Whilst I certainly won’t claim to have predicted a Trump win, I can certainly understand how he’s managed it. Here’s 5 lessons that we can learn from his victory.
- Have a simple and clear purpose
Trump’s point of view – that America is in decline and is in need of radical change – was simple and clearly articulated.
Clinton was essentially running an incumbent’s campaign and was more focused on the threat her opponent posed than on what she would do for the country.
It turns out that this is a ‘change’ election. More people are dissatisfied with the direction of the country than satisfied with it and they felt that Trump represented the best chance of altering it.
- Earned media is more important than paid
Hillary Clinton has significantly outspent Trump on advertising; Clinton looks to have spent around $210 million (and outside groups supporting her have spent around $100 million) on TV advertising whilst Trump has spent around $75 million (and his supporters just over $37 million).
However, Trump has generated significantly more earned media – one estimate gives him nearly double the earned media value over the last 12 months.
- If you don’t have much to spend, spend it late
Trump’s campaign knew that they were going to be outspent overall and so waited until the last minute to unleash a blitz of TV ads. This is sensible as there’s plenty of research to suggest that political advertising’s effect is fairly short-lived.
- A good ground game isn’t enough
Hillary Clinton’s campaign contacted twice as many voters as Trump’s; exit polls show that 17% said they were spoken to by Clinton’s campaign v.s 8% saying they were reached by Trump’s.
But Trump’s dominance in the air war (see earned media share point) rendered it insignificant.
- Know who will decide the election and speak about what matters to them
Trump’s campaign felt that they could hold all the states that went for Romney and flip mid-Western states like Ohio, Michigan, Iowa and Wisconsin.
Given the demographics of these states, Trump relentlessly spoke about the cultural and political issues that matter most to (largely white) working class people.