In Flip the Funnel, I outlined Obama '08 as one of the best in class case studies exemplifying what it is to deploy a "retention as the new acquisition" inside-out approach to marketing. Little did I know, I would be turning to politics once again to demonstrate and validate my* 4th book, "Z.E.R.O."
Donald J. Trump - hate him or love him - and I will keep my personal opinion separate to this piece (you just need to visit my Facebook page to see what I really think) has shown without much wiggle room or doubt the power of "Z.E.R.O. Paid Media as the New Marketing Model".
Before I continue, let me just state a point which I think is clear and obvious: Have any doubt in the assertion that Paid Media is on the precipitous decline - or just plain doesn't work - why not look towards the political process itself? Think about a race where both candidates are spending obscene amount on paid media. One is going to to win and one is going to lose. And so if you're going to point to the efficacy of paid media in helping one candidate declare victory, then surely you need to declare paid media as being completely ineffective and wasteful in the loser's failed quest...
Oh I know where you're about to head...you're going to blame the "message" vs the "medium" Stupid creative! Be more persuasive next time (to the tune of Homer Simpson)!
Still fighting me? Of course you are...you're going to blame the "product" versus the advertising and possibly cite that ridiculous and pathetic excuse, "there's no better way to kill a bad product than with great advertising."
Hey, I'm just demonstrating that paid media is not the panacea it once was. Don't shoot the messenger (regardless of your position on the second amendment)
Hang on, you're still protesting that the political bubble is unique and is not representative of the real world. You're right...it's much simpler than the cluttered, noising SKU-infested REAL world of toothpaste, detergent, cellular providers, cars and home mortgages where the tyranny of choice makes life damn near impossible for you.
...and now we return you to our regularly schedule program, the reality show that is Donald J Drumpf.
The Donald might as well be called "The Dude" when it comes to playing the system; the media; and well, playing you as well with a simple spin on "Sticks and stones make break my bones, but words will never harm me."
As a conspiracy theory aside, I've wondered whether he was always trying to pull of a Verbal on us by pulling off the greatest MEDIA con in the history of the business...using the MEDIA as the perfect conduit and weapon of mass distraction. I always felt there was going to be an A-HA reveal; a gotcha....but it never came. The Jimmy Kimmel skit with Producers' Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick was not far off.
Perhaps Trump was looking to further his brand, which he currently values at $3bn!
...and then, when the media, together with the gullible, desperate and/or dumb populous lapped up the rhetoric and did not immediately reject and regurgitate it in disgust, something weird happened: he either started to believe his own lies (a common side effect of narcissism) or unequivocably did not and instead doubled-, tripled- and quadrupled-down on nonsense in an attempt to shock the body to reject its host.
Think about it: xenophobia, bigotry, veiled threats of murder, racism and EVEN TAKING ON THE POPE!!!! Nothing seems to work (and here I type this on Super Tuesday...gee, I wonder how today is going to go No surprise, he did pretty well.)
Personally, I think - I KNOW - that should he be offered "The final rose", he will break our hearts by telling us he is not in love with us...but in fact with someone else (HIMSELF) and reject our proposal.
So what does this have to do with Zero Paid Media as the New Marketing Model? Besides, everything???
- Z.E.R.O. states that in a perfect world, the optimal paid media budget would be zero.
- Why would you need to pay for attention if you're paying attention?
- Why be a tenant (renting media) when you can be a landlord (owning and monetizing assets)?
...oh and Trump knows a thing or two about being a landlord for what it's worth.
Z.E.R.O. is also an acronym for Zealots, Entrepreneurship, Retention and Owned Assets and Trump comes up "trumps" in the Zealots (can you say Trumpets?), Entrepreneurship (the American dream is not to make it...not make it great...again) and Owned Assets categories.
The earned media he's received is beyond compare. It's priceless. This is content strategy at its best. Or worst. Or best.
Whilst I still don't think he is going to become President, it doesn't really matter at this stage. He has proven that "telling it like it is" is less about telling the truth and more about being a mirror or lens reflecting what - some - people are really thinking. And isn't that what a brand is at the end of the day? Nothing more than a mirror or reflection of a company's values, beliefs, and principles and a projection or connection to the people it hopes to serve, service or sell to?
This might be a good time to purchase a copy of Z.E.R.O. - it's purchase price is less than the average contribution to Bernie Sanders and 100% of the proceeds is going to go towards burying the asbestos-laded "Make America Great Again" caps (well then ones that don't go to the Smithsonian)
...but in all seriousness, Donald J Trump has shown - beyond the shadow of a doubt - that power of Advocacy multiplied to the power of the ultimate asset, one's mouth.
He's right you know: we wouldn't be talking about this stuff without him. You know, like racism. Real racism...not like #oscarssowhite. And I'm as guilty as the next. I still have 9 unplayed episodes of Homeland to watch...can't get to them as I'm watching the new reality show hit; the new must-see TV, CNN.
I leave you with the words of CBS head honcho, Les Moonves: It may not be good for America, but it's damn good for CBS.
Yes, the media could just stop reporting on this. Yes we could just stop watching, but we can't. Forget "Yes, we can"; the new normal, is "No, we can't!" (stop watching)
We're all disciplies of the Church of Z.E.R.O.
P.S.. Thank you Drumpf for curing my writer's block!
Photo credit: Designcrowd.com
* actually our as in co-authored by my ex-client and current-friend, Maarten Albarda