If I were to go on what I see in local media, no American in their right mind would vote for Donald Trump to become President of the United States.

However recent polls put Hillary Clinton’s support at around 47%, against Trump's 43%. That 43% theoretically represents over 100 million people willing to back The Donald. Are they all mad, or stupid, or a combination thereof?

Many New Zealanders simply can't understand how people could back the Republican candidate, but many intelligent, patriotic and motivated Americans are behind Trump, and it's simply wrong to assume they are mainly ignorant rednecks.

This seeming paradox is at the heart of why we sometimes struggle as marketers, especially in the tech world.

Politics, probably more so than many other choices (such as commercial brands), is heavily influenced by what marketing guru Seth Godin calls our ‘world view’. As he explains it in a blog post on his website, that it is “ . . . our worldview (the way we acted and believed and judged before we encountered you) and your story (the narrative we tell ourselves about who you are and what you do) that drive human behavior.”

This world view is our own decision-making framework, model or maybe prison from which we all operate in and filter all the information that comes to us.

For Trump opponents, all the wild statements, negative stories and controversy reinforce their view that he is a messianic misogynist that would wreck the nation. For Trump supporters, the exact same stories simply reinforce that he is a forthright person who has a clear view of what’s wrong with America and what needs to be done, and for the more extreme stories it is simply the liberal media elite trying to undermine him.

Exactly the same messages, getting a completely different result because of the perspective of the receiver.

As marketers we have to understand the worldview of our target customers to connect with them. That worldview is a bit like the comfy couch on which my teenage son likes to lie after he's done some physical exercise. He needs a really good incentive to move, or a demonstrably more comfortable piece of furniture to relax on. He balances any suggestion to move against the immense comfort he feels, and usually rejects it.

Technology solutions can be like that comfy couch. A customer may currently use what is a technically inferior product to what you are offering, but it is a ‘comfortable’ solution to their need. The sales and marketing challenge is to convince them why they should go through the pain of changing.

Trump supporters are operating within the ‘comfort’ of a worldview that is concerned about immigration, the loss of manufacturing jobs to offshoring, the growing aggression of Russia, and the increasing remoteness of politicians and bureaucrats in Washington, or as Trump calls it “The Swamp.” Trump's messages fit with their world view, resonates with their emotions and motivates action. In their worldview Clinton's statements represent a Washington-centric, politically correct establishment.

As tech marketers we need to understand that. At times we are a Clinton campaign trying to sell to Trump supporters. It's easiest to find people with a worldview that fits, as trying to change the view of entrenched people is very hard.

Of course, like politics, there are a whole segment of people at the margins that can be persuaded, who have a worldview that enables them to be more flexible in their decision-making. You really need to understand their pain, and then the way they look at the world to drive change.

In a business to business world that usually means understanding the different personas that typically buy or influence the purchase of our kind of solution. Is it an accountant type person who needs lots of facts, charts and analytical data; or a CEO who wants to see how it fulfils their vision; maybe a HR person concerned about the effect on people; or marketers driven by impact on the brand. They all have their worldview you have to consider and connect with.

If Trump doesn’t win this week, he will still have garnered a huge amount of the vote. That’s a reflection of his ability to connect with the ‘worldview’ of many Americans, regardless of whether you like that messaging. As marketers we would love that ability to persuade prospective customers to choose us.

Getting this right isn’t just marketing theory, it produces results. The latest Market Measures study showed a correlation between positive turnover growth, and focusing your competitive positioning on “helping customers achieve their business goals.” Download the latest Market Measures report for this and other growth insights.


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