Like him or not, Donald Trump is one of America’s most successful entrepreneurs. Whether it’s in the board room or the campaign trail, success leaves clues. To better understand why Trump is having the success he is and how entrepreneurs can apply similar strategies to trump their competition, I attended a recent Trump rally in New Hampshire.
Note: This is a sales and marketing article, not an endorsement of Donald Trump or any other politician’s candidacy. Success leaves clues, and this is simply a study of how you can gain massive amounts of attention for your brand like he has. A political campaign is just a big sales and marketing campaign, and there are a lot entrepreneurs can learn from it if they pay attention.
There are a number of definitions of the word trump -- and many seem to apply to Presidential candidate Donald Trump.
- a card of a suit any of whose cards will win over a card that is not of this suit -- called also trump card
- to do better than (someone or something) in a contest, competition, etc.
- a dependable and exemplary person
In the most crowded, competitive Republican race perhaps ever, Donald Trump seemingly dominates the news cycle non-stop. In a crowded, commoditized marketplace, how do you trump the competition and render them irrelevant?
Here are five strategies Trump uses that you can employ in your business.
1. Marketing first
He recognizes that he is in the business of marketing first, and everything else second. Case in point: The domain name JebBush.com is owned by Donald Trump and redirects users to DonaldJTrump.com
Have you adopted the mindset that you are a marketer first and then are in the business of whatever product or service your brand provides? Don’t be a “secret agent." If you have the greatest product in the world but no one knows about you -- you’re sunk.
Have you checked the expiration dates and availability of competitors domains that you could redirect to yours? How about misspellings of your name? If you spelled my name wrong and went to CoachBrew.com, it would redirect you back to CoachBru.com. Remember not everyone spells well (see #2).
2. Speaking in sound bytes
If you listen carefully to his campaign speeches, television and radio interviews, you will hear a marketer more so than a candidate. Trump speaks in highly quotable and tweetable sound bites, not a lot of political mumbo jumbo or technical jargon. He keeps his message on simple, specific points, he’s polarizing, speaks abruptly and at a level his audience can easily understand.
The average reading level in the U.S. is seventh grade. Do you communicate with your audience at a level they can easily understand, or do you use a lot of industry jargon to try to sound like an expert?
Marketing is about gaining “mindshare,” and Trump has been receiving 54 percent of the media coverage of the Republican race, which is six times the coverage of the second place candidate.
I would argue that in some cases, he manufactures it to his advantage. As opposed to most of his competitors, Trump uses real-time marketing not traditional advertising. His twitter presence and level of real-time engagement with followers has led him to receive hours of free media attention.
Take a long, hard look at your social-media posts. Are they simple online advertisements, or are you using real-time marketing and creating a dialogue? The former is essentially spam, the latter has a proven return on investment.
4. Brand you.
He knows how to build a personal brand and has near universal name recognition. In a recent USA Today survey, 98 percent of Americans report recognizing the Trump name. It stands to reason with a social-media following exponentially greater than many of his competitors.
The game of politics has changed -- the days of simply fundraising and buying television and radio commercials are gone. The game has changed in similar fashion in business. Long gone are the days of simply hanging up a shingle and placing a few print or radio ads to drive people to your doorstep. Traditional advertising is expensive and ineffective. Real-time social-media marketing is a free and an incredibly powerful tool at any entrepreneur’s disposal.
Social media drives how consumers follow brands and businesses as well. A client of mine asked me when he should start an Instagram account for his business. My answer was six years ago.
5. Law of sevens
People need at least seven ways to connect who you are with what you do. Trump’s seven connections are: Trump golf resorts, casinos, Trump plaza, NBC’s hit reality shows The Apprentice and Celebrity Apprentice as well as frequent appearances on late-night talk shows and ads for various products and now most recently his candidacy for president.
What are seven ways people can connect the dots to your brand? For me, it is through publishing books, articles, a radio show, speaking engagements, producing a movie about one of my books, social-media engagement and a 100-percent referral-based coaching business.
It’s not what you know or who you know, as the old saying goes. In today’s marketplace, who knows you trumps everything else. The best way to maximize who knows you is to give your audience multiple means to connect the dots to your brand. Do yourself a favor, create at least seven ways people can connect who you are with the value your brand provides.
Remember where the attention goes, the money flows. Someone’s going to get the attention -- so why not you?
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