Donald Trump stunned Hillary Clinton and the world by winning the election. Here are four observations on his victory and what it means for marketers.
Few people expected a Trump victory. The most sophisticated researchers, using the most advanced techniques, were quite confident in their projections. In recent days the experts said Clinton had a 90% chance of winning. It was a near certainty.
The data was so clear that the Clinton campaign cut advertising support in safe markets and redirected the money to stretch markets and helping other candidates, hoping to win not just the presidency but also the Senate.
The information was wrong.
It isn’t clear what happened. Perhaps the surveys didn’t reach large portions of the population. I know I avoid pollsters when I can. Perhaps people didn’t respond honestly. Perhaps researchers simply ignored the signs.
The lesson is that market research data isn’t always accurate. Use the information with care.
Donald Trump communicated a benefit. He argued that the country is on the wrong track and that he would improve things. He would restructure trade deals, limit immigration and abandon Obamacare. He would Make America Great Again.
Hillary Clinton didn’t communicate as tight a benefit. How would she change things? She didn’t say. Instead, she attacked Trump’s character and promised continuity with Obama policies, so more of the same. This was not a motivating platform for many people. Why continue with policies that don’t seem to be working very well?
People seek powerful benefits.
Values based marketing is a popular concept in the world of marketing, the idea that people will support firms that are honorable and do important work in the world.
Trump’s victory shows that for most people values are secondary.
Clinton won the values battle. She came across as inclusive, open, honorable and elegant. She counted on this platform to carry the election; her final ad focused on character, not policies.
Trump was a bully, a fighter, a jerk. He mocked the disabled and disparaged women.
In the end, people went with Trump.
The results show that while people care about values, they are secondary to benefits. Ultimately people make decisions on the overall value proposition. What is the benefit? What is the price? An honorable firm that tries to sell an inferior product at a high price isn’t going to do well.
Trump had a simple, focused message. He stood for change and a new approach to trade, immigration and healthcare.
Clinton lacked this tight focus. In her campaign, she said she was for the environment, free college, accessible healthcare, choice, equality, higher taxes on the wealthy, more regulation all around.
When people stepped up to vote, there was a clear reason to vote for Trump and it resonated.