Humpty Trumpty sat on a wall…

The election of Mr Trump Requires requires no link unless you  are in a space and time distortion, like that gentleman in Interstellar, and this is the only communication that you have received for a while. (If this is the case then you must be mightily confused and you will soon be mightily bored). However, it does raise a number of issues about marketing communications and their relationship to the actual product and the limits and the state of some marketing research.

Marketing research: Voting prediction has failed recently (Brexit, last UK parliamentary election, Trump etc). On the face of it, voting prediction should be the easiest marketing research task. Him, Her or Dunno? The responses are not complex in comparison to a psychographic survey of personality type. Prediction via survey is never easy though, even in an election with standard choices. People change their minds, people lie or avoid.Intention (conation) is not the same as actual behaviour. Situational factors can intervene before the intended behaviour is manifested (a twisted ankle, a rain shower etc). Crucially, sampling can also be flawed. Marketing research still relies on standard demographic variables (gender, age, ethnicity, eduction etc) and the reporting of the ‘kind of people’ who voted for Trump are a ham-fisted reduction of the data. The fact that most college educated people voted for Clinton is reduced to ‘College educated = Clinton’. Not so. Many college educated voted for Trump, one in three people of Mexican extraction voted for him, nearly half of the USA’s females voted for him.The fact that there are tendencies or partial explanations of voting should not obscure the fact that such variables are very limited in their explanatory power in many instances. If you sample according to demographics and postcode in an interconnected complex mobile world then don’t be surprised if you get it wrong. Yes, I know they also apply analytics to social media, clearly not well enough.  Something is up with the market research and analytics in voting prediction.

Marketing communications and their relationship to the actual product: Trump’s campaign (when it made any sense) relied on simple messages and repetition. This is a tried and tested advertising technique. Tag line – repeat. Tag line – repeat. But the message has to resonate – it seems it did. The campaign was a triumph of simplicity on the one hand and obscurity (when it came to the detail). Say one thing do another is where the danger lies now. Promise your product will make shirts whiter and if it doesn’t then no amount of repetition will convince most of the people most of the time that their shirts are actually getting whiter. They will become disillusioned – eventually. Product claims are as fragile as eggs or as hard as a cricket ball or somewhere in between. I wonder if it’s Humpty Trumpty or… …but he has to build his wall first.

A note about copyright copyright


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