Lessons Marketers can Learn from Donald J Trump’s Ascent to the White House

Marketing is one of the core branches of business. Now, I’m guessing all of you must be aware of the fact that no business can survive in the long run without marketing and branding its products and/or services in the right manner. What marketing does is that it creates an image of the product in the minds of its target audience with which they identify themselves and that leads them to buy the company’s product or avail its services. So in simple terms, marketing directly brings sales and eventually, profits.

Every marketing campaign focuses on its desired set of target audience. It’s all about creating a niche market and ensuring that your customers stay loyal to you. A marketing campaign can be used to sell anything ranging from products and services to people and their skills. One of the most successful marketing campaigns that we have witnessed in the recent times ensured that Donald Trump becomes the President of the United States of America. When you think about it, it was all about selling the reality TV star to the voters and convincing them that he is capable enough to “Make America Great Again.” The Trump brand slogan effectively outdid some of the most prominent brand slogans in terms of popularity and brand recall.

So, let’s have a look at some of the valuable lessons we can learn from Donald Trump’s marketing playbook:

#1) A Call to Action: All powerfully placed brands call on customers to do something. ThumsUp’s “Aaj Kuch Toofani Karte Hain” and Nike’s “Just Do it” are some of the finest examples of this. On the same lines, Trump gave the US citizens an idea to believe in, in the form of “Make America Great Again!” This was a highly impressive call to action with a majestic goal with which each voter could have identified himself. It’s about clear positioning of the brand that all marketers must do.

#2) Remind the customers of good old days: Promising the consumers of an uncertain future (however good you make them believe it will be) generally doesn’t work with the majority as most of the people are not early adopters and also if your brand is new to the arena dominated by other brands. Trump, however, who has never served in any kind of a public office, made his way into the mother of all public offices by reminding the citizens (consumers) of a glorious past and promising a better tomorrow. The addition of the word “Again” was no accident to his slogan. The voters were made to believe that America is not what it was in the past, but the good old days can return if Trump was made the president. And this worked like a charm for his campaign.

#3) Get your old and forgotten customers back: Have you ever noticed how banks and financial firms always chase their high-value customers while ignoring their less financially endowed customers. Trump did not make that mistake. He used the Democrats’ highly appreciated policy of embracing diversity against them and got blue collar democrats (who were being ignored by their party) to support him. All the Republican supporters came to vote for their champion and by winning the hearts of the forgotten blue collar democrats, Trump ensured his win. Similarly, good marketers always know how to balance customer retention with customer acquisition.

#4) Fiction > Facts: There was no doubt about the fact that Clinton would have demolished Trump with her experience and knowledge of politics. However, that didn’t come out to be true. Did it? Trump knew it could be tough for him to win against an established brand in a fair fight. Therefore, he offered US citizens a painting of a greater tomorrow and the painting was nothing short of a Da-Vinci or a Van Gogh. He showed them dreams of goals and outcomes while not elaborating on the means and policies to achieve those dreams. Just like what all the fairness cream brands do in India. However, now that he is the POTUS, he’ll also have to deliver on those dreams. If he doesn’t, the consumers will lose their trust in the brand and won’t re-purchase the product after four years.

#5) Be passionate and make people believe in that passion: Every marketer and sales person know the power of ‘word of mouth.’ In the time of social media, having a better campaign team and spending a fortune on advertising weren’t enough for Clinton. Trump’s determination to win was evident by his passion. Giving five speeches in a day and the sea of supporters during those speeches impressed average voters who were watching on television and that turned the tide in favour of Trump.

#6) Confidence: Whoever said that “Confidence is the key to success,” couldn’t have been more right. In every speech, Trump told his supporters with utmost confidence, “we are going to win.” Customers like to back up a brand which is not only a winner but also sees itself as a winner. And they also want to back a brand which people like them see as a winner. That’s when a brand becomes a BRAND. Unlike brand Clinton, brand Trump confidently promised a future that looks like the glorious yesterday. He exuded confidence and a drive to win. He was the underdog and the outsider we all root for in movies. And eventually, this confident persona is what paved his way to the Pride Rock.


Although the election/marketing campaign of Trump provides marketers with many valuable lessons which they can incorporate in the dynamic business world, one thing they must never forget – Effective branding and campaigning can make the customer buy a product, but if the product turns out to be faulty or does not deliver on what it promised, then its time on the shelves is short-lived.

Brand Trump is the next big thing or a revolutionary new product in the market, but if it fails to deliver on its promises, it will fade out by the next election.


Author: Saksham Gaur

Great Lakes, Gurgaon