I recently watched a fascinating programme on BBC called Secrets of Silicon Valley. The programme focused on how the tech giants in the US had worked with Donald Trump's campaign team to win the 2016 Presidential Election.
This really didn't come as a surprise to us here at DNAsix®. Last November I penned this article about the election. However, with the benefit of this programme and a few month's hindsight, I'll show you how we can use the 6-step model to show how he was successful.
Trump knew exactly who he needed to target to win the election. Disaffected, mainly white, middle-aged men in the key swing states. Project Alamo was set up specifically to do this job with specialist content creators, analysts from Cambridge Analytica and teams of people seconded from Facebook, Twitter and Google - all sitting together under one roof.
Here the campaign had a major asset. They had the best-known example of a CEO who truly 'got' social media in Trump. We're now used to his 'policy by tweet' strategy but here was a man who totally understood how digital channels could win him the campaign 'bigly'. So from the start, the right team was built with everyone on board in terms of using social.
For campaigns to be successful on social media, they need to be impactful, visual, short and with a simple call to action. Unsuprisingly the Project Alamo team put together hundreds and hundreds of specially tailored ads depending on the particular audience they were trying to reach. Images, videos, slogans all got delivered neatly into the newsfeeds of millions of Americans who are as likely to reach for a smartphone as they are to breath.
Starting off with promoted and sponsored content on social media, Trump's team managed to reach out to a core of supporters - in effect 'seeding' the content, safe in the knowledge it would be shared, retweeted, reposted thousands of times. Considering that according to Pew Research, more than 40% of Americans now get their news via Facebook, using networks of known Republican-leaning voters and those with right wing views was quickly going to get their message across to the millions of people they needed to get out and vote.
Trump, like most canny business owners, realised that he would have to spend and spend big if he wanted to deliver the results he needed on Facebook. The result was $90 million going into the coffers of the world's largest social network. And with seconded staff from Facebook working on the team, they were able to deliver the advertising in the most highly efficient way - changing ads by the hour.
Using Cambridge Analytica's incredibly vast database of information about US voter habits as well as Facebook, Twitter and Google's data, it was possible to pin-point exactly where likely Trump supporters were living then target them with the campaign content. These were people who then went out to vote for Trump, shocking the polling companies and the Washington establishment. In this case the data held by the Trump campaign was far more accurate than that of the polling companies.
This is all very well, but how does this case study apply in the 'real world'? Well, while the magnitude of the endeavour may be considerable, the Trump win exemplified exactly what savvy management teams need to do in order to run successful digitally-adaptive businesses.