Opinion.7.steps.Donald.Trump.

Why Donald Trump Doesn’t Need to Spend Ad Dollars

The “main stream media” outlets are getting themselves in a bit of a knot these days. Pundits on CNN, Fox, MSNBC and other major TV channels are excitedly trying to determine whether the amount of money Donald Trump has spent on TV advertising is enough. To date, he’s spent $5 million compared to Hillary Clinton’s $70 million, so they claim.

This morning, Jeffrey Toobin announced on CNN that even though “you can spend money on Facebook and Twitter, but TV is still the main advertising vehicle to reach audiences.” (paraphrased slightly).

The big question in their minds is when will Donald Trump be spending more money in swing states. Those are the states that are up for grabs, not traditionally red or blue, Republican or Democrat. And the concern seems to be that unless he starts spending similarly to Clinton, he’s somehow not reaching his audiences with his message.

I beg to differ.

It’s not the amount of money you spend, it’s the visibility you get.

This is the one thing and probably the only thing he and I agree on.

Donald Trump simply doesn’t need to spend the same amount of money as Clinton. While they both have the about the same amount of name recognition, Donald has access to TV whenever and however he wants. He calls in impromptu to shows, morning noon and night. He holds Town Halls on Hannity. He’s done dozens of TV interviews. His rallies and “press conferences” are constantly covered by the media, in whole or in part. He sneezes and it’s covered in the press.

His name is a magnet for viewers and listeners, whether we agree with him or not, we’re drawn like fireflies to the flame, like rubber-neckers to the scene of an accident.

He knows he can get media attention in a thousand different ways. All he has to do is be himself and the media will cover him. He even plays with the notion of whether he’ll change – and that bit of intrigue has kept the media enthralled going for weeks. The one thing he’s consistent about is knowing how to get attention, and that really is what he does best.

Donald Trump’s 7 Steps to Media Manipulation

Ad dollars are a means to an end. Visibility is the goal, positive or negative. The message can always be massaged or “walked back” – in fact, that’s even better. The formula for maximum visibility without spending a cent is:

  1. Say or tweet something outrageous.
  2. Let the media frenzy happen.
  3. Have your surrogates extend the media cycle.
  4. Tease a walk-back, but not completely.
  5. Let the media analyze the walk-back.
  6. Have your surrogates extend the media cycle.
  7. Repeat. (see Step 1.)

Bonus: Repeat steps 4 through 6 for as long as possible to get maximum media leverage.

Donald Trump is the master of the media-frenzy-cycle and getting visibility. He’s done it with great success in the past and never had to spend a lot of money to do it, so why would he start now?