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Practice Management > Building Your Business

3 marketing lessons from Donald Trump

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Love him or hate him, Donald Trump does know how to do one thing very well: live in people’s minds rent-free. 

Politics aside, the ability to get people talking about you and remembering your messages is an aspiration for just about any businessperson. And doing it without a “ginormous” advertising budget can be as much an art as it is a science. 

So, what lessons can you learn from “The Donald’s” bid for the White House that you can apply to your business in 2016? Here are a few key takeaways.

1. Know what your competitors are doing (and make their oversights your digital assets):

Come on, this is business. In this day and age, you need to familiarize yourself with all the tools available to you. If you fail to purchase your own name or your company name’s URL, and you want to run for president (or even run a successful business) you’re already starting with the chips stacked against you.

What would your prospective clients think if they went to your URL or your company’s URL and it redirected to your biggest competitor? That you’re not serious about your business? That you don’t have a good team behind you? That the details get past you? No matter what it is, it’s not good. But hey, your competitor looks sharp.

If you haven’t already, I encourage you to see what I’m referring to by visiting 

While purchasing your competitors’ URL isn’t everyone’s style, you do want to claim, maintain and monetize your own digital assets. This goes for your URLs (your name, your business name and even a signature service-related URL), which can all redirect back to your site. If you don’t think your prospective clients are doing an Internet search before agreeing to a meeting with you, think again.

2. Master the art of making the biggest impact with the least amount of money.

If you want people to remember you, then you have to be unique. You have to say something different, powerful and impactful to them. Hearing or seeing something new is refreshing, exciting and memorable. 

Then, with those powerful messages in tow, you have to go where their attention is: You don’t want to be background noise while your prospect carries on with their life. (Advertising can often become that background noise.) You want to be on the forefront, sharing ideas and concepts that matter to your prospect and doing that in places where their attention is captive. 

How do you stand apart in a sea of competitors? Many people throw more money at advertising in an effort to reach a wider audience, with the hope that their ideal prospects would remember what they had to say.

The problem with this approach is that it simply does not stand out. This approach could fall under being complacent, and if your messages could be said by any other advisor, or if they mostly apply to their business as well, then throwing more money at advertising those messages isn’t doing a lot for you. Thus, building your own brand recognition and equity becomes a slow, grueling and expensive process. 

Until very recently, The Donald had not bought any airtime, such as commercials, yet he was always on the news. Your prospects tune into news sources for content of interest to them, and pass by the advertisements on their way there. If you’re not going where they are already, then you’re always going to be chasing them.

3. If you stick to your messages, your messages will stick. 

Good, bad or indifferent, if you have a platform to spread your word, stick to your story and your story will stick. Of course, be sure what you’re saying is what you want people to remember.

Off-the-cuff comments have a way of backfiring, especially if people are listening. I recommend that you identify three to five key messages that — given the opportunity to speak to your ideal prospect or the media — are the very things you want them to remember.

We live in a sound bite society and listeners will only take away a few key points from a conversation. Determine what are your most powerful messages and how they can help people, why they should remember you and what’s in it for your prospects when they do.

Then, stick to those messages in conversations, the media, at your client events, in your written collateral… There is power in repetition. If you stick to your messages, your messages will stick.   

Now, of course, for these strategies to be effective you’re going to have to show up and engage with those beautiful, wonderful, fantastic people you call prospects. With these three tips in mind, you’ll be on your way to “Trump” your marketing in 2016.  It will be “yuge.”

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