What This Election Can Teach Us About Marketing

The 2016 election was one for the ages and we’re not just talking about the endless drama that was propelled from both sides. This election didn’t just take the nation by storm, it took social media by storm, as well. Not only was the election eventful and unpredictable, but the different presidential campaigns from both Trump and Clinton were also extremely accessible for people all across the country. The engagement between the two frontrunner candidates and the voters was unlike ever before. However, Trump’s campaign and Clinton’s campaign varied greatly. Below, we will talk about differences in how the presidential candidates used digital marketing in their campaign.

Email Marketing

Email marketing is now a tried and true political strategy.  We saw this in Obama’s campaigns where his most successful subject line open rate was with the subject line of simply “hey.”  All candidates embraced email marketing this year in an effective way.  

Trump’s emails were viewed as slightly more personalized throughout the election. His emails greeted the recipient by name and didn’t use a generic greeting term. Clinton’s emails on the other hand were very generic as they used “friend” to greet the recipient instead of using first names. The emails sent by each party were similar in some ways, however. Emails from both sides typically encouraged a CTA or a donation. That being said, Clinton’s emails lacked personalization in the header, in addition to the greeting, while Trump’s headers focused more on the campaign theme and instilling that message into the voter’s mind. When it came to the dreaded unsubscribe, Clinton used more of a scare tactic reminding voters what could happen if people didn’t stand by her cause – Trump elected as President. Even third-party candidate, Gary Johnson, raised a record amount of funding and support via a lean digital email strategy.  


This social media platform definitely played a major role in the election but just like the email marketing tactics, the Twitter tactics used by the top two candidates were different, as well. Trump’s twitter was often seen as crude, or aggressive. It was reported that he was the author behind most of the tweets that appeared on his profile. Clinton’s tweets, on the other hand, were more tactful and appeared to be more thought out – however, many of her tweets were said to have not been written by her. Trump seemed to have more of an emotional, in the moment attitude, whereas Clinton’s profile seemed to be very traditional. Her Twitter resembled that of a decorated politician who knew how to play the game. Her Twitter included shoutouts to supporters as well as multiple posts about the issues her campaign was focused on. Twitter was used to very differently for the two candidates and it was another reflection of their overall campaign.

Regardless of where you stood with each candidate, it’s safe to say that digital marketing has become a vital part of any candidate’s strategy in today’s world.  And while we’re pretty sure most people are thankful that the election is over so that they can once again enjoy social media without the rants and arguments, as digital marketers, it has been fun, once again, to see the power of the digital channels.