While mobster John Gotti inspired the name “The Teflon Don,” Donald Trump seems to be perfecting it. So far on the campaign trail, it doesn’t matter what group he offends or how many products with his name have failed. He just keeps rolling along.
As Advertising Age reports, when you’re The Donald, “There is a method to the madness, and from finding a need and filling (or exploiting) it … to tapping into consumer emotions, lessons can be gleaned from the campaign.”
Let’s start with an obvious disclaimer. As Ad Age notes, “a lot of what works for Mr. Trump would seem like brand suicide for a traditional marketer.”
Setting aside the offensive rhetoric, let’s take a look at the strategy he uses to get his point across and how it applies to radio.
Lesson #1: Be Bold and Less Apologetic. In a recent Republican debate, it was brought up that Trump had made multiple campaign contributions to Hillary’s past campaigns. What would be a knockout punch to other candidates was shrugged off. After all, he said, “I’m in business.”
If Trump owned radio stations, imagine him being asked about streaming audio, in interviews or by analysts. “Talk to me when Pandora or Spotify makes money. Next question.”
More importantly he’d be making sure his advertisers, employees and listeners all knew that radio is the 800 pound gorilla of audio.
Trump would also be happy to remind people, “If Pandora is so great at music discovery. Why are they helping you discover new artists you’ll never care about or want to listen to again? Just skip to the next song they play by an artist that you actually discovered on the radio or better yet, just turn on your favorite station.”
Lesson # 2: People Do What’s in Their Self-Interest. US News used the term “Marketer-in-Chief” to describe Trump. The article goes on to say that people support a brand, “because they believe it’s in their self-interest.” Hence the populist appeal on the campaign trail of Make America Great Again!
In a similar way, workers are frustrated with their daily commute and their jobs. For most, both are necessary to receive a paycheck. As a result, Trump would waste no time reminding people that it’s in their self-interest to listen to the radio in the car and at-work.
In fact, he’d empower people to Make Your Commute and Your Workday Great Again. A simple, yet powerful message that he would bring to life by consistently articulating radio’s existing core strengths.
Lesson #3: Focus on Your Most Passionate Fans. While other candidates are busy courting undecided voters, Trump’s strategy, focuses exclusively on his target audience. As Email Insider reports, “Trump has honed in on his segment of the party faithful and all of his messaging toward it, apparently not caring whether his outrageous statements resonate with moderate voters.”
Trump would size up radio the same way. In any major market, the #1 station often has less than 10% share, which means 90% are listening to someone else. Hardly a populist mandate. Yet, he would see how much money can be made from consistently delivering P1s in a target demo.
Coupled with the ongoing nature of PPM participation, he would hyper focus his on-air and off-air messaging to build relationships with his most passionate fans. He would see marketing as his programming off-air and his programming as his on-air marketing.
Will these strategies work in a general election? Too early to tell.
Right now, he’s not at that phase of the campaign yet. He understands how the game is currently played and what he needs to do at live events and on social media to Win the Moment and capture delegates.
While as an industry radio needs to be bolder and less apologetic, consistently dominant stations are already focusing on their most passionate fans (P1s) and tapping into their self-interest, which drives occasions and TSL.
A strong marketing strategy doesn’t just work for The Donald. Take a look at our latest campaign victories across ownership groups, markets and formats at dmrinteractive.com/win.
Thanks for reading and don’t forget to vote.
– Andrew Curran, President and COO