Barack Obama’s presidency has reached its final countdown, and Donald Trump and his team are gearing up for their transition into the White House.

Needless to say it has been an unprecedented election season with twists, turns, and scandals at every corner. In addition, this election has also seen an unprecedented use of digital marketing, and has subsequently taken it into a whole new level.

Barack Obama may have been the “president of the social media age”, but the 2016 Democratic and Republican candidates have gone further, doing even more with the available digital platforms than Obama’s previous campaigns.

As we await the inauguration, and a new presidential era, here is a look into how the Clinton and Trump campaigns used digital marketing to influence voters.

“I’m With Her” - Hillary Clinton Campaign

The public has long viewed Hillary Clinton as “untrustworthy” and “unethical”. This perception has plagued Clinton since she her first bid for the presidency back in 2008. The subsequent Benghazi and email scandals have only confirmed these attitudes in the public’s eye. As a result, Clinton and her marketing team faced a considerable challenge. They needed to devise a strategy that focused on changing public perception; a strategy focused on humanizing Hillary Clinton.

Her team crafted a unique solution to their problem. They used a voter persona database comprised of national averages, representative voter diaries, and customized focus group interviews. This database represented all of the different types of voters in the United States. Clinton´s team used this information to design voter targeted ads. She created different ads that focused on the issues that matter most to all of the different voters.

In addition, the Clinton campaign created a strong digital marketing presence. The campaign had a portfolio of nine ad networks and retargeting platforms. Most notably, she developed an email initiative that focused on generating resonating content that utilized platforms such as Mandrill from MailChimp.

“Make America Great Again” - Donald Trump Campaign

The Donald Trump campaign successfully employed social media platforms to their advantage. Trump’s active, uncut, and often controversial media voice earned him approximately 10.3 million followers on Twitter, in comparison to Clinton´s 7.84 million. Trump ignored all the conventional marketing rules. Instead of shying away from controversy, he embraced it, and continues to, with open arms. This has made Trump the most talked about nominee in the 2016 election, and gives credit to the phrase “no publicity is bad publicity”.

While he threw the conventional rules of marketing out the door, his social media activity remained consistent. Trump tweeted 10 plus times every day and took full advantage of an age where content is consumed at startling rates. It is clear then that Trump won the battle over social media marketing. To measure the effectiveness of social media we can consider two categories: quantity and quality. We can measure quantity by the number of followers a candidate has (via Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.); and we can measure quality by the engagement of these followers. Trump defeated Clinton in both of these categories.

Against All Odds

Despite all of their marketing efforts, Trump and Clinton remain as two of the least liked presidential candidates in history. In the end, Trump won the war, but Clinton won many battles during this fight (and not just in marketing). Hillary Clinton and her team created a diverse, young, and unique marketing strategy, which excelled at creating exceptional email content. Ultimately, her position as a Washington insider and the public’s unfavorable views of her character prevented her from winning the White House.

It is clear how important and imperative exceptional content and good marketing has become in politics. As we enter a new political age, we also continue voyaging further into the uses of digital marketing. In the years to come, we will see an inevitable rise in the importance of social media presence, email campaigns, etc. Those with the ability to wield the power of digital marketing will reap the rewards.

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