The Donald Trump candidacy: breaking the rules

Donald Trump has surged ahead, with 32% of the anticipated GOP primary vote, according to a recent CNN poll. This is a groundbreaking number at this point, with history being made, says CNN.

How can it be?

The outspoken real estate developer would have seemed an unlikely success story a year ago. His controversial messaging has made headlines and stirred debate since Day One.  For every fan, there is a cocktail party full of critical opposition and blatant hatred. So what is the secret to the current rankings?

In short, breaking the rules. Trump has figured out that the electorate has heard the same politically correct message from every candidate for decades. Never one to follow convention, The Donald is taking each known caveat and accepted must-do and torching them in one big bonfire of the vanities.

So what are the applications here to marketing in general and direct marketing in particular?

  1. Standing out from the pack works. Instead of using the exact same approach as every other candidate, Trump has developed his own style and distinct brand characteristics. So should any marketer looking to take share.
  1. Open with a big statement. Getting attention starts with a bold open. Whether it’s arresting design, a breakthrough channel, a major endorser, strong messaging or some combination of the above—making a “statement” in the marketplace is how success happens.
  1. Target your competition. Trump can be nasty. Not saying that works for marketing—but there are more subversive ways of beating the other brands competing for your same customers. Pricing, lists, promotion brilliance—whatever the strategy, it should always be competitive minded.
  1. Know your core base. Trump is getting credit for “saying things many people think but don’t say.” Rather than a Vulcan mind-meld, what that really means is he’s in touch with the pain points of his likely constituency. And that is our main job as marketers.
  1. Go hard or go home. Love him or hate him, you gotta admit the man is hitting it hard. So should we. No half-investments, no timid strategies. Today, the competition is tough in virtually every sector.  It’s Wheaties time in America’s marketplace.

We’re watching with curiosity, DT.

Direct Choice Inc. is a full-service direct marketing agency that has worked with national and regional brands in a wide variety of vertical markets. In addition to this blog, you can also find us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn


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