Marketing Lessons from the 2016 Presidential Election

November 01, 2016

In one week, ballots will be cast and the race for the 45th President of the United States will be over. For many, this day couldn’t come soon enough. While it’s been a wild campaign season, there have been several valuable takeaways that businesses and brands should consider as they develop future marketing plans.

Here are six marketing lessons that can be learned from the 2016 race for the White House:


1. Know who you are and what you stand for.

As a brand you need to know who you are, what makes you different from your competitors and what’s important to you. Having a clear understanding of these will help make your marketing decisions easier and allow you to launch stronger campaigns.


2. Know your audience.

There’s a simple answer as to why Donald Trump isn’t campaigning hard in Vermont and why Hillary Clinton doesn’t spend much time in Oklahoma or Utah – they know their target audience. Once you know who you want to speak to and who will be most receptive of your messaging, focus on them. Be sure to tailor messaging to their interests and speak to them in verbiage they use and understand. Most importantly, get to know the audience down to minute details like their hobbies, interests and consumption of information. All of these details will help you learn to speak smarter when you talk to your audience.


3. Choose your words carefully.

In today’s age of social media and video, once you say something it’s out there… perhaps forever. Brands and their leadership need to make sure that they carefully consider the words that they use both on- and offline, as well as understanding the impact of taking stances on specific issues or platforms that may alienate certain audiences.


4. Be honest.

Being an ethical and honest brand is vital to surviving in today’s marketplace. Research shows that consumers are looking to make personal connections with brands, so consider customers your friends and family and tell them the truth. It may hurt at first, but in the long run, it’s far better to be honest and own up to errors or mistakes than to try and brush them under the rug. After all, nothing remains a secret for long in today’s 24/7 news cycle.


5. Embrace social media.

Ever since the 2008 Presidential Election, social media has played a huge role in campaigning. This year, we’ve been exposed to ways that using social media can both help and hurt campaigns. Brand should remember that social media is meant to elevate your company, so it’s important to have a thorough plan for how you will use social media and the type of content that you will share. While planning is important, it’s also vital that you stay on top of current events and use social media in real-time to interact with your fans. Be cautious about posting off-hand comments, though, as quick decisions to post something without thinking of the impact could ultimately destroy your reputation and cause you to lose customers. Social media should be viewed as a conversation tool in which you can personally connect and speak with your target audiences. Be sure to leverage your social platforms and engage in meaningful two-way conversations with customers.


6. Analyze Data.

Surveys—and other forms of primary and secondary research—are a great way to get a sense of how your brand and its products or services are being received by current and potential customers. But if you aren’t examining the data with an analytical eye, you could be missing out on valuable information. Taking time to conduct research and analyze data is very important and shouldn’t be viewed as extraneous work. By carefully analyzing data, brands can learn more about their target audience, glean details about their competitors’ strengths and weaknesses and identify ways to make stronger connections with consumers.


What marketing lessons have you learned from this year’s presidential election?

Want more information on how you can take your brand to the next level in your next campaign? Send us an email at We’d love to chat!


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We Know Ag

We Know Ag

This confident campaign reached a new segment of their audience with relatable images and bold copy.

This confident campaign reached a new segment of their audience with relatable images and bold copy.

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