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Polling, changing perception and reality

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As the US presidential race heats up, it's good to look back at some learnings from the past. Hillary Clinton was running ahead in the polls of Trump of a divided nation in a country that has been traditionally split 50:50 democrats and republicans.


The media jumped on the opinion poll information and predicted a Clinton win. At this stage, even Trump doubted that he could pull back the gap. Given the reports of a Clinton win democrat and republican voters were asked their opinion not on who they would be voting for but who they thought would actually win.



The perception of both groups was surprisingly similar. Both parties were aligned with what they knew from the polling data reported to them, that Hillary would win. The result never seemed in doubt.


At this point in the campaigning new information was leaked about Hillary and use of private emails which ended up being investigated by the FBI. The story fuelled a mass push of propaganda from the Trump campaign and later it was confirmed from Russian sources. The more sophisticated social psychographic micro-targeting of the republicans teams powered by the Cambridge Analytica team meant that the 'Crooked Hillary' messages reached and resonated with key persuadable voters in swing states. Profiling and tailoring the communication based upon target audience personality significantly increases the effectiveness.


This tipped the balance in the polls. Core people were being persuaded to not choose Hillary, something that was starting to be reflected in the media coverage. Given this new information, something interesting happened to the belief of voters. When asked the question whom they thought would win we saw interesting changes of perception.



The new information aligned to and confirmed what republicans voters wanted to hear. As a result, the change of belief was dramatic. In contrast, new data to democrat voters conflicted with their beliefs and desires. As a result, they clung onto hope in their predictions. The small belief shift still made these Hillary voters adamant that she would win making the eventual loss significantly more unforeseen and difficult to adjust to.


Leaping ahead to 2020, Trump is behind in the polls. Leaked information has been pushed about Biden but later in the campaign at a point when a large proportion of people have voted already.


The key takeaway is that reality, hope, belief and perception are key to understanding the behaviours of people. Presenting information that aligns or conflicts with a person's values and belief can have very different reactions. A deep understanding of a persona, what makes them tick, what drives them, what stops them, what they believe, feel and do are vital to creating the right engagement and predicting how they will react.


Depending on a customer psychographic profile, we react differently to a message. Our personality drives our behaviours. This moves beyond a normal persona and being able to apply this, to know how to target and engage your audience segments, will increase resonance and impact.


This approach may seem too great of a leap forward to take for most marketing teams, but there a number of small behavioural science steps you can take and out of the box solution you can take to start making your marketing more effective.


Message me if you would like to know more.

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