Now in it’s third season, Donald Trump’s killer television series “The Apprentice” is officially a “franchise.”
With new seasons in the making, a clothing line that carries “The Apprentice” brand, DVD’s in production, and mega-fortunes to be made, it’s no surprise that the king of real estate… a man who knows a good thing when he sees it… is involved.
I like Donald Trump a lot.
Mostly because I learn something new from him every time I watch him in action.
One of the barbs critics aim at Donald Trump is that he’s a shameless egomaniac who can’t get enough of the spotlight.
Well, they may call it egomania, but from my perspective… it’s a brilliant business strategy.
I’ll admit it: I’m a marketer.
My job is to make people sit up and take notice of my clients (and their products or services), and to deliver a “brand” message at every opportunity.
That’s exactly what “The Donald” does.
If that makes me him an egocentric, self-congratulatory target for media pundits, who cares? Because it also makes him a “household name”?in households from Bangor, Maine to Bangkok Thailand.
Brand recognition is the foundation of every marketing strategy.
If you’re a small business owner, YOU are your brand.
That means you must sell yourself as well as your product or service.
Trump understands the concept, and what’s why you see his brand Trump on everything.
You’ve got to be willing to get name out there? Willing to say, “Hey look me!”… Ready to stand up for yourself, believe in yourself, and blow your own horn?
Loudly and as often as possible.
Have you noticed that each episode of “The Apprentice” includes a segment devoted to a current Trump project?
This as an opportunity for “The Donald” to billboard a success story.
Week after week, he tells millions of people, “I’m a great real estate giant and here’s the proof.” Take a tip from “The Donald”?
You’ve got to be your own full-time marketing campaign 24 hours a day… because nobody else will!
Especially if you’re an entrepreneur.
When you’re the own of a business, especially a new business, it’s kind of like being a parent.
Before your business can “talk”… before your “little one” has grown and established a reputation that literally “speaks for itself”… you need to be the “spokesperson.”
How long will this last?
You may not want to hear this, but the answer is — forever. You must always be ready to carry the banner for your business and your success.
So, before you give Donald Trump “two thumbs done” for shameless self-promotion, consider how his ego… and his knack for savvy marketing… is a real asset to his business empire.
If it’s good enough for “The Donald,” it’s good enough for me… and YOU, too.
The next time you sit down for the next episode of the “Book Smarts vs. Street Smarts” season of “The Apprentice,” open your mind.
Instead of picking at the negative traits of “The Donald” or his “top guns” Carolyn and George, think about their success and ask yourself…
What can I learn from this guy? How does he marketing himself? How can I adapt this concept to me and my business?
The truth is, if you can’t get at least a handful of “golden nuggets” from this super-successful entrepreneur, you may be hopeless.
What I’d like to do is share some of the key marketing insights I’ve learned from Donald Trump and “The Apprentice” that you, too, can use in your business.
Before we get to the marketing insights, however, there’s a bigger business concept that you need to understand.
I’ll give it to you the way I like best… straight… “Lok-ed and loaded” to blow your mind:
You have something to learn from people of any age, any background, any education, and any level of success.
The candidate on “The Apprentice” can’t hold a handle to Donald Trump’s success. Yet each week, they pull rabbits out of hats, rising (more or less) to meet the challenges presented to them.
Every new task makes them better in business as they evolve, refine strategies, and respond to what they’re learning. There’s no better formula for success than the flexibility and resilience they demonstrate.
So don’t just focus on “The Donald” for your weekly dose of marketing magic.
Keep an eye on the candidates, too! You never know who’s got something to teach you.
Apprentice Marketing Lesson #1 – Too Much Is Never Enough
Actually, “too much is never enough” was a successful slogan from the early days of MTV, but it could just as easily be the “poster child” for marketing. You can never connect with consumers too frequently.
There’s a marketing truism out there: To sell a prospect, you’ll need to make repeated contact. That’s why most direct mail campaigns use a minimum of three messages, why magazines put as many as five subscription forms in each issue, and why “The Donald” says the word “Trump” as many times as he can in every episode of “The Apprentice.”
Does it make a difference? Can it make “The Donald” even more successful?
In the 21st Century, every consumer is bombarded with advertising messages?up to 3,000 a day for some people.
After a while, they just tune out. Or, if they don’t tune-out, consumers are often so distracted that they don’t really hear or see a marketing message.
It’s more effective to send three mailers to 1,000 prospects than one mailer to 3,000though the cost is the same. Another approach is a “timed” or “sequenced” campaign.
In this kind of campaign, message #1 is a teaser. #2 is the “guts” and a gift offer. #3 gives ordering instructions. The sequenced approach allows you to generate both expectations and recognition.
Prospects look forward to hearing from you.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that you need to keep hammering away at the eyes and ears of potential prospects. But the main reason for this many not be as obvious as you think…
By repeating your marketing message over and over, you “imbed” that message in the consumer’s mind. Then, when the consumer needs what you have to offer, they’ll think of you first… even if aren’t actively marketing to them in the moment.
The goal is to make yourself the automatic go-to solution for a problem whenever that problem occurs. The consumer’s sub-conscious will do the driving.
Apprentice Marketing Lesson #2 – Sex Sells, But Too Much Sex Repels
The candidates chosen for “The Apprentice” are uniformly attractive, articulate, and the kind of people that most other people enjoy looking at.
The producers of the show — including Mark Burnett who produces that other mega-hit “Survivor” — know that sex sells on television.
Sex sells in marketing, too.
During the second season of “The Apprentice” when “The Donald” pitted the men against the women, tasks were routinely won thanks to sex appeal… women’s AND men’s.
(You may recall that the men’s team used one of their attractive members to flirt with and win over a table of gay diners during a restaurant challenge.)
But if you weren’t watching closely, you might have missed the episode where sex didn’t sell — big time… and THAT is the point of this mini-lesson.
In one of the last episodes of the second season, candidates were challenged to sell candy.
On one team, two blonde women donned matching red leotards and flashed — their smiles only — at male prospects.
Sales were brisk because, as we all know, sex sells… and for most men there’s nothing sexier than a leggy blonde.
The other team was struggling, so with just minutes to spare before the end of a task, one team member offered to drop her skirt as a way to convince male passersby to buy her candy.
They bought… in droves.
They weren’t buying candy, of course, they were buying sex… just like the guy who finds a car suddenly irresistible because of the leggy swimsuit model that’s advertising it at the Auto Show… and just like the guys who bought from the blonde “twins” on the other team.
The problem with the “buy my candy and you can see my buns” approach is that it was over the top.
As “The Donald” pointed out in the boardroom, the candidate wasn’t selling candy… she was selling sex literally, with a candy bar bonus.
That, my friends, is why so many marketers are referred to as prostitutes… and why the candidate who dropped her skirt was dropped from the show at the end of the task.
As “The Donald” put it so eloquently: You’re fired!
The skirt-dropping candidate was fired despite the fact that she had fulfilled her mission — to make money. Why? By over-selling sexuality, she left a negative over-all impression.
Sex is powerful stuff?use it wisely and sparingly.
Apprentice Marketing Secret #3: Cross-Promotion
I’ve talked about this concept until I am blue in the face, but I still meet prospective clients who stubbornly say, “My product is such a winner that I don’t need to partner with other businesses and give away any of my profits.”
Or more delicately “No man is an island”?and no business is either. There’s not a company on earth that can survive without a constant stream of qualified prospects coming through the door.
So it doesn’t matter what industry you’re in or what product/service you make available, whoever you are…
Tying your product to another popular product, service, business, or person is always a winning marketing strategy.
“The Apprentice” has featured cross-promotions with Burger King, Pepsi, the Planet Hollywood restaurant chain, and other well-know, extremely successful businesses.
If these super-corporations benefit from cross-promotions, doesn’t it seem logical that your business can, too?
The biggest trend in high-end marketing today is film and TV cross- promotions. Ever since E.T. gave Reese’s Pieces a huge boost, marketers have aggressively tried to get their products “placed” in films and television shows.
Having a good product or service is NOT enough… although it’s certainly “Job 1.” Quality and value bring your customers back for more. But how the heck do they do how wonderful your stuff is if they haven’t even bought from you yet?
In order to make a sale, you need someone you can sell to. To achieve that you need effective marketing systems to get these people in your funnel in the first place.
Cross-promotion is the key.
Customers who are already “sold” on the business your partnering with become, essentially, pre-sold on you.
And cross-promotion allows you to expand your marketing reach without spending any additional marketing dollars.
Can you imagine how much Burger King would have to pay for a 15-second spot during “The Apprentice.”
By appearing within the show in a carefully negotiated cross-promotion, Burger King gets all the gain (aka the audience) with none of the pain (advertising expenses)
What did “The Donald” get out of all of this? In addition to finding a company willing to let his apprentices take over their business for the day, consumers will now “think Trump” when they purchase one of the burgers promoted on the show.
You’re Fired… Fired-Up, That Is
I’ve “distilled” the essence of just three of the effective marketing concepts that Donald Trump has accidentally shared on “The Apprentice.” They’re the same strategies he uses in his own business, but he’s let the cat out of the bag and now his secrets are YOUR secrets
If you’re inspired by what you’ve read here and would like to go deep into Trump’s mind, “The Donald” has written several powerful books filled with stories, anecdotes, secrets, and amazingly effective techniques for making it to the top… and staying there through thick and thin.
*Trump: How to Get Rich
*Trump: The Way to the Top
*Trump: Surviving at the Top
*Trump: The Art of the Deal
*Trump: The Art of Survival
Did you notice that each book leads with the word “Trump”? He never misses an opportunity to promote his brand.
I told you “The Donald” was a master marketer!
And consider this: if you can beg, borrow, or steal just one or two ideas from a man who’s sitting on a billion-dollar empire… ideas that could jumpstart your business empire… wouldn’t it be worth 20 bucks? (Less if you get a second-hand copy on Ebay).
This is your chance to be “The Apprentice” of Donald Trump… to learn from the master… without worrying about getting fired on national television.