Continuing from How Trump Won – part 1 – SOSTAC® Analysis, where we looked at the first three stages of the plan: Situation Analysis (where was Trump?); Objectives (where did he want to go?) & Strategy (how was he going to get there?), now let’s explore Tactics (the details of strategy); Action (how to ensure excellent execution) and Control (how do we know we are getting there?). In particular, we’ll explore how he used, what I call, the Magic Marketing Formula to win.
Tactics includes the marketing mix and this includes the communications mix. So whether it is a facebook ad, a social media post or tweet, a conference speech or any tactical tool, the key (apart from targeting) is to ensure the right message is shared (or ‘reflected to the audience’). This is, what I call, the Magic Marketing Formula.
The Magic Marketing Formula – IRD
Here it is:
- Identify (needs)
- Reflect (those needs with solutions or sometimes just slogans) back to your audience
- Deliver (a reasonable product or service).
Professor Sandel continues: "The language of patriotism has been appropriated by the right for the most part. There’s no reason why centre-left parties can’t reclaim and articulate their own conception of national purpose, national community and shared identity & patriotism. What the elite missed was the sources of the anger & resentment that has led to the populist upheavals in the US & Britain & many other parts of the world."
Although Trump is part of a different establishment (business establishment) swing voters seemed to accept his carefully controlled positioning as a non-establishment politician. Perhaps a Pavlovian conditioning – repeating the same message again and again and, after a while, his audience believed this, despite seeing Trump flying around the country in his “Trump” branded 757 plane. Perhaps because by doing so he showcased an aspirational lifestyle that appealed to white, working-class Americans (NB the magic marketing formula: identify needs/aspirations – reflect them back, ironically, via your own mobile media/your own private jet).
Tactics: Proposition: ‘change’
The promise of ‘change’ worked for Obama previously & this time it worked for Trump too. Interestingly, both Trump and Obama (in previous Obama campaigns) identified that many people still want change. Obama promised it in a positive light ‘whilst Trump used anger to get it across’ (Kanski 2016). However, this time, Trump went after the disenchanted relentlessly and rammed home his message of ‘angry change’.
“In the end it was a clear-cut message: If you’re happy with the status quo, vote her; if you want change, vote for me,” said Dan Scandling, senior director of public affairs at APCO Worldwide. “That was what resonated.”
“She (Clinton) never effectively communicated how she was going to make people’s lives better beyond hanging her hat on the last eight years,” says Aaron Gordon, partner at Schwartz Media. (Kanski 2016).
Clinton’s more rational (and longer) economic and social arguments might have missed the attention span of those swing voters, as did the ‘Remain’ campaign in the UK’s now notorious Brexit referendum. Lord Heseltine (former UK Deputy Prime Minister under John Major and Secretary of State under Thatcher ) summed up short attention spans, lack of facts and policies, when referring to the UK’s Brexit, he pointed the finger at one of its ‘Leave Campaign’ leaders who has since become the UK’s foreign minister, Boris Johnson, and said:“How convenient to substitute a slogan in place of arguments you have not got.”
As our attentions spans have shrunk from 42 seconds in 1960 (see
Preaching what audiences like to hear (IRD)
‘What that translates into is a constant iterative process whereby he (Trump) experiments with pushing the conversation this way or that, and he sees how the crowd responds. If they like it, he goes there. If they don’t respond, he never goes there again, because he doesn’t want to be boring. If they respond by getting agitated, that’s a lot better than being bored. That’s how he learns….. In that sense he’s perfectly objective, as in morally neutral. He just follows the numbers. He could be replaced by a robot that acts on a machine learning algorithm’ (O’Neil 2016).
Through data analysis (big data) Trump was able to send different messages to different groups of voters with different needs. ‘Cutting immigration’ or “draining the swamp” of corrupt or incompetent politicians and bureaucrats – messages were targeted only at those that connected with these messages. (I’m going to have to do a Part 3 to explain how this worked).
‘Once up and running at the end of the summer, it was soon sending out tailored messages to 100,000 targeted voters every day’ (Marr 2017).
Proposition, message credibility & messages
Trump reached many disenchanted blue collar male voters by reflecting his messages in their language e.g. by ‘talking about the world and globalism in terms of winners and losers,’ Eric Bovim (Kanski 2016). Not everyone can understand social economics, but everyone understands the concept of winners and losers. Short. Simple. And not weighed down by actual facts or policies.
Having said that, if a significant proportion of the voting population do not want to hear long-winded arguments, then Trump just applied the Magic Marketing Formula (IRD) again and again, by keeping it short, tapping into fears and emotions, reflecting keywords that connect, but avoiding detail at all costs.
Trump is a ‘meaningfully different brand’
‘Meaningfully different brands’ are much more likely to be selected, to command greater premiums and to grow in the future,” says Christopher Murphy, chief client officer at brand analysts, Millward Brown North America.
Q1 Does the candidate meaningfully connect – either functionally or emotionally?
Q2 Is the candidate seen as different or capable of driving positive change?”
Trump, Murphy concluded, did both (Fottrell 2016).
Tactical tool – Twitter
Trump’s preferred vehicle to spread his message was largely his Twitter feed. He built his momentum on Twitter, spreading the #MakeAmericaGreatAgain or #MAGA hashtag widely. 12 million followers (9 Nov – now 16.4m)
Clinton’s Twitter feed (11.4m) felt more traditional and political (Kanski 2016). Clinton’s slogan ‘Stronger Together’ did not generate nearly as much traction. It is possible to predict which tweets/messages will get the most retweets. Though I could have forecasted ‘Stronger Together’ was limp and wouldn’t gain much traction.
Tactical tool – Targeting Facebook ads: 1,000% increase in sales
Jared Kushner (Trump’s son in law) who set up the stage 2 Strategy, database decision making and highly targeted facebook ads (& other cable TV targeted ads), also quickly learned how to continually refine the targeting of facebook ads. See 200 variables available to target specific messages. In fact, he quickly increased the sales of Trump merchandising (e.g. baseball caps with ‘Make America Great Again’) from $8,000 to $80,000 per day – ‘simply by refining the target demographic’ (Marr 2017).
Build a campaign team
Soon, Jared Kushner, was assembling a speech and policy team, handling Trump’s schedule and managing the finances.
Build a data centre
As mentioned in Part 1, within three weeks, in a nondescript building outside San Antonio, Kushner built what would become a 100-person data hub designed to unify:
They also tapped into the ‘Republican National Committee’s data machine, and it hired targeting partners like Cambridge Analytica to map voter universes and identify which parts of the Trump platform mattered most: trade, immigration or change’ (Bertoni 2016). Forbes reported: ‘Tools like Deep Root drove the scaled-back TV ad spending by identifying shows popular with specific voter blocks in specific regions–say, NCIS for anti-ObamaCare voters or The Walking Dead for people worried about immigration.
Kushner built a custom geo-location tool that plotted the location density of about 20 voter types over a live Google Maps interface.’
Very quickly data determined decisions, so just like Teddy Goff and previous Obama campaigns, data dictated almost every campaign decision including:
- rally locations
- topics of the speeches
- generating revenue
- expanding the number of human billboards
Machine learning helped to boost their fundraising efforts. Kushner installed digital marketing companies on a trading floor to make them compete for business.
Using 3,000 tweets from Trump and 3,000 from Clinton, here is Trump’s most frequently used words visualised in a word-cloud:
By PR Smith
Originally posted on PR Smith
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