As of the end of September 2016, Hillary Clinton is only 3% more likely to win the Presidency than is Donald Trump.
In marketing terms, this can be considered nothing but an embarrassment.
The Clinton campaign is offering the Presidential equivalent of an iPhone: non-transparent, complex, sometimes glitchy, but also highly versatile, powerful and sophisticated. Savvy consumers love the “product’s” extraordinary functionality and historical brand dominance. Sure, there are people off cracking into Android devices, but they’re not coming up with something functionally superior.
By contrast, the Trump campaign offers a Swarovski-crystal covered off-brand flip-phone. The technology is unsophisticated; there are a lot of things it simply can’t do. You have to push the buttons over and over to create a single message, and it might autocorrect in weird ways. The cool kids don’t carry these things around. But the non-insiders recognize it intuitively – it looks like a phone, for Pete’s sake! There’s nostalgia, comfort, and accessibility – covered in a veneer of overpriced, but nonetheless broadly appealing, sparkle.
If you were in charge of the iPhone marketing department and the off-brand flip phone were gobbling your market share, you’d be humiliated, and with good reason:
YOU HAVE THE VASTLY SUPERIOR PRODUCT AND YOU ARE LOSING.
What kind of tactical mistake can create this kind of effect in the market? Classic marketing principles can help us understand why this is happening. I’ll talk about two here.