What Marketers Can Learn From Donald Trump

Whether you’re wallowing in grief over Trump’s miraculous win, or you’re simply astounded that The Simpsons somehow predicted this feat 16 years ago, the moral of the story is the same — somehow, he nailed the marketing game.

Whilst we could all sit here and ponder his motives and grunt over his mind-blowingly inappropriate actions throughout the course of his campaign, Donald Trump still has a few things to teach those in the marketing field. That doesn’t leave poor Clinton out either, by the way, it’s just that I still simply can’t get my mind over the fact that this guy is now the most powerful man on the planet — naturally my mind is on him and his toupee.


Still, as this painfully orange figure takes the podium for the next four years, there’s a few lessons we can thank Trump and Clinton for delivering us as marketers. No, seriously. Don’t click away. It will be worth your time.

Know your ideal audience and target strategically

There are just some parties that certain people will never vote for. You’ll find specific states staying well away from voting for Clinton, just as you’ll find specific states that will vow never to vote Trump. Both candidates have effectively used their 2016 campaign to target the right audiences. It was no surprise to see Trump aiming to influence white males without a college degree, considering they represented almost half of the white voting population. It was also to no surprise that Clinton campaigned hard towards women and a variety of minority groups. They knew their audience and they maximised their influence by doing so.


Exit poll results via NY Times

In the marketing world, that’s exactly what it means to think strategically about how to gain the interests of certain audiences. Thinking about the end-user means thinking about the actual target market, their interests, their education and gender, and even their race — it all plays a role. If you’ve managed to secure an audience but you’re finding it’s still too broad or vague, narrow it down and refine it until you’ve pinpointed a persona that you can almost build up and envision in your head. Think of them hypothetically and how they would come across if you met them in person — how would a conversation go with them?

Social media is a bittersweet game changer

Trump’s social media presence is well-known, especially to those dabbling on Twitter. He has had his fair share of awkward moments and foot-in-mouth mishaps this year, all of which have now lead to him abandoning the account overall.

As we’re constantly involved in representing businesses, it’s critical all marketers alike create boundaries in terms of what is allowed to be posted on social media. In conjunction, there should be clear guidelines in place towards who has access and who is in charge of monitoring these actions. Any impulse posts can potentially burn any marketing efforts to the ground in a matter of seconds, so it pays to know where the line is drawn.

Keep it simple…but not stupid

Don’t stress that you’re coming across too “simplistic” for audiences. Especially in these modern times, digital consumers are constantly on the fly, meaning reading over-complicated content will only increase bounce rates, neglected engagement and come across as a waste of time. Don’t expect to find success if you’re blasting complex messages that will require your target audience to sit and decipher what exactly you meant in the first place. Opt for a clear-cut, simple message that will resonate with multiple audiences so that the likelihood of virality is increased.


Trump’s dominant personality constantly made him the centre of attention, and while some say any publicity is good publicity, it’s important to remember that, in the digital age, you’re always in the spotlight. Be smart.