Make Marketing Great Again: 3 Lessons from the Campaign Trail

Are we there yet? Only 15 weeks from now, the polls will open, the votes will be tallied, and we’ll finally know whether our next leader is our first woman or our first reality television host.

2016 Presidential Candidates Placing Focus on New Marketing Techniques

The times and weeks that follow will be filled with analysis of how exactly we finished up #withher or #greatagain and whether (and how) we’re building walls or tearing them down.

Every four years, such campaigns reinvent the wheel. Whether it had been Lyndon Johnson’s ground-breaking television ads in 1964 or President Barack Obama’s mastery of technology and social media in 2008, each election cycle has provided us valuable lessons that marketers have then utilized and incorporated to their own campaigns.

These times has its "first": For the very first time since 1952, a significant party candidate has outright abandoned the certainty and security of paid media. Consider television, once considered the main political communications tool.

Despite being outspent 15-to-1 on TV ads, Donald Trump was still effectively tied with Hillary Clinton heading in to the conventions.

For all those folks who obsess of these things, the one thing more unconventional than Trump’s rhetoric has been his capability to remain competitive, forgoing 30-second spots for the free media TV interviews and Twitter posts provide him.

Campaign tactics between your two presidential nominees have differed in other, surprising ways. Going for a page from Obama’s playbook, Clinton has relied heavily on big data to see campaign decisions. “We are employing math to greatly help elect Hillary,” starts one job description posted on her behalf campaign website. Around this writing, the campaign lists over 10 open positions on the “Analytics” team, with searches under method for roles as varied as “Natural Language Processing Analyst” and “Survey Methodologist.”

Trump, alternatively, has been owning a “data-free campaign.” "I’ve always felt it had been overrated," Trump told the Associated Press when asked about the need for having a complicated data operation.

Despite their divergent approaches, both campaigns have proven equally adept at reaching and influencing targeted audiences.

From their usage of sophisticated targeting methodologies with their unwavering reliance on traditional email, the campaigns have presented other interesting and frequently useful lessons that connect with all areas of marketing.

5 Marketing Lessons Learned Watching Donald Trump Run for President

Each day is game day if you are running for president. Every hand shaken, baby kissed, event attended and door knocked is an opportunity to influence a vote and change the fate of your campaign.

In these high-stakes competitions, the campaigns fight for each vote in a one-on-one style referred to as “retail politics.”

This style, when manifested online, implies that each and every ad and website experience is personalized to the precise recipient. By matching their efforts to offline voter-file data — appended with various models (e.g., someone’s likelihood to vote, own a gun, be Hispanic, support environmental causes, drive a Volvo, sign up to the National Geographic, etc.) — political campaigns can easily deliver granular messages to every individual and monitor how each ad or little bit of content influences that person’s opinions and behaviors.

According to 1 Democratic campaign consultant, even voters surviving in the same household in key states are being served different online ads and messages with varying images, colors and calls-to-action. These messages are altered even more by data gleaned from recipients’ voting history, online behaviors and even offline activities — such as for example if they skip through the campaign’s own TV ads.

Winning votes is hand-to-hand combat. So, maybe there must be no real surprise that selling an applicant is like selling other things.

Friends write emails just how people used to create letters. Brands write emails just how they used to market in supermarket circulars. Political campaigns? They fall somewhere among, mixing personal messages with an individual, personalized proactive approach.

“When I believe about why I’m running for president,” Clinton offered her supporters in a recently available email, “I usually come back to one individual: my mother.” The e-mail ended with: “Michael [that will be me, this article’s writer], is it possible to chip in $187 today?”

When was the last time you received a contact like this from a brand? Probably never.

Another interesting thing is that, beyond their casual tones, emails from both Clinton and Trump are surprisingly light on graphics, are always "signed" by the writer and feature just one single personalized call-to-action predicated on your own prior actions and donations. This disciplined, personalized and personal approach results in open rates and engagement rates that could embarrass even the savviest non-political marketers.

So maybe that is something that you should consider: Stop mass-emailing graphic-intense catalogs and begin considering a far more personalized approach. Invite visitors to personally participate, just as the campaigns are doing.

Move over, branded content. Campaigns today are about branded merch. From limited edition t-shirts created by fashion icons to the world’s most well-known hat, Trump and Clinton have raked in millions while turning their supporters into walking billboards.

Beyond the most obvious items one might be prepared to find in a candidate’s web store, the campaigns today are available iPhone cases, ties, socks, beer cozies, even decorative throw pillows which cost $55 each. Each one of these items are emblazoned with slogans that reinforce your loyalty, broadcast your support and raise money for campaign activities.

Trump and Clinton also have mastered the art of the high-impact, low-cost contest. Want an opportunity to dine with George Clooney? Score a ticket to the musical Hamilton? See your name in lights? By registering for text messages, quitting their email, syncing their social media account or making an online donation, supporters receive news before it’s public; if not they enter to win from a campaign button to gain access to to events usually reserved for high-dollar donors.

So, give consideration: If you are selling something besides an applicant, such a quid-pro-quo approach might just turn your happy customers into your most passionate fans.

And that could be among the secrets to making each day your own Election Day.

Ultimately, there can be only 1 victor in November, although lessons from the campaign trail can and really should live on in the task of each brand marketer.

4 Digital Marketing Wins OUT OF THIS Year’s Presidential Candidates

Brands that bring a data-driven method of every consumer interaction, that produce communications more personalized and personal and have confidence in the energy of digital media to surprise and delight will see themselves in a position to inspire their fans and win your day. They don’t win the White House, ho

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