Trump Is Digital Marketing, Clinton Legacy?

Donald Trump

Raising $3 million in a day from an email fundraising-to-Web conversion path may prove presidential candidate Donald Trump knows his digital marketing, but it still puts him far behind the war chest of rival Hillary Clinton, who recently got labeled old-school by a speaker at Cannes.

On Wednesday, Ad Age’s Ken Wheaton summarized the “Creativity on the Stump” presentation Cannes. In it, Thomas Gensemer — Burson Marsteller’s U.S. chief strategy officer — tried “to link the political world to the marketing world” by characterizing “the Clinton campaign as the lumbering legacy company and Mr. Trump’s as the nimble startup.”

That same day, Rebecca Sinderbrand of the Washington Post writes: “Trump may have just shattered fundraising records.” That’s after Tuesday’s article by the Guardian that “Trump’s Woeful $1.3m Campaign War Chest [Is] Dwarfed by Clinton’s $42.5m” had followed the Monday announcement that Trump fired his campaign manager.

“Despite all the heated rhetoric there’s still an organizational story to be told,” Gensemer says in the Ad Age article.

Image courtesy of CNNMoney

Gensemer said both campaigns were using target marketing methods.

“He also floated the concept of politicians using what he called ‘Programmatic PR,’ Ad Age writes. “It’s not an automated process, but instead of going out to all of the traditional media outlets, campaigns are now looking at the dashboard, as it were, picking and choosing the journalists that reach the specific audiences they want and then building relationships with those.”

Ad Age says the Cannes speakers also thought that Trump’s digital marketing prowess advanced his campaign through “authenticity on social media and his $3.3 billion worth of earned media.”

(Then there’s the mysterious $35,000 Trump spent on Web advertising through New Hampshire’s Draper Sterling, which Ad Age noted on Tuesday is evocative of the fictional “Mad Men” partners’ names.)

The Washington Post says Trump’s online presence may need to be a concern for Clinton marketers.

“His campaign said late [on Wednesday],” reads the article, “that the mogul’s Tuesday fundraising email to supporters had already generated an astounding $3 million (plus an additional $2 million Trump himself had promised in matching funds.)

“Raising such a huge sum in a short amount of time,” writes the Post’s Matea Gold, “through an email list that had never before been tapped for contributions — would make Trump’s pitch for donations one of the most successful in American politics, according to veteran fundraisers.”

This would far outpace normal political fundraising benchmarks, reads Gold’s piece. Trump would’ve needed six million donors to raise $3 million so quickly.

“Digital fundraising experts were skeptical that Trump has been able to curate and maintain such a big list,” Gold adds. “But if he did pull off $3 million in a day, Democrats should be worried, they added. At such a rate, Trump could pull in more than $20 million online by the end of the month.”

But perhaps Clinton’s strategy isn’t so much old-school as it is feminine? Ezra Klein of Vox, quoted in a June 10 Target Marketing article, says: “Clinton’s effort in the primary [is] ‘less masculine.’ And her strategy worked. ‘She won the Democratic primary by spending years slowly, assiduously, building relationships with the entire Democratic Party,’ Klein writes. ‘She relied on a more traditionally female approach to leadership: creating coalitions, finding common ground and winning over allies. Today, 523 governors and members of Congress have endorsed Clinton; 13 have endorsed [Bernie] Sanders. This work is a grind — it’s not big speeches, it doesn’t come with wide applause, and it requires an emotional toughness most human beings can’t summon.’ ”

Heather Fletcher is senior content editor with Target Marketing.
Publish date: June 24, 2016 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT