It’s the Customer, Stupid

What was the marketing lesson from the presidential campaign of 2016?

Let’s review.

Hillary Clinton’s main marketing message, or campaign slogan, was, “I’m with Her.”

Donald Trump’s main marketing message was “Make America Great Again.”

The Clinton campaign focused their message on their candidate.

In other words, “She’s a woman, we’ve never had a woman president, so vote for her.”

(Late in the campaign it morphed into “She’s not Trump,” Although they never put it in those words, it was clear her negative campaigning was focused on making Trump look bad, so she would appear better by comparison.)

The Trump campaign focused instead on the widespread feeling of discontent with the status quo. The idea that America, and her citizens, were in trouble and needed help.

In other words, “I feel your pain. I’m going to fix this mess.”

One campaign was “product focused.”

The other was “customer focused.”

Customer focus wins every time.

Think back to Bill Clinton’s theme. “It’s the economy, Stupid.”

That’s basically the same as Trump’s. “I feel your pain. I’m going to fix this mess.”

Bill Clinton focused on the widespread feeling of discontent with the status quo.

And who can forget Obama’s theme? “Hope and Change.”

“I will give you hope. I will make the change you need.”

Barack Obama focused on the widespread feeling of discontent with the status quo.

Both customer focused. Both winners.

If you want to counter with, “But Hillary got millions more votes than Trump did! Clearly she had the more effective message!”

I would argue that Trump got the votes that mattered, because he got more votes in the LOCATIONS that made a difference.

Trump’s campaign message was targeted to specific demographics in specific geographies.

He knew who, and WHERE, his “best customers” were. He crafted a message that resonated with them.

Clinton’s campaign message wasn’t targeted to any specific demographics, in any specific geographies.

It was basically, “We have the better product. Everybody should buy from us.”

Customer-centric marketing messages trump product-centric marketing messages. Every time.

How about your marketing? Does it talk about your product — or speak to your customers?

The January edition of The Internet Examiner explores this concept in more depth, complete with some exercises to help you craft a more customer centric marketing message for your local business.

In other words, it will help YOU with YOUR marketing.

It goes to press soon. Subscribe now.

Talk soon,

Cass