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Super Tuesday 2/3: Marketing Lessons on the Campaign Trail

Heart & Soul Blog

Super Tuesday 2/3: Marketing Lessons on the Campaign Trail

Alyson Campbell

Tonight marks a big show down for the candidates on the campaign trail, particularly in what some are now calling “Super Tuesday 3,” with key states Ohio, Florida, Illinois, Missouri, and North Carolina hanging in the balance.  What can the marketing focus related to each of the candidates’ campaigns tell us about possible outcomes?

Bernie Sanders: Sanders continues to rely on grassroots marketing, particularly with reaching the hearts of the Millennials via social media and non-traditional fundraising.

“Feel the Bern” continues to turn heads with the millennial generation, similarly to that of how Obama engaged this audience, and now even parents of millennials are starting to listen.  Today, MSNBC reported that particularly with young latinos, they are swaying the vote with their parents, as they are relied upon for being the “trusted messenger” for everything, whether that’s reading documents, translating, etc., but all in all, having a clear enthusiasm for Sanders and convincing their families in turn.

The Washington Post reports that Sanders continues to nip at Hillary’s heels, as multiple polls show Sanders closing in on three states - Missouri, Illinois and Ohio.  

Photo Credit: Rolling Stone.com

Hillary Clinton: Clinton is focused on more traditional marketing efforts with “well to do” fundraisers, and in appealing to the older woman as well as capitalizing on her foreign policy platform.

Clinton isn’t averse to spending, especially when it comes to her constituents. After all, being the woman on the docket, she is working to appeal directly to the 40+ women audience (as Sanders continues to capture the younger vote), and is using this appeal coupled with her knowledge on foreign policy to waylay any doubts about her experience. Politicus USA notes, “What is clear is that Hillary Clinton has a defined foreign policy ideology.”  The Washington Post reports that Clinton is showing results far ahead in Florida and North Carolina for Clinton, parrallel to her efforts last week, despite Sanders walking away with Michigan, and her widening the lead in the delegate count as a result of last week’s victory in Mississippi.

Photo Credit: TheBlaze.com

Donald Trump: Sensationalism still grabs media and public interest. With every move, Trump continues to get media coverage. And he’s banking on immigration issues to separate him from the pack.  

It doesn’t seem to matter to a lot of Republican voters what Trump is saying or doing - the sensationalism coming out of his campaign continues to engage the media and public in what he’s doing - protest or not, as analysts and numbers conitnue to show these incidents are not impacting his numbers. Immigration being a particular issue among Republican voters, according to YouGov, “What separates Trump voters from those supporting other candidates is the importance of the issue of immigration.  While Republican voters generally think the economy is the country’s most important issue, no matter whether they are for or against Trump, Trump’s supporters are nearly five times as likely as supporters of other candidates to say immigration is the issue that matters most to them.”

Photo Credit: Fortune.com

Marco Rubio: As of this publishing, Rubio has just announced his suspending of his 2016 campaign following his projected loss in Florida. According to ABC News, “despite pre-primary polls that showed him trailing Donald Trump in the state, which he represents in the U.S. Senate, Rubio predicted he would “shock the country” and win Florida’s 99 delegates.”

Ted Cruz: Cruz is appealing to religious groups, asking them to “pray and fast.”

A prayer may be all Cruz has left of any hope, after already trailing behind Trump and Rubio, even before Rubio’s suspension announcement, including news today including in the Huffington Post about a nursing-home chain that recently settled a lawsuit alleging it “stole patients’ social security, Medicare, Medicaid and Veterans Administration payments being closely linked to five companies that donated $250,000 to Stand for Truth, a super PAC supporting Ted Cruz.”

According to Dallas Morning News, politicians have used similar prayer tactics to have supporters rally around a cause. The Morning News reports, “Former Gov. Rick Perry invited fellow governors to a “Day of Prayer and Fasting” in 2011 to encourage “spiritual solutions to the many challenges we face in our communities, states and nation.”  Martin Medhurst, political science professor at Baylor University, also mentioned in this story, said that candidates asking supporters to fast ahead of a vote was “certainly unusual and he could not recall such an instance in the last 40 years.”  

Photo Credit: Richard Ellis/Getty Images/International Business Times

John Kasich: Kasich is appealing to his track record in his home state of Ohio, in addition to using a “divide and conquer” strategy. 

Kasich is predicted to take his home state of Ohio, and while not enough to win a nomination, has asked Rubio to support him there, though he himself is not focusing any efforts on Florida. According to the Washington Times and analysts, the “divide-and-conquer strategy is not likely to succeed because it requires a lot of very informed, strategic-minded voters. But the fact that the campaigns are implicitly condoning the strategy...suggests just how divisive this year’s race has become on the GOP side.”

Photo Credit: New York Times

What do you think?  Are the candidates using smart marketing strategies?  Which of them most appeal to you?