David Meerman Scott vs. Bob Hoffman on Trump

David Meerman Scott vs. Bob Hoffman on Trump

Part of the problem with evangelists is that they are always biased.

Christian evangelists must always state that Jesus was always correct and never did anything wrong. Brand evangelists must always state that their brands do everything right and nothing to harm anyone. If I were an evangelist for “widgets,” then I would have to make the case that “widgets” are the most important thing in the world and that everything pure and holy and shiny must result from “widgets.”

Of course, I would be full of crap.

David Meerman Scott (no relation) has been an evangelist of so-called “inbound marketing” ever since he published “The New Rules of Marketing and PR” in the late 2000s. As an evangelist, he must somehow positively connect every development in business and marketing worlds to “inbound marketing” — even though, as I explained in a keynote address last week in Lithuania, the term is meaningless because most of the same basic strategies are used to get visitors either to a store or to a website.

Now, after the seeming election of Donald Trump as the next U.S. president, Scott writes that Trump — of course — won as a result of his use of “inbound marketing”:

Early front runner Jeb Bush and the Super Pacs that support him spent a hundred million dollars on television advertising but generated just a tiny handful of delegates forcing him to drop out of the Republican primary race. Donald Trump spent almost nothing on ads, instead building a strategy on Inbound Marketing and Inbound Sales with a specific focus on real-time communications and newsjacking. The smartypants pundit class laughed when Trump entered the race but he out marketed the field to win the Republican Primary contest.

Too bad that is completely wrong.

First, Trump focused little on paying for advertising and instead chose to focus on getting free publicity. “Advertising” and “publicity” are two parts of the Promotion Mix, and each have their strategic uses and pros and cons. Both his huge rallies in the Midwest and elsewhere as well as his past and present antics got news coverage and publicity on TV. And that’s not “inbound marketing” — “publicity” as a specific, defined practice existed decades before the Internet. (As I wrote in TechCrunch, most marketers today know little about marketing.)

Second, as Ad Contrarian Bob Hoffman writes, the average person is far less likely than marketers to care about social media, and Trump’s victory had little to do with Twitter:

Here are the facts:

  • Only 20% of adults have a Twitter account.
  • Only 15% of rural adults (heavy Trump backers) use Twitter.
  • Only 11% of people over 50 (the most likely voters) use Twitter.

In fact, if Trump’s tweeting had a significant effect it was because of television’s obsessive coverage of his tweets. Take away newspaper and, especially, television coverage of his tweets and they would have been dust in the wind.

Think about it. Where did you see Trump’s tweets? On Twitter or on television?

Trump is a television creation. Do you think he’d be president if The Apprentice was a fucking webinar?

But don’t let the facts get in the way of an evangelist.

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