Digital marketing is the contemporary enterprise that seeks to identify customers, clients, and — yes — even voters based on their behavior on the internet and social media. In the case of politics, it is the most important conduit to what should be the hallmark of modern political campaigns: identifying and satisfying voter needs.
Digital marketing, in fact, is the new marketing. Many believe that numerous Democratic political consultants are not up to speed — unfamiliar, are they, with its methods, strategies, and ultimate effectiveness. And as of result, these Democratic consultants are failing their clients in a big way, missing perhaps the most important tool in fending off the Trump Digital Marketing machine.
President Trump in 2016 was the outsider who by necessity had to use digital marketing to win. It was his only option to beat the heavily favored Hillary Clinton and the political establishment. You see, Trump did not have to the reputable mainstream political consultants on his side. He needed an alternate methodology to compete with sophisticated systems in place.
The novice Trump campaign did not realize at the time this inability to attract the conventional campaign marketing talent would work in their favor. They instead used unknown consultant Brad Parscale who used the effective methods of digital marketing that propelled him to victory in 2016 and will most likely do the same in 2020.
Consider this: Trump’s re-election campaign has spent $27 million to date on ads on Google and Facebook. (November 13, 2019). The four Democratic hopefuls at the top of the polls right now (Biden, Warren, Sanders, Buttigieg) together have spent only around $23 million on the same platforms.
But ad spending doesn’t tell the whole story. According to Frederic Filloux in his article “Trump’s Digital Campaign for 2020 Is Already Soaring,” he argues that specific tactics also play a role.
He quotes Parscale as saying, “Hillary Clinton’s team made 66,000 [different messages]. My team made 5.9 million ads. Those are ads targeted directly to people the way they want to consume them.” He goes on to say: “I stopped looking at people as demographics, groups, personas” (a.k.a. old school). He goes on to say: “let’s look at people as individuals, how do they act. Because two people who look the same might act differently. That is the future of political marketing” (a.k.a. new school). Hello, digital marketing.
This change in point of view is significant. By looking at voters individually with the help of digital marketing, Parscale can predict the likelihood of behaviors that will ultimately cause them to act as expected. “Running re-election is a lot about marketing, advertising, understanding data, and analytics, building out, you know foundational structures to understand the President’s message,” he said.
In 2016, Campaign Trump had about 700,000 volunteers. In 2020, the campaign is expected to have 1.6 million volunteers, many connected through apps, mobile phones, and other digital tools. According to Parscale: “In every single metric, we’re looking at being bigger, better, and ‘badder’ than we were in 2016.” In addition, his team in 2016 consisted of 3,000 across the United States and expects that this time they will have 90,000.
The news only gets better for Trump. The president’s campaign is laser focused on connecting with voters and inducing them to provide methods for direct contacts, such as cellphone numbers or emails. A good candidate, Parscale says, might have contacts on four or five million voters by Election Day. “We’ll probably (have) 40, 50, 60 million. We might possibly have everybody that could vote for the president in a direct contact method by Election Day. That’s what we’re spending this energy doing for this whole time.” (For context: 138 million people voted in 2016, including 63 million for Trump).
Using digital marketing rather than the traditional messaging/marketing model could propel Trump to a big win in 2020. If it does, Trump will win in a landslide along with taking over the House and keeping the Senate in Republican hands. And the reason: President Trump and his team realizing that it’s always easier when you have marketing in mind.
Dr. John Tantillo is a marketing and branding expert, known as The Marketing Doctor. JT utilizes his doctoral skills in applied research psychology to analyze the issues and personalities of the day utilizing his marketing and branding lens. This provides his readers with additional insight needed to understand the “new normal” in politics, news, and culture. Dr. Tantillo is the OpEd writer for Political Vanguard. He is the author of "People Buy Brands, Not Companies,” and the Udemy course "Go Brand Yourself!" You can follow him on Twitter @marketingdoctor and at Facebook.com/dr.johntantillo. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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