5 Lessons from the Trump Campaign
Most business people are thinking about the impact of Trump’s presidency on their business. We may be able to have a greater impact on our businesses by focusing on lessons from his winning campaign strategy.
When an outcome so shocks the common wisdom, there must be factors at play that offer valuable lessons. Political analysts will be searching for these lessons for months to come and as business people there will be lessons we can put to use too. Here are a few undeveloped thoughts that may offer some insight on what might be applicable to business strategy.
- Remember the “silent majority” of the Nixon era? That may explain the pollsters’ failure to predict the outcome of the election. Is there a “silent majority” in your customer base or target market? How do you identify it? If you can identify it and target marketing to it, you can get a leg up on your competition.
- Some pundits have commented that Clinton supporters only talked to other Clinton supporters, reinforcing their belief that her victory was inevitable. This reminds us that it is critical to seek out contrary opinion when making decisions. It is only human to fall prey to this “confirmation bias” but consciously seeking contrary input can open up new options and avoid costly mistakes.
- Although he would not admit it, Trump made many mistakes during his campaign. He spoke his mind and may not have intended some of what he said to be taken literally. I expect that many of the people that voted for Trump did not take much of what he said literally. Clinton on the other hand was very circumspect and cautious in most of her campaign speeches. She was risk averse while Trump is and always has been a risk taker. Although neither candidate could be considered a paragon of honesty, Trump was perceived as being genuine. Our customers and our markets in general may be more tolerant of our mistakes than we realize. Being genuine – who we really are – may be more important than trying to construct the “ideal” image. It goes without saying that calculated risk taking is a virtue in the business world, maybe the same will become true in the political world.
- The word that comes to mind when talking about the brand Trump has cultivated over the years is “winning”, it was not just a part of the message during his presidential campaign. We can never know how many votes that branding won him but as business people this reinforces what the marketers have always told us about the power of branding.
- The most important lesson from Trump’s successful campaign is that the experts are not as smart we think they are and certainly not as smart as they think they are. You may want to listen to what they have to say but let them only be one voice and collect as many others as you can. When deciding which voices to give the greatest weight, take into account who has the most “skin in the game.”