Leading Marketer: Against All Odds, Trump Won

Craig Huey Culture Wars, Donald Trump, Government, Congress, and Politics, Uncategorized Leave a Comment

How did Trump win?

What marketing, advertising, and strategic efforts produced his upset victory?

What I’m going to tell you may surprise you. You won’t find this information anywhere else.

I have been in the advertising and marketing business for over 40 years as an owner of an ad agency and winner of 79 awards.

I have clients all over the world, and I have made them very rich with our successful campaigns.

Some of them have even become multi-millionaires.

So, I can tell you based on my expertise how Trump was able to pull off a victory which seemed near impossible.

These tactics and strategies are what I use for my clients now.

Here are the final results for Election Day, 2016:




Votes Won

Avg. Margin

 of Victory

in Winning States

Popular Vote TotalPopular Vote Excluding California
Trump:  30Trump:  306Trump:  56%Trump:  62,958,211Trump:


Clinton:  20Clinton:  232Clinton:  53.5%Clinton:  65,818,318Clinton:


Trump: +10Trump:  +68Trump:  +2.5 pointsTrump:  -2.8 MNTrump:  +1.4 MN

That is a surprise.

Trump proved the establishment and the pollsters wrong:

  1. The polls, the media, the pundits missed the election outcome so widely, that they had to engage in serious soul-searching about their profession and their skills.
  2. President Trump did so well, he provided positive coattails for down-ticket races. He not only helped Republicans maintain majorities in Congress, he bolstered Republicans in statehouses across the country, and even helped Republicans win elected office in otherwise blue states.
  3. Check out the specifics on how Republicans expanded their national presence in state and local offices, too:
  • In 2009, Democrats controled 29 Governorships & 27 State Legislatures
  • In 2017, Democrats only control 18 governorhships and 5 state legislatures.
  1. Trump also unlocked new regions for GOP, particularly the Rust Belt, and even one an electoral vote in New England (Maine). Republicans had not won electoral votes in these states in at least 30 years.
  2. The GOP data strategy was far better than Democrats. They went after working-class voters who had been harmed and dismissed so often by the Obama Administration and the Democratic Party. Even blue sections of otherwise red states finally went Republican for the first time in decades.

Keep in mind the following statistics:

  • 18% of voters didn’t like Trump or Clinton. Trump won by 20 points (49% to 29%)
  • 14% of voters felt that neither candidate qualified. Trump by 54 points (69% to 15%)
  • 5% of voters both qualified Trump by 48 point (70% to 22%)
  • 14% of voters thought neither candidate had the right temperament. Trump by 59 points (71%-12%)
  • 69% though both had the right temperament. Trump by 58 points (77-19%)

Trump focused on the character of Hillary Clinton, but also won on the issues.

Here are the top four issues which drove voters to the polls for Trump, even if they did not like or trust him:

  • Immigration
  • Trade
  • The Supreme Court
  • Obamacare


As for Hillary Clinton, the only advantage she offered was that … she was a woman. Female and Democratic and Independent voters rejected that argument in large numbers.

Trump’s effective messaging and targeted marketing overcame a huge fundraising and campaign spending disadvantage against Hillary Clinton, too:


Hillary outspent Trump by 500 million–yet still lost.

So what did Trump do differently than Hillary in marketing? A lot.


See the breakdown on the spending

Spending on broadcast television was down. So was radio.

But spending on Cable TV jumped way up. Even direct mail increased.

Why? More targeted marketing.

But spending on digital campaigning was up—way up!

Incidentally, earned media was important, too. Trump received at least an extra billion dollars’ worth of earned media compared to Hillary Clinton, who barely drew crowds over 100 people.

Notice also that in spite of a slight increase in campaign spending overall, compared to last year:

  • More funding went into Cable TV and direct mail
  • Digital marketing increased
  • But broadcast media decreased
  • What’s the lesson?

Trump relied on a more data-driven, direct marketing approach to target voters and get them to the polls.


  1. Trump had better messaging.
  2. He dominated the media better than Clinton.
  3. He presented a stronger, more well-known brand than his opponent.
  4. He spent more of his money on targeted campaign marketing.
  5. He resonated on key issues which the vast majority of Americans cared about.
  6. He campaigned in states not won by a Republican in 30 years because of a direct marketing campaign focusing on working people, including many who had not voted before or voted very rarely in key elections.

What do you think? Email me at craig@craighuey.com.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.