3 Tactics used by Donald Trump’s Digital Marketing Campaign

3 Tactics used by Donald Trump’s Digital Marketing Campaign

Donald Trump won the election. Yesterday that would have sounded like a joke.

Whether you agree with him or not, a closer look shows that his victory was no coincidence.

With a budget twice as small as Clinton’s, Trump spent 63% less per electoral vote.

donald trump's digital marketing

Trump’s campaign used innovative digital marketing to reach more people at a lower cost. Here are the 3 techniques they used to coin the victory.

1) Use Customer Data to Personalise Your Ads

Trump paid British firm Cambridge Analytica millions to help target voters better. The same company was the digital powerhouse behind the Brexit campaign.

Cambridge Analytics has a database of 230 million adults across the US. Astonishingly, they have 4000 data points on each person. They use transaction info from loyalty cards, gym memberships, charity donations and other sources to predict your political preferences.

Your religious beliefs, favorite sports teams and TV-habits all count towards your psychological profile. Even something as simple as buying a coffee or signing up for a magazine can affect the political ads you see.

A great example was the campaign ran by Cambridge Analytica for Senator Ted Cruz. Almost 160 customer segments were build based on the 4000 individual data points. Each segment was served a unique ad.

One ad was made for a “Stoic Traditionalist” who values time alone and doesn’t take many risks. He is unadventurous and unassuming. It shows Cruz alone with the tag line “Keep calm and Cruz on.”

donald trump's digital marketing

The other was made for a “Relaxed Leader” – a social, optimistic and emphatetic man. The ad shows the whole Cruz family with the words “our best days are ahead.”

donald trump's digital marketing

The more information you have, the more relevant your communications become. You begin to understand what issues people care about, what they believe in, and what keeps them up at night.

Key lesson:

Some people consider data collection unethical. I believe it’s what you do with the data that counts. Use it to deliver timely, personalised messages that speak to your customer as an individual. 


2) Generate and Nurture More Leads

Soon after launching Trump’s digital campaigns, their marketing agency Giles-Parscale had a problem. They discovered that they are talking to those who already like Trump. Those votes were almost guaranteed, and not enough to win.

They needed to find a way to reach the undecided voters, who would make a real difference in the end.

Trump’s campaign focused on rallies that gathered tens of millions of people. Both Trump supporters and those still undecided.

You needed to book a ticket online to attend a rally. EventBrite served as their ticketing and RSVP system. The problem was getting the necessary data out of it.

The agency made a smart decision to build their own event system that would collect all the extra information they need. Suddenly they were able to get their hands on phone numbers, political affiliations, and even credit card data. They would even weed out potential protesters and troublemakers, stopping them from attending.

Using that system they identified 13 million undecided voters in 16 key states. Complete with their contact information.

Those 13 million people were targeted in online and phone campaigns persuading them to vote Trump. These leads were nurtured with relevant content for months. We now know it was the undecided voters who won Trump the presidential office.

Key lesson:

Remember that email addresses are still the best converting source of traffic. Capture your customer data early. Use smart nurture campaigns to educate them and build rapport. In the end, you will have a much easier sale. 


3) Build Earned Media Channels to Drive Recognition

Social media shaped this historic election. Trump ran his entire campaign on Twitter, forcing his opponents to respond to his vicious 140-character insults. It got so bad that his campaign managers reportedly revoked his user rights days before the election.

Donald Trump has perfected the use of social and earned media to drive recognition, the main selling point of advertising.

Trump is a reality TV star. He understands how public recognition works. Being outrageous and offensive on Twitter only got him more followers, not less.

His polarizing style is the key to his social media appeal. People followed him regardless of their political preferences. Donald is the Kim Kardashian of politics.

@realDonaldTrump Twitter account shows his personality much stronger than Hillary shows hers. Donald sends or dictates most of his tweets, conveying his unique style.

Trump’s opponents were soon on the defensive, often answering with impersonal one-line tweets.

His name produces 400 million results in Google, 50 more than Hillary Clinton. Trump has 13,8 million Twitter followers and 13,3 million Facebook likes, compared to Clinton’s 10,8 million followers and 8,8 million likes.

The gap in social media following is even more remarkable after you consider that democrats had twice the campaign budget.

When most adult US citizens have Facebook and Twitter profiles, there is a disconnect between TV ad techniques of the past and the social media marketing of today. Trump does not run TV ads, but he isn’t afraid to invest time and money into social media.

Trump has created a roadmap for how a candidate can win the election without spending millions on ads. We will soon see if someone takes advantage of this opportunity again.

Key lesson:

Understand the difference between paid and earned media. Paying for exposure is great. But becoming a key influencer in your field can potentially be priceless.

Create content that stands out. Divide opinions and raise discussions. Get your ideas to spread any way you can to drive recognition.

Your future self will thank you for it. Possibly from the Oval Office. 


David Blinov


Make sure to subscribe to our newsletter and be the first to know the news.


Instagram has returned empty data. Please authorize your Instagram account in the plugin settings .

Please note

This is a widgetized sidebar area and you can place any widget here, as you would with the classic WordPress sidebar.