Is the Entire Trump Campaign Just a Revenue-Generating Marketing Ploy?
You can say a lot of negative things about Donald J. Trump, but he can never be accused of not being a business opportunist. As this election cycle painfully swirls to a close, Trump has cleverly set himself up for his next income stream, whether he’s in the White House or not.
Take a step back for just a moment and consider this: You’re sitting in a strategic planning meeting with a brand whose popularity is on the decline. Revenues have been slowly sinking, consumers have been losing interest in your products and services, and the brand is considered old-fashioned or stale. As a marketer, what do you suggest?
Revamp the brand with fresh new messaging and content? Create new brand extensions that might appeal to a new audience? Abandon products or services that are no longer making a positive contribution to the business? Generate brand buzz with timely and relevant offers? Cement brand loyalty by listening to your loyalists, and then tapping into their hearts and minds by giving them what they’re asking for? Yes, yes, yes, yes and yes!
Now consider this:
In the late 1980’s, Trump toyed with a presidential run while he struggled with the financial debt of his purchase of the Taj Mahal casino and the bankruptcy of the Trump Plaza Hotel.
In 2000, Trump announced his candidacy as a Reform Party candidate. He was in financial struggles again after:
- “Trump: The Game” had been discontinued
- Trump Airlines had failed to turn a profit
- Bought, sold, bought and sold the New Jersey Generals
- Trump Hotels and Casinos Resort filed for bankruptcy – twice
- Trump Mortgage fails
In March 2009, Trump joins Twitter but doesn’t tweet anything significant for 2-years.
In January 2011, Trump tweets a link to his fan-made website shouldtrumprun.com – and leverages feedback to craft his new brand message.
In March 2011, Trump is a leading presidential contender.
In May 2011, Trump announces he will not run. During the remaining months of 2011:
- Trump Vodka fails
- Trump Steaks fails
- Trump Ice fails
- Trump University fails
From 2011 to 2015, Trump's social media presence gains momentum and realizes that if he “gives people what they want” he gets more “likes.” His brand continues to build momentum.
The, in June 16, 2015, The Donald formally announces his candidacy for president.
- A week later, NBC dumps two of his income-producing TV shows — The Apprentice and Miss USA.
As November 8th looms ever closer, Trump is heavily leveraging his new-found brand status with 12.7 million Twitter and 4.4 million Facebook followers. Plus, he now knows he's a proven ratings magnet as he can boast that 2 out of 3 of his presidential debates were the most-watched debates ever.
So naturally, this week TrumpTV launched, with “Live From Trump Tower” — attracting 8.7 million cumulative views. Pretty attractive numbers for many advertisers … or are they?
With all of his controversial remarks during the election cycle, is Trump a brand that other brands want to be associated with? While Trump may be a calculated brand marketer, and he ended up with millions of brand evangelists, will he be able to parlay that into a large revenue stream? Has his brand awareness campaign backfired?
The travel booking site Hipmunk, reported that stays for Trump properties are down 60 percent for the first half of 2016, and the new Trump International Hotel has cut its room rates.
Ultimately, only time will tell. One thing is for sure: His presidential run netted him millions of dollars of free media coverage which in turn boosted his brand awareness globally, and cemented his relationship with his loyalists. If he can find the right product to take advantage of that achievement with those supporters, he’ll, once again, be a billionaire.
A blog that challenges B-to-B marketers to learn, share, question, and focus on getting it right—the first time. Carolyn Goodman is President/Creative Director of Goodman Marketing Partners. An award-winning creative director, writer and in-demand speaker, Carolyn has spent her 30-year career helping both B-to-B and B-to-C clients cut through business challenges in order to deliver strategically sound, creatively brilliant marketing solutions that deliver on program objectives. To keep her mind sharp, Carolyn can be found most evenings in the boxing ring, practicing various combinations. You can find her at the Goodman Marketing website, on LinkedIn, or on Twitter @CarolynGoodman.