Love him or hate him, support or oppose him, promote or bash him – by many accounts, Donald J. Trump is a marketing genius. The 45th Leader of the Free World has made headlines for everything from global trade debacles to sexual transgressions but his stock has never been higher. While tiptoeing the line between politics and inappropriate dialogue, there are some revelations in effective marketing to be gained.
Early on in his 2016 presidential campaign, Trump identified his target demographics. Although easy in today’s two party system, there were a finite amount of consumers (voters) available and essentially only two products (candidates) to choose from. While Hillary Clinton dominated the left side of the political aisle, Trump was forced to identify what he could do well and target the voters that were most accessible to him. Policies aside, he developed a campaign that stoked the hot button issues that his targeted segments cared about most. Trump forced discussion and publicity of issues that divided consumers (voters) and Clinton would have had to sacrifice something she did well to compete with Trump’s popularity within his segment. Garnering support for polarizing opinions and platforms that Clinton could not easily replicate left him completely unopposed within the demographics he chose to target – similar to a monopoly in business context.
Customer centricity is a must for any firm hoping to find a lasting success in marketing their product; Trump used this theory in a unique way. The Republican ticket in 2016 made primarily conservative, working class Americans feel like there was a “product” tailored for them. Trump knew these demographics favored an anti-establishment movement; subsequently, the “drain the swamp” slogan was created that his supporters immediately latched onto. As the saying goes, consumers don’t want a quarter-inch drill bit, they want a solution for a quarter-inch hole – Trump made just enough voters believe that he was providing the solution for their unique problem.