To the casual observer, the American Primaries (and indeed American politics) make for interesting viewing. A confusing , protracted event, not unlike a bad reality show of deep seated patriotism, aimed at identifying the most popular Republican and Democrat candidate not to vote out of the house or off the island – as determined by those perhaps least qualified to do so.
American Primaries, for all the evangelical posturing and frenzied constituents screaming for their next potential leader of the free world, are intriguing. Whilst it’s nigh on impossible to go longer than a few seconds of viewing without an involuntary shake of the head in disbelief, there is one aspect that can’t be dismissed; The marketing nous of those still in contention, specifically, that of reality star, casino owner (and a few other pursuits), Republican candidate Donald Trump.
Trump’s campaign has adopted many of the marketing methods that have seen him excel in business and his personal brand rise, generating a level of support throughout the United States that was once considered implausible. Here’s how……
Divide and conquer or divide and capture ???
Trump has offended, insulted and marginalised individuals and groups throughout his campaign. Political suicide for most, yet still his popularity grows. Is this luck, or an absolute understanding of the target audience? Trumps segments, defined by demography, geography, behaviour and attitudes reveals that his core ‘Supporters are a bit older, less educated and earn less than republican averages’ Brady, Douglas (2015)
This segment provides Trump with a significant Republican supporter base. However, his strategy reveals an unexpected breadth to reach multiple segments as demonstrated by the recent New Hampshire primary where ‘he won working class men without college diplomas – and almost every other demographic group’ Friedersdorf (2016).
Trump has a clear message with an appeal across segments – integral to political success.
Trump wants you!
Trump’s brash, unapologetic manner and controversial statements are nothing new to American voters, long subjected to his reality shows, books and television appearances. Many of these views are mirrored by his ever growing supporter base who have tired of the political rhetoric and apparent lack of action, a clear demonstration he and his team have managed to ‘… select their ideal customer segment(s) to target’ Iacobucci (2014 P.43).
The savvy Trump has successfully identified the profitability of the customer segment, whose views on topical issues such as immigration, ISIS and unemployment , coupled with his no-nonsense approach, align, ensuring a strategic fit. Competitive comparisons also see Trump emerge from the monotony of political campaigning, positioning himself as an outlier and a man of action.
‘Make America Great Again’
Politicians often try to be all things to all people in an attempt to garner the most votes, understandably given the nature of elections. Defined, targeted segments however, are paramount to success. Trump, with his innate ability to offend, has clearly not attempted to be all things to all people. He has however, positioned himself to capture his target segment with the decisive positioning statement – ‘Make America Great Again’.
This simple, yet clear message, ‘connects his three specific actions (Build a wall, Attack ISIS, Stop Muslim immigration) to a higher-order benefit: Make America Great Again’ Calkins, Hennessy (2016)
And the next President of the United States of America is…..
Well that remains to be seen and thankfully, the presidential election sees a nation determine the outcome.
What is clear is that Trump has transitioned from billionaire entrepreneur to Presidential candidate with relative ease. Whether he ultimately takes office or not, one thing is for certain, the rise and rise of Trump will ensure political campaigning will never be the same.
Brady,D & Rivers,D 2015, ‘Who Are Trump’s Supporters? The Hard Stats’, Newsweek, 18 September 2015, retrieved 2 April 2016, <http://www.newsweek.com/who-are-trumps-supporters-hard-stats-373560>
Friedersdorf, C 2016, The Unexpected Breadth of Donald Trump’s Appeal’, The Atlantic, 12 February 2016, retrieved 2 April 2016, <http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/02/the-surprising-breadth-of-donald-trumps-appeal/462327/>
Iacobucci, D 2013 Marketing Management (MM) 4th edition, Cengage Learning
Clakins, T & Hennessy, J 2016, The Secret Behind Donald Trump’s Savvy Brand Building, Fortune, 6 January 2016, retrieved 6 April 2016, <http://fortune.com/2016/01/06/donald-trump-tv-ad-muslims/>
Image 1: Gateway Pundit 2016, Trump Meets Behind Closed Doors with Republican National Committee, 31 March 2016, retrieved 9 April 2016, <http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2016/03/breaking-trump-meets-behind-closed-doors-republican-national-committee/>
Image 2: Politics That Work 2015, Who is voting for Trump, 19 September 2015, retrieved 9 April 2016, <http://politicsthatwork.com/blog/trump-supporters.php>
Image 3: Coca, o, 2015, Freedom Force, Why Are GOP Voters Seriously Considering Donald Trump, 17 July 2015, retrieved 10 April 2016, <http://freedomforce.com/why-are-gop-voters-seriously-considering-donald-trump/>