He is also reflecting the political values of millennials, the largest potential voting segment in 2016 (see my upcoming August 17th post on millennial values). Oh, and he is also becoming a celebrity – “Feel the Bern!”