How digital marketing contributed to political campaigns in US 2020 elections? Examining Trump’s marketing strategies.

How digital marketing contributed to political campaigns in US 2020 elections?Examining Trump’s marketing strategies

Rutu Patel

After Barack Obama introduced the use of following marketing strategies digitally, his successor Donald Trump took extravagant steps in his campaigning. Read below for a full view about how digitisation has changed the role of politics in the modern world. 

In 2016, Donald Trump beat Hilary Clinton to be the 45th president of the United States of America. Trump’s victory sent shockwaves around the world as he lost the popular vote, but somehow received 77 more electoral votes than Clinton.Casting the ballots in for your president can be a similar experience to shopping. You see advertisements around and you try to collect as much information as possible before you make the final purchasing decision. Although choosing a candidate to vote for is more complicated, it also involves a great deal of marketing.

Trump claimed that the power of ‘Social media’ helped him win the elections. According to Google search engine giants, more search results appeared in Trump’s way than his opposition.


Many would think that for his campaign, Trump forked out millions. Yet he actually spent a small amount on conventional types of advertising. You can’t even equate his promotional budget to that of Clinton’s (which was a whopping $194 million). Trump only spent $4.4 million on ads in the last two months leading up to election day. In the 21st century, traditional forms of communication no longer have the effectiveness they once had. These days, a small investment could also help you to achieve success.

A few methods he used to gain popularity included:

  • Using his brand identity: Since entering the field of American politics, Trump was a well-known businessman and media host. He operates and maintains hotels, casinos, golf courses, resorts, and residential properties around the world, with his primary business as a real-estate developer. After hosting the show ‘The Apprentice’ for 14 seasons, he became popular around the globe and then declared that he would be running for president. With his fame and popularity, he used his famous name and established brand to attract attention.
  • Framing competitors as an ‘issue’: Focusing on his opponents’ shortcomings, he made them all look like they were the question and he was the answer. To top it off with nicknames that just stuck, he named them. In the eyes of people, the nicknames were devastatingly unflattering and reduced their prestige. For example, ‘Crazy Bernie’; ‘Crooked Hillary’.
  • Knowledge of Social media: Since 2016, Trump has gained close to 52 million followers of Twitter till September 2020. During his campaign, social media was his primary communication channel. His strategy wasn’t about posting pre-planned messages or directing people to his campaign website. Instead, he engaged with his supporters and started conversations with them. While some of his tweets were divisive, the press presented him with free publicity. In the new shows, whatever he tweeted ended up generating hype and being included.


He knows how to use social media such as Facebook and Twitter to keep fans in the loop and reveal what’s going on in his life, much like most top influencers. He has the most popular Twitter account amongst the world’s politicians.

  • Numerous rallies to advantage: Public appearances are going to attract publicity. To create buzz and media interest, Trump engaged in as many as he could. A total of 323 rallies were staged during the campaign: 186 for the primary season and 137 for the general election. He put himself out there to relay to the electorate his message. He spoke about their interests, beliefs and habits at his rallies, with a reported attendance of close to 1.4 million people. In contrast, Clinton’s protests at the other end were pale.

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