Regardless of your feelings about Donald Trump, a lot of people were surprised by the election results.

Based simply on marketing tactics, we shouldn’t have been.  There are three big things he got right.  (And some simple tweaks can help you get them right for your business, too!)

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Transcript  – What Can We Learn About Marketing from Donald Trump?


Aviation Sales and Marketing Insider Circle - Join Us!Announcer: You’re listening to Aviation Marketing Hangar Flying, the community for the best sales and marketing professionals in the aviation industry. You can’t learn to fly just from a book, you learn from other pilots who know the tools, the skills, and the territory. Your host John and Paula Williams are your sales and marketing test pilots.

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Paula Williams: Welcome to aviation hanger flight episode number 57, what can we learn about marketing from Donald Trump.

John Williams: Seriously? Episode 57, we have 57 of these things out there?

Paula Williams: Yes, we do, hard to believe? So, I’m Paula Williams.

John Williams: I’m John Williams.

Paula Williams: And we are ABCI and ABCI’s mission is.

John Williams: to help all you folks out there sell more products and services in the aviation world.

Paula Williams: Absolutely, so you can always reply to, in the comments section of our blog.

You can also use the hashtag, marketing, if you’d like to comment on this or anything else that you hear or would like to hear. So let’s talk about Donald Trump as a marketing case study which I’m sure is everybody’s favorite topic right now.

John Williams: [LAUGH]

Paula Williams: If you haven’t heard enough about Donald Trump but he did actually do some things right obviously with marketing.

John Williams: Yeah, he’s one thing he knows is people and marketing, that’s true, so this is not gonna be a political discussion [LAUGH] Far from it.

Paula Williams: John and I both voted for different people in this election. We canceled each other out, we’ll let you guess who voted for who [LAUGH]

John Williams: Not that it matters for this.

Paula Williams: Exactly, this is about what was effective and what was not effective, not necessarily about good versus evil, or any of those other things that we got into in the election. So, from a marketing perspective, we noticed three points that John and I actually agreed on.

We were talking about this yesterday at breakfast, and decided that this actually deserves its own podcast, right, John?

John Williams: Yeah, because people need to understand, from a marketing perspective, what the hell happened.

Paula Williams: Right.

John Williams: And why.

Paula Williams: It was such a surprise to a lot of people but in a lot of ways it wasn’t to us and there are three things that we think that Trump did right and the [INAUDIBLE] .

John Williams: From a marketing perspective.

Paula Williams: From a marketing perspective and that anybody can do right on the marketing perspective. So the first one, pardon the pun, visibility trumps perfection.

John Williams: Basically, yeah, you don’t wait around till you have something perfect to get out there and market with. You do it When you think about it and you get most of it right you get it out there.

Paula Williams: Exactly.

John Williams: He proved that.

Paula Williams: Second thing is to create a common enemy, and we don’t necessarily mean your opponent or your competitor, we mean an idea or a concept, right?

John Williams: Yes.

Paula Williams: And the third thing is fear versus desire as a motivating factor.

John Williams: Which is different from what the 60s, 70s.

Fear wasn’t much of a motivating factor, desire was.

Paula Williams: Right and we’ll talk about how that’s changed probably up to, I’m going to argue the 90s I think but we’ll get into the details of that momentarily. Okay, so first of all visibility trumps perfection. Trump was mentioned positive, neutral, or negative, a whole lot more than Clinton was and their campaign.

Actually made it a point to make sure that Donald Trump was mentioned in every news cycle right?

John Williams: Yes, well the thing was that he did it without paying for a lot of it.

Paula Williams: [LAUGH] Exactly, that’s true and you can do that, too. But the opposite of that is what we see in a lot of aviation companies where they will not let anything come out of their organization unless it is so polished.

And so perfect that they don’t even do one press release per quarter or one advertisement per year. I mean, they are very, very polished and perfectionists and all of those other things. And I think that was part of Clinton’s downfall is that she did not do anything that she wasn’t completely prepared for, completely polished totally buttoned up.

Absolutely all I’s dotted and all T’s crossed.

John Williams: Well, that’s the worst of the people in aviation who are doing exactly what she said are the aviation oriented attorneys.

Paula Williams: [LAUGH]

John Williams: And Clinton has that background and so I tell you which I think Megan made her loathe to do what Trump did.

Paula Williams: Right but what it did is it, number one, it kept her out of the news, which can be seen as a bad thing. But the second thing, I think nowadays people are looking for authenticity more than they’re looking for polish imperfection. And in fact, polish imperfection can sometimes work against you.

John Williams: Yeah and often because you’re not going to like what you hear but at least you hear it.

Paula Williams: Right, that’s absolutely true, so there are some caveats to this. Obviously, aviation decision makers are Smarter than the public at large.

John Williams: Absolutely.

Paula Williams: So aviation is more risk averse than the public at large.

John Williams: Absolutely and both those points are necessary for aviation.

Paula Williams: Right, that is absolutely true, so is there really no such thing as bad press? With those caveats we’d say darn skippy right? [LAUGH]

John Williams: [LAUGH] Yeah, with those caveats because and that’s the thing in aviation you have to balance cuz you’re never gonna get it perfect even when you think you’ve got it perfect.

You’ll get it out there and you’ll say, crap, I spelled that word wrong or left two words out. I mean, who knows but it’s not perfect and there’s no, and all you do by waiting is let the other guy get ahead of you.

Paula Williams: Absolutely and this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t strive to make things as good as you possibly can especially your marketing messages.

You certainly should proofread, you should certainly edit, you certainly should polish but only as much as it doesn’t impact your schedule. For example, we put out one of these podcasts every week and they are not scripted. They are not rehearsed, it’s just us talking.

John Williams: Yeah, and sometimes she’ll look at me and say something and I shrug my shoulders, and say you talk [LAUGH] because it just doesn’t hit me right.

Paula Williams: Right, and sometimes the transcripts aren’t released at exactly the right time. But we committed at the beginning of the year that we were going to release one podcast every week that was timely and relevent, not necessarily perfect. So it is more important that we publish every single Monday so that the people who make it a habit to tune in every Monday morning on their way to work.

Or whatever their habit is we need to fit that schedule and we need to match that expectation.

John Williams: Hopefully they give themselves anything they didn’t know.

Paula Williams: Exactly and same thing if your flight is not 100% on flight plan 100% of the time because of winds of whatever you end up.

Where you need to be by the time you need to be there, so you shoot for perfection and you put up with whatever the weather gives you right?

John Williams: Yeah, [LAUGH] so, what is it?

Paula Williams: It was actually in one of Steven Covey’s books that most airliners are technically off course 80% of the time.

But they do get where they’re going in the time that but they’re supposed to be there.

John Williams: Well, that’s true in most airplanes actually.

Paula Williams: Yeah, absolutely, so it is more important to get your newsletter out or to get a quarterly press release out or a monthly press release out or to get your podcast out.

Whatever it is that you do make a regular schedule and meet that schedule with the best. Product you can but it’s more important to be on time than to be perfect. The second point is to create a common enemy and this doesn’t necessarily mean the competitor, so Trump’s common enemy was not really Hillary, right?

At least not at first, it was big government, it was government corruption, it was the swamp, it was, you know he called it a lot of things. But it was clearly a concept, not a person.

John Williams: As a matter of fact they were friends before hand and it wouldn’t surprise me if he and she talked and he said look, this is gonna be nasty.

I don’t mean it personally and then they went out and knocked heads.

Paula Williams: Right, exactly so the enemy in the Trump campaign that they framed as the enemy was big government, corruption, the rigged system. They called it a lot of things but it basically boiled down to big government, right?

John Williams: Yes.

Paula Williams: Okay. Our common enemy is random acts of marketing, it is not any of our competitors and is not any particular person. It is a concept and that concept is wasteful random acts of marketing that don’t work because that is the thing that gives people a bad taste in their mouth about marketing.

Makes them feel horrible [LAUGH] about marketing and sales, and that’s the thing that we need to fight against in our company. That’s our common enemy.

John Williams: Yeah, you have to have plan and it’s has to have a lot of integrated pieces.

Paula Williams: Right, exactly, so that’s our common enemy.

A charter company’s common enemy could be airline hassles and delays, right? That’s bad enough to be a common enemy. Why do people really hate waiting in airports and being delayed and all of those things.

John Williams: Or it could be the TSA and that is something.

Paula Williams: yeah, that’s true.

Although I wouldn’t [CROSSTALK] personal necessarily, I would make it a concept and that’s airline hustle which could include all that staff.

John Williams: True.

Paula Williams: All right, so anything that your customers are frustrated by can become a common enemy and nothing unites people like a common enemy, right?

John Williams: Been that way forever.

Paula Williams: [LAUGH] That’s true, it could be apathetic customer service. Maybe that’s one of the things that frustrates your customers about the other folks in your industry. And something that you do very differently is that you have actually helpful human beings answer the phone, you know? So apathetic customer service could be your common enemy, waste of time could be a common enemy if you’re in a business.

That usually has a backup of several months or whatever to get something done, it could be something as specific as cold engine starts. Tennis aircraft heat products has a pretty good message where they talk about how cold engine starts cause all of these problems. Wear and tear on your engine, possibility of problems in flight later, higher maintenance costs, all kinds of things, come from cold engine starts.

So they’ve done a really good job of making that their common enemy and so that’s a good one, too. What ever it is, what ever business you’re in, there is something you can make a common enemy, right?

John Williams: Absolutely.

Paula Williams: Okay, so the third thing we talked about is fear versus desire as a motivating factor.

So if you look at popular culture up until the 90s, a common thread was a hopeful optimism. The old Star Trek movies, all kinds of things like that, they looked at the future as a wonderful thing. And people were expectant and hopeful and all of those things and a lot of marketing messages were based on desire.

I would really like to do this and wouldn’t this be great and just imagine how cool this will be and those kinds of messages, right, John?

John Williams: Yes and 60s and 70s, even in the 80s, as far as I recall. People realized that all they had to do was work hard and they could make something of themselves and they could attain almost anything they wanted.

Maybe not everything, but they could attain just about anything they wanted and these days, I see the opposite, I don’t.

John Williams: See kids getting out of school and working their butts off to go do something.

Paula Williams: Right, and this is not necessarily as things should be, but it’s kind of as we see things.

John Williams: Right.

Paula Williams: And what is working in marketing versus what is not working in marketing. So whether we agree with it or not, a lot of the popular culture these days, you look at the TV series, you look at the movies, you look at other things. They’re all about the zombie apocalypse or scandal or corruption or games within games, you know the Game of Thrones kind of a dark scenario with not always good outcomes.

In fact, a lot of the old TV shows and old movies, always had a happy ending no matter what happened in the course of that hour or half hour. They would always end well and nowadays that is not the case. We walked out of a lot of movies lately feeling like eww dang, [LAUGH] that’s not the way it was supposed to end.

John Williams: [LAUGH]

Paula Williams: But that’s what’s happened to our culture and like it or not, that’s the culture that we live in and the culture we’re functioning in and that our customers are functioning in. So let’s talk about some fear versus desire headlines and if we look at desire first this is an old headline that would have been effective in the 90s.

Learning to fly would be fun. What would be more effective today in a fear environment is don’t let life pass you by without learning to fly. There’s more of an urgency to it is more likely to get other people’s attention in the overwhelm of advertising that’s going on.

And it’s fear can be more specifically and more urgently motivating unfortunately than desire. Okay, here’s another one. A trip to the Bahamas would be wonderful. That would be a great ad, you know, with palm trees and drinks with umbrellas and all of that imagery and everything else. A headline that’s fear based would be, Your Kids Are Growing Up, you’re missing an opportunity if you don’t book this trip now.

You’re missing out, fear of missing out, FOMO, is a thing in marketing.

Paula Williams: We should buy this equipment because you want to operate the safest possible flight department. You want to be the best there is at what you do, that would be a desire based headline. A fear based headline would be, something terrible could happen if you don’t buy this safety equipment now.

Once again, more specific, more urgent Fear based right?

John Williams: Yep.

Paula Williams: Okay, last one, by this business jet, here’s a list of the coolest features. [LAUGH] That’s the way most marketing was done I would say up until about the 90s is feature based look how cool this is marketing right?

Now you’ll miss out on this opportunity if you don’t buy this jet now because the market is changing, the prices will be going up, or you need this feature because of a regulatory change or whatever. So you wanna talk about fears, needs, other things like that rather than desires.

And this is kind of hard for those of us who grew up marketing or learned marketing 10 or 20 years ago when the theory was different, right?

John Williams: You have to morph with the times.

Paula Williams: Yeah and you have to follow the data, so if the data suggests that these test better, which it does and I think Trump is a really good.

John Williams: Example.

Paula Williams: Walking metaphor [LAUGH]

John Williams: [LAUGH]

Paula Williams: There are a lot of these things and anyway so was there frustration in that? [LAUGH] Like we don’t have to like reality in order to function with it and use it to our advantage. So, you know, the three points once again, visibility trumps perfection.

Get your message out there on a frequent and regular basis.

John Williams: It doesn’t matter whether you like him or like the fact that he won. The fact is he did excellent marketing and he did it so well it even shocked him.

Paula Williams: Yeah, I think it did [LAUGH]

John Williams: [LAUGH]

Paula Williams: Somebody said he looked like a man who’d been bluffing with a pair of twos and won the game.

John Williams: And then he was so shocked he didn’t know what to say [LAUGH]

Paula Williams: Exactly [LAUGH] so once again, to kinda summarize our three points. One, visibility trumps perfection, two, create a common enemy and three, fear versus desire as a motivating factor right?

John Williams: Yes.

Paula Williams: Okay, so go sell more stuff.

John Williams: Yeah, said it well, America needs the business [LAUGH]

Paula Williams: Exactly so subscribe to our podcast in iTunes store or Google Play and make sure you leave us a review. Five stars would be nice, but if you feel differently.

John Williams: [LAUGH]

Paula Williams: You can vote differently. Let us know what you’d like to hear more of or less of and we will take it into consideration, right?

John Williams: Absolutely.

Paula Williams: All right, so have a great week.

John Williams: Ciao.

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