The genius of Trump – what a New Zealand teacher taught me

I’ve just returned from boring the pants off the good folks in New Zealand and Australia.

If you’re interested, my thesis was that if doctors knew as little about medicine as marketers know about marketing, half the population would die every year.

But while there I recalled a conversation I had on the plane from New Zealand to Australia many, many years ago.

Sat next to me was an ex school teacher. He had become a politician and I believe he may have been the Minister for Education. I could be wrong, but he certainly educated me.

He was the first person to explain to me the mysteries of PowerPoint. At the time it was completely new. When he spoke at his party’s conference with pictures on a big screen behind him, the audience was mesmerised and thought him some sort of wizard.

That useful piece of information led me to start using PowerPoint – rather badly – for years. But much more interesting was how he had succeeded in a town that had never before elected someone from his party.

His thinking is commonplace nowadays but at the time it was almost unheard of. What he had done was sit down and analyse almost every voter in this small town, and worked out who would be likely vote for him, who for his opposition, and who was undecided.

He then simply concentrated on the undecided. This is common practice in politics now and it leads me to the genius of Trump. I should explain that I’m not a Trumpista. Many things he’s doing worry me tremendously. But he does something that goes beyond what you have just read.

His approach is slightly different from my friend in New Zealand’s. Yes: he ignores those who would never vote for him, and concentrates on the undecided. But he also concentrates on those do support him

He believes it pays to keep up the spirits of his voters, and that is why, for instance, regardless of how much it may shock decent people, he recommends people vote for a man in Alabama called Moore, a serial liar, and  molester of women.

The trick here is that he doesn’t give a hoot if it upsets me or people like me.

All he wants to do is get a few votes from the undecided who think some of what he says makes sense (which it does), and bolster the enthusiasm of those who have already voted for him: he wants every one of them on his side.

I don’t know if it’s Trump’s idea or that of proto-fascists and quasi-Nazi advisers like Steve Bannon but it is brilliant.

What has this got to do with your marketing?

Well, the same thinking is relevant. Amidst all the hoo-ha about digital and social media, remember a few simple facts.

For instance, people who have bought from you (your supporters) are four to five times as likely to buy again as people who haven’t. And people who have inquired (waverers) as those who have never done so.

Don’t worry about the people who will never buy from you. Focus on those who will and those who might.

I know the Content Marketing Institute says you shouldn’t ask people to reply

But screw them.

If you want better ROI on your marketing money, drop me a line at (

Do it now.

January – the most profitable month in the year for marketers is not far away.

We’ll help you make the most of it


About the Author


<p>In 2003, the Chartered Institute of Marketing named Drayton one of 50 living individuals who have shaped today’s marketing.</p>
<p>He has worked in 55 countries with many of the world’s greatest brands. These include American Express, Audi, Bentley, British Airways, Cisco, Columbia Business School, Deutsche Post, Ford, IBM, McKinsey, Mercedes, Microsoft, Nestle, Philips, Procter & Gamble, Toyota, Unilever, Visa and Volkswagen.</p>
<p>Drayton has helped sell everything from Airbus planes to Peppa Pig. His book, Commonsense Direct and Digital Marketing, out in 17 languages, has been the UK’s best seller on the subject every year since 1982. He has also run his own businesses in the U.K., Portugal and Malaysia.</p>
<p>He was a main board member of the Ogilvy Group, a founding member of the Superbrands Organisation, one of the first eight Honorary Fellows of the Institute of Direct Marketing and one of the first three people named to the Hall of Fame of the Direct Marketing Association of India. He has also been given Lifetime Achievement Awards by the Caples Organisation in New York and Early To Rise in Florida.</p>

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