Donald Trump’s 8 unconventional rules for marketing yourself
I recently started reading about Donald Trump’s marketing and persuasion via Scott Adams’ blog. Now Medium, I know what you’re thinking. And I used to be like you too. But before you vomit all over your keyboard let me say this: if you’re not learning from what’s going on right now, because you’re too busy passing judgement, you’re missing out. To say Trump doesn’t know how to persuade is delusional. He’s been making business deals for most of his life… and he’s written books on the subject. So I’ve decided to objectively summarize Donald Trump’s approach to marketing below for you (so you don’t have to — you’re welcome). Here’s Trump’s rules for marketing yourself:
- Make it clear you’ll follow through (unlike all the others).
For your marketing to truly be great, you have to deliver the goods. That’s a key difference in why people fear a Trump presidency. They fear he’ll actually follow through with his plans. Unlike most politicians, we fear that he’s NOT lying. That’s by design. He wants you to believe he’s not like the rest. It’s a tactic he developed making deals with owners of construction sites. His focus was always on making it known that he would actually follow through on his offers. Instead of focusing on price, he focused on credibility. That’s the winning path in your marketing.
“I suggested that I might be the only person around who still had the inclination to put this deal together at all. My pitch was very simple: I was prepared to buy them out, quickly and cleanly.”
- Use words that work.
Lyin’ Ted. Crooked Hillary. These terms have shaped our conversation about the election. While most politicians try to be scholars, and make fun of Trump’s 4th-grade-level word choice, the joke’s on them. They get misunderstood, while everyone knows exactly what Trump means. He uses words that people understand because they work. You should too.
- Own the topics.
Part of what makes Trump so unpredictable is he often makes headlines (seemingly out of the blue) for a topic that no one was talking about previously. For example, he came out with a strong stance on illegal immigration before it was a major issue in this election cycle. By doing this, the topic became synonymous with Trump. Look for topics in your own industry that aren’t explored enough and own the conversation.
- Use confirmation bias to your advantage.
Because Trump owns a topic so far ahead of his competitors, he’s able to make himself look more credible as time goes on. Every time there’s a crime involving a terrorist or illegal immigrant, your mind tells you that Trump knew it would happen. Everytime that Hillary does something that appears corrupt, your mind goes to the word crooked. The chance that an illegal immigrant will be involved in a crime — or that Hillary Clinton will do something that seems corrupt — are nearly 100%. Despite those odds, your mind unreasonably assigns Trump credibility for predicting it. Your marketing should re-affirm itself over time too. Produce material on problems that re-occur. This will make people think about what you’re selling again and again.
- Start with a high opening bid.
Trump approaches policy like a negotiation. He’ll start by proposing an extreme idea, like temporarily banning ALL muslim immigration, then modify it down to a more reasonable position — like temporarily banning Muslims only from countries where there’s a large threat. If he had come out with the second option from the beginning, your mind would see it as outrageous, but because he starts from an even more shocking position, our minds make it sound distinctly more reasonable. Go for the gold with your marketing. Don’t start with a concession.
- Keep as many options open for as long as you can.
Keeping your options open gives you leverage to walk away and take a better deal if it presents itself. By creating a personality that’s so unpredictable and from the hip, he’s able to do something no other candidate can do. He can flip-flop without fear. Changing his mind is part of the Trump persona, and yet it would destroy any other candidate. Publicly afford yourself the same privilege.
- Think big.
You may have noticed that Trump rarely gets into specifics. He doesn’t argue over policy details like most canidates. He focuses exclusively on the big picture and broad topics that actually matter to voters. This vagueness makes him harder to pin down. When marketing yourself you should think big too. Instead of trying to reach people using facts and logic, first focus on attracting them with emotion and the things they care about deeply already.
“If you’re going to think, you might as well think big.”
- Market yourself.
I’d venture to say we all have the same image in our heads. It’s Trump feverishly typing away on his phone to come up with his latest childish insult-tweet. Why is his twitter account so iconic? Because it’s real. He doesn’t outsource it. Notorious for doing his own research to find out what resonates, Trump uses twitter as a test-ground for his latest marketing ideas. He sees what sticks, then pursues it aggressively.
“I don’t hire a lot of number-crunchers and I don’t trust fancy marketing surveys. I do my own surveys and draw my own conclusions.”
We all sorta hate Trump, but what he’s doing is working. And as always there’s more to the story than you think, so if you want to read more about Trump’s persuasion I have 3 great links to share with you.
Curious to see what they are?