Donald Trump Speaks at a 4th Grade Level and Many Signs Show It Works.
The results are in and most of the world is quite surprised at the Election results. All politics and political preferences aside, any reasonable person can’t deny the high level of loyal support Donald Trump experienced during this Presidential bid. And what is even more incredible is that as of mid-July the Clinton campaign outspent the Trump campaign $57 million to $4 millionA. A strong case could also be made that Trump’s news publicity (for good or for bad) outweighed Clinton’s 4 to 1, but that’s not the point.
Certainly there are no shortages of analysts who have shared their point of view on the Trump phenomenon but it seems clear that other than policy, more and more news outlets are reporting that one of the traits of Trump’s speaking and messages is clear, his level of speech is that of a 4th graderB.
When English analysts read through a Trump transcript they are dumbfounded at what is referred to as a “flattening of the English language” by relying heavily on generic terms such as “very, great, best or worst.” His top words areD: winning, stupid, weak, loser, we, they, moron, smart, tough, dangerous, bad, lightweight, amazing, huge, tremendous, terrific, classy.
“Run through a Flesch-Kincaid grade-level test, his text of responses score at the 4th grade reading level” while competitors like Clinton and Ted Cruz scored at a 9th grade level. And, while you might write that all off to a person with lesser intelligence, Newt Gingrich, past Speaker of the House, remarked about TrumpC: “This is not a guy who’s shallow or simple. He is a guy who knows an immense amount about marketing.” Gingrich explains that the simplicity of messages is how he breaks through the clutter and reaches a vast amount of the voting population.
What Does This Have to Do With Your Business
If you ran an analysis on your marketing messages to your customers or clients, what might the results be? Surely you would be proud of yourself in knowing that your message ranks in the high grade level category. But the question is; is that high level marketing message doing the best for you and your company? Would your sales be better served by a simple, plainer message that speaks to your audience on a 4th grade level.
Here are a few examples of company website headlines as they appeared and then the GMS dumbing down of the same message.
Accounting Service: Original
“A Strategic, structured approach to bucketing assets for today’s financial dangers and challenges”
“We Have a Plan to Product Your Money”
Carpet Cleaning: Original
“We Inspect Your Carpet and Custom Design a Treatment for Your Stains”
Amazing Results through Custom Cleaning
“Made with Tempered Steel and Hand Ground Edges”
Greatest Scissors Anywhere
As a business owner you could easily make the case that “my product/service is way too complicated to reduce my message to a 4th grade level.” Or, “My clients are all well-educated so they understand what I have to say.” In either case you may be right, but you may also be so in love with your product, service or company that you are ignoring the reality that few others outside are as in love with it as you are.
Love him or hate him, there is much to be learned by marketers from this year’s campaign cycle and simplifying your message to your customers is one such lesson.
A= NBCnews.com B=Politico.com C=The Free Republic D=YourDictionary.com