Love him or hate him, Donald Trump has nailed the main points of content marketing. To be clear, this article is not an endorsement of Trump, but an analysis of his marketing tactics (whether on purpose or not).
First point: Create a clear objective focused on a target audience.
Trump wants to win the Republican nomination. If you think of Trump as a product, and walk down the path of who is going to purchase Trump, then his comments and actions start to become more clear. He has taken his brand "winning" and he has found a message: "illegal immigrants". Everything he says and does targets people who are either bothered by U.S. immigration policy or are tired of NOT winning.
Second point: Take a risk. Find a flash point that will create a huge buzz with your target market.
Immigration has been a topic of many political conversations, but it has never been brought to the front of the conversation before Trump made it one of his top political issues. If you think about the fact that he is selling his product to an audience of middle to older white males who believe that illegal immigrants are threatening their way of life, then you can see how these people would purchase the Trump product. (Author note: I understand the tactic, but the labeling of a population in its entirety rings many warning bells! Understanding that your target audience has a prejudice that you can leverage doesn't mean you should.)
Third point: Control the dialogue.
Trump has been controlling the conversation from day one. He is taking the lead, he is creating the story line. Every other candidate is following him, and the problem is they can’t get ahead of him. When they do try to jump ahead, or challenge him, he simply disarms them.
Fourth point. Disarm the competitors.
Cartoonist Scott Adams (of Dilbert fame) recently wrote a great essay on using linguistic kill shots. Adams talks about how labels can be used to when political opponents spar with each other. However, sometimes a label can deliver a more fatal blow to a political campaign. For example, Trump has labeled Jeb Bush a “Low-Energy” candidate, and according to Adams “no candidate ever launched a ‘low-energy’ criticism before. That’s a kill shot. You don’t wash that off. It is a variant of the High Ground Maneuver because Trump is saying that even if Bush and Trump had the same policies, the choice is still clear. You want the guy who isn’t going to be napping for four years.”
Trump took a "high road" when referring to Jeb Bush as a "nice guy," just a little “low energy” for his taste. This will tag Bush for a long time. The same way Al Gore was tagged as being stiff. Can’t wash that off.
Fifth point: Stay true to your brand.
In this case, Donald Trump makes his brand about “winning” and to that point he associates himself with winners. As we can see in these tweets, making this association can be very effective:
Drawing Your Own Conclusions from Trump Brand Marketing
The real challenge facing Trump will come when people start to look for substance. This is part of the content marketing challenge that many predict he will fall short on. He has grabbed his audience attention, but soon people will be seeking to know more.
If you follow the architecture that Trump follows for your business, it could help you become a leader. But beware, the type of risks Trump takes are okay for him because, as Scott Adams has said, “He has spent years building up his persona”, and he can get away with things most people cannot.
Find your own flash point in your own markets, and then be relentless. Be the one that is defining the conversation, by staying ahead and relevant. And don’t just dismiss the competition off hand, use your own linguistic kill shots.