Why Trump’s Retail Strategy Worked and Hillary’s Didn’t

Why Trump’s Retail Strategy Worked . . . and Hillary’s Didn’t

Two of the first rules of a successful retail strategy are to know your customer and to have the right product at the right price. Do this while retailing your old customers and you have a winning strategy. Don’t have the right product, don’t build a community with your customers, and losses are the likely outcome.

I wrote previously that politicians are just another type of retailer, and the 2016 presidential proved that. By applying The Five Laws of Retail, Donald J. Trump defied expectations by becoming the president-elect of the United States.

The Trump Store Exceeds Expectations 

The DJT campaign did not employ any of the usual political consultants, pollsters, or other hacks. Rather, they simply identified their core customers and addressed their needs. Focused and relentless. Trump built a connection, a bond with those customers. They felt part of his team, and he with them. He followed the First Law of Retail, People First!

He customized the product to the customers needs and confirmed their already-held convictions by applying the Second Law of Retail, It’s Always the Product.

Both Clinton and Trump had aggressive omni-channel strategies in place, although Trump’s seemed to be more cost-efficient. The Trump campaign was the master of Twitter, and through Twitter with communicating to the world across all channels. The Clinton campaign was the best at email solicitations. Both were darn good with the bricks-and-mortar channel—that is, rallies and appearances.

The Hillary Store Didn’t Make a Plan 

The election came down to having the right product and knowing the customer, and then building a relationship with that customer.

Nothing personal against Hillary—or more correctly, the Democratic Party store—but apparently the product was just not right. Kind of last season’s goods, like when the clerk in a shoe store brings out a pair of shoes in your size and the box is all kinds of battered and crushed.

Then there’s the part about People First: building a relationship and community with your customers. That is called customer relationship management (CRM). Clearly the Democratic Party store neglected or took for granted the customers it left in Wisconsin and Michigan.

21st Century Values 

Authenticity, Honesty, and Community. No politician who ever lived was true to all of those values all of the time. But in this case, one candidate came across as more authentic than the other—even if you don’t agree with the things he was authentic about. One candidate built an incredibly strong relationship with his community of customers and was honest about his values; it doesn’t matter whether you find those values good or repugnant.

Protect Your Downside, The Fifth Law of Retail 

Now the Democratic Party store must refocus their strategy, keeping in mind the dynamic rules that govern all retailing.

There are no returns or exchanges when you buy from these retailers.

“If you bought it, you own it.” At least for the next four years.

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