Is High Content Engagement Worth the Price?

The reaction to my last blog post caught me completely off-guard. As a marketer, I am far from perfect — and like nearly all of my readers, have an opinion or two on most every topic. But I was unprepared for the wrath that some readers heaped on me and my blog last month.

KellyAnne ConwayThe reaction to my last blog post caught me completely off-guard.

As a marketer, I am far from perfect — and like nearly all of my readers, have an opinion or two on most every topic. But I was unprepared for the wrath that some readers heaped on me and my blog last month.

I admit the headline was created as a humorous attempt to compel clicks. And I set the stage for my story with a link to a video that was inadvertently omitted from my post … and that video was a basis for the point I was making.

It probably didn’t help that an editor added their own “commentary” at the beginning of my post, which probably added to the controversial reaction. But all that said, my blog was about the horrible customer service I had received at Samsung … and since customer service is the No. 1 focus for marketers this year, I wanted to share a “what-not-to-do” case study.

For the record, I am not employed by Target Marketing. I am an unpaid guest blogger. So for those of you who demanded I be fired, you’re out of luck.

To be fair, I don’t believe I was on a political soap box … and it was not my intention to make the post political. My assignment, as a blogger, is to share my experiences (good and bad), my 30-plus years of marketing knowledge, and my marketing insights. While some of the comments stung, I am respectful of the opinions of my readers. What felt disingenuous were the attacks by anonymous “bloggeratti.”

The bottom line is, I enjoy the discourse. While we may not always agree, I always enjoy an honest and forthright discussion on marketing challenges, successes and failures.

That said, the engagement level last month was higher than usual — but was it worth it? I’ll get back to you … I’m still licking my wounds.

The KellyAnne Conway School of Customer Service

It’s just a few weeks into a new year and unless you’ve been living in a cave, you’ve been exposed to interviews with White House Counselor KellyAnne Conway. She has masterfully demonstrated how to dodge questions, provide “alternate facts” and generally frustrate the media in their efforts to get to the truth. In a recent interaction with Samsung, I’m convinced that the customer service agent received training from KellyAnne, as I’ve never experienced such a roundabout set of back-and-forth email communications from any major brand — ever!

KellyAnne Conway[Editor’s note: Update — Today, White House officials told CNNMoney that Kellyanne Conway has been sidelined from TV appearances because her comments last week about former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn contradicted those of the White House. On Fox News, she denied being sidelined.]

It’s just a few weeks into a new year and unless you’ve been living in a cave, you’ve been exposed to interviews with White House Counselor KellyAnne Conway. She has masterfully demonstrated how to dodge questions, provide “alternate facts” and generally frustrate the media in their efforts to get to the truth.

In a recent interaction with Samsung, I’m convinced that the customer service agent received training from KellyAnne, as I’ve never experienced such a roundabout set of back-and-forth email communications from any major brand — ever!

Let me start with a little background: I don’t know about you, but I am not happy when it comes time to replace my mobile phone. Just as I get all my settings to work the way I want, and can flick screens, open apps and manipulate my device with minimal effort, the device inevitably starts to fail. First, it started shutting itself down when my power level fell below 50 percent, then it would freeze at the most inopportune moments, and finally, when it refused to hold any charge at all, I cried “Uncle!”

Okay, all you iPhone owners can start snickering now … because I own a Samsung Galaxy (and no, not the kind that self-ignites), and have done so since my Blackberry became a dangerously obsolete option (I still miss that qwerty keyboard!)

I braced myself for that ugly visit to the AT&T store. The one where no one seems to know how to import my contacts, or set up my email; true in keeping with my past experience, I was in the store for a full two hours and left with my old phone, a new phone and a promise to return in 24-hours after I had figured out how to set up my Exchange Server email myself. But that’s a story for another day.

The fun really started after I was upsold a Samsung tablet for $0.99 in the AT&T store. That probably should have been my first clue …

About 24-hours after my purchase, I received an email from Samsung congratulating me on my Tablet purchase and offering me 30 percent off on a tablet cover. Since I planned to carry my Tablet in my bag as a notepad, I figured a cover was a wise purchase decision. I copied the promotional code, and clicked the link.

The landing page presented me with a number of colorful Tablet cover options. I carefully looked at each one, compared the colors, the way they opened/closed, made my purchase selection, pasted the promotional code and checked out.

But when the Tablet cover arrived 10-days later, it was too big for my Tablet!

I immediately went to the Samsung customer service link and advised them of my plight. The customer service agent, Brian, started the conversation just like KellyAnne had taught him. Repeat the key word used in the question, but take your answer in another direction.

Even though I had clearly laid out the details of my transaction, Brian advised me that if my tablet type and the tablet cover purchased “matched” I would be offered a full refund. Since this was my first clue that there was a “tablet type” we all know where this is going … clearly they were not going to match because the cover didn’t fit!

After a very convoluted set of email exchanges, it turns out there are multiple tablet types, and even though Samsung knew what type of tablet I had purchased (it’s all about BIG data!), it never occurred to Samsung marketing people to send me to a landing page that presented tablet covers that would actually fit the device I had purchased. Instead, knowing I might own multiple tablets and want to purchase one for every tablet I owned, they presented me with all their tablet cover options. Never once did they point out “make sure you select a tablet cover that fits YOUR particular tablet type” or “Hey you idiot, there are multiple tablet types. Check your receipt to learn which tablet type you purchased and match it to the tablet cover.”

Call me dumb, but I honestly thought marketing would have linked their email to a landing page with covers that fit my device, and then offered a link to additional covers in case I owned additional devices. Now that would have made for a smooth customer journey.

Brian was not very helpful either. He ignored any facts relating to the email conversation I presented, he was dismissive of any data exchanges between AT&T and Samsung, and his reality was that I made a purchase error … and it was all my problem. Golly gee, KellyAnne trained you very well!

Now I can’t decide if I should pay to return the cover and get a new one, or simply sell the cover on e-Bay or sell the cover and the Tablet and call it a day. If you’re interested in any of these options, email me and I’m sure we can cut a deal that doesn’t involve Russia.

We Accidentally (on Purpose) Sent You …

American Express (Amex) is a premium brand I’ve long admired. When they issued their first paper credit card in 1959, its annual fee was $6 — $1 higher than Diners Club (the industry leader), carefully positioning Amex as a premium product.

American Express LogoAmerican Express (Amex) is a premium brand I’ve long admired. When they issued their first paper credit card in 1959, its annual fee was $6 — $1 higher than Diners Club (the industry leader), carefully positioning itself as a premium product.

In 1980, I became a proud Amex cardholder and when they started co-branding with Delta Airlines, I quickly converted my card, collecting enough mileage points over the years to travel first class, with my entire family, to several different continents.

In early December, I called Amex to dispute a charge on my card (I should note that every phone interaction with Amex has been superior). As the call was wrapping up, the customer service rep inquired about another Amex card I carried but rarely used, and suggested that I might be more interested in a new and different product. The sales spiel included a notation that I’d get double miles for certain purchases. Now that I have kids in college with travel requirements, that was music to my ears. Sign me up!

The rep was quite clear that there was no annual fee with this new card, so I was surprised when a $95 charge appeared on my next statement. I added a call into Amex to my “to do” list, and promptly forgot about it the next day.

Yesterday, however, I received a letter from Amex apologizing for sending me the wrong card. They noted that they had already credited my account for the first year’s fee, but if I wanted to switch to the card originally promised, all I needed to do was contact them.

Of course, now I wanted to know the difference between the card I got and the card I was supposed to get, so I Googled it. And discovered that the card they sent me was even superior in mileage point collection. Instead of two-times the miles, in some instances I was getting three to four-and-a-half-times. Sorry Amex, but you won’t be able to rip this card from my fingers!

With all the automation of systems, call centers, fulfillment centers, etc. encompassing Amex operations, I started to think, “How could Amex make a mistake like this?” And, upon further reflection, perhaps it wasn’t an error, but a deliberate marketing strategy.

Sell the consumer a fee-free card, ship the wrong card, notify the consumer of the error after the fact, waive the fee and, upon feeling the benefits of those extra points building in the account, convert non-payers to payers. Is this a brilliant bait and switch move?

Thanks for the new card, Amex. And thanks for your (supposed) mistake. You’ll be enjoying my $95 next year, but in the meantime, I’ll be booking myself another (free) flight.

Omnichannel Integration at Sundance Falls Short

Being new to Park City, we had no idea how to get around, find the different theaters, get access to the freebies or rub elbows with the stars, but the team at Sundance had many of these challenges covered. That’s the good news. The bad news is there were a lot of knowledge gaps among the various Sundance volunteers, disconnects between their printed materials, Twitter feeds and their custom app, and a general feeling that we were walking up and down streets missing out on opportunities to have fun.

sundanceI’ve been spending the week in Park City, Utah — skiing and attending the Sundance Film Festival. Yes, I know, it’s been a tough gig, but as a vacation, it ranks right up there with diving in Belize and hiking to the remote city of Lo Manthang, Nepal.

Being new to Park City, we had no idea how to get around, find the different theaters, get access to the freebies or rub elbows with the stars, but the team at Sundance had many of these challenges covered. That’s the good news. The bad news is there were a lot of knowledge gaps among the various Sundance volunteers, disconnects between their printed materials, Twitter feeds and their custom app, and a general feeling that we were walking up and down streets missing out on opportunities to have fun.

We had been advised not to rent a vehicle, and that was excellent advice. The traffic was crazy and parking was not only at a minimum, but seemed to cost upwards of $40 a day. There is a free bus system in Park City that should be adopted by cities around the globe. It not only encourages riders to keep vehicles off the streets, but was set to stop on a schedule of “X” past the hour and half hour (posted on each bus stop sign), which was easy to understand. Bus drivers knew the answers to a myriad of questions and kept their cool despite a packed house.

Planning an outing was a bit more frustrating. The printed guide to the Film Festival often referred to their Twitter handle or app for current updates on music performances, free VR screenings and live events. Yet, the Twitter feed was often handled by a guest tweeter who provided very little information on anything other than their personal experience. To get a list of live music one night, we resorted to walking the main drag and asking people in line who they were going to see.

Finding some of the sponsors’ venues proved even more difficult. There was a Stella Artois tent that we never found, despite asking dozens of Sundance volunteers who all looked at us blankly. We eventually found the Canada Goose tent, but with 5 minutes to closing, we had little time to enjoy our beverage and enter the contest for a free Canada Goose down jacket (which I really, really wanted to win).

There was a Chase Sapphire Center with lots of free and fun stuff going on, and had we known well in advance that it existed and was open to cardholders, I and my five traveling companions agreed we would have all applied for and used a Chase Sapphire card. Talk about a missed marketing opportunity!

I asked my non-marketing friends how they thought Chase might have found them prior to our arrival, in order to market to them. There was a general agreement that since we had purchased Sundance tickets several months ago, Sundance should have shared our contact information with Chase, Stella and any other sponsor to enable them to promote and push the benefits of engaging with their brand in Park City. I asked our vacation organizer if she had received an email or e-newsletter in advance about some of the event opportunities with sponsors, she said if she did, she totally ignored or deleted it, but didn’t even remember if she received anything. However, she said if the subject line had been something like “Enjoy These Freebies at Sundance” she would have definitely opened and clicked.

The skiing experience at Park City has been phenomenal … even with 5”11” a day of fresh powder (yes!). But the best part was the trail map that was attached to the chairlift bar on each lift. Some enterprising organization figured out how to attach a 5” x 30” trail map to the bar and sell ad space on it. Volkswagen had purchased the space and was promoting their All-Track 4Wheel Drive — a smart choice given the streets were constantly covered in snow.

All-in-all, the week was a successful one having skied multiple days, attended multiple film screenings, rubbed elbows with Kevin Bacon (I’m now one degree of separation!) and Chelsea Handler, and danced with Michael Franti and Spearhead. If only we had easy access to more sponsor event information, we would have actually packed in a little more … and shown some brand loyalty.

You Are NOT the Market

All great marketing is informed by market research. Whether it’s planning a campaign to reach new prospects or designing an email to your customers, there’s plenty of current data to help you make smart strategic decisions. Using your own bias as a decision tool will not work in your favor.

Data DrivenToo many marketers are failing at marketing. Why? Because you are NOT your consumer.

Your media habits are not their media habits. Your product or brand likes and dislikes are not their product or brand likes and dislikes. Your decision-making process is not their decision-making process. As a result, marketers are their own worst enemy.

All great marketing is informed by market research. Whether it’s planning a campaign to reach new prospects or designing an email to your customers, there’s plenty of current data to help you make smart strategic decisions. Using your own bias as a decision tool will not work in your favor.

For example, in a client meeting this week, the discussion turned to the implementation aspect of a promotion that was going to require the target audience to make a nominal purchase on their website. As we talked through some of the logistics issues, one of the clients remarked, “Nobody works at a desktop anymore, everybody will access it via their mobile device.”

Sorry my friend, but you’re wrong. While it’s true that in 2015, the number of mobile users surpassed the number of desktop devices, there are still plenty of people working on a desktop, and, the research proved that on his website, 52.8 percent accessed it via their desktop.

This week I’ve been participating as a judge for Collegiate ECHO Marketing Challenge. As part of the directions for scoring is this statement: “…Market Research will be of paramount importance, comprising 50 percent of the score. Market Research conclusions lead to a cohesive Marketing Strategy, which in turn leads to a Creative Strategy, Media Plan… “

This is good news! The next generation of marketers is being held accountable for marketing recommendations that are based on insights gleaned from both primary and secondary research — but many current marketers have let this important fact fall by the wayside.

Perhaps that’s why we still see creative that is all black with tiny, reverse type. Or why I whizz by an outdoor board that has more type than I have time to read. Or why campaigns, that have been multi-million dollar investments, fail.

Can we all agree to this 2017 resolution? Assume you know nothing about your market unless it’s based on factual insights about your target, and then develop your marketing strategies, media selection and creative solutions using insight and best practices — and leave your personal skew off the table.

The 7 Things I Wish All Marketers Would Change

As 2016 winds down, let’s all make a vow — whether you use this list or make your own, let’s just agree that we all need to set our standards higher and aim to be smarter in every aspect of our marketing efforts. To get your creative juices started, here’s my list of things I am committed to change in 2017.

As 2016 winds down, let’s all make a vow — whether you use this list or make your own, let’s just agree that we all need to set our standards higher and aim to be smarter in every aspect of our marketing efforts. To get your creative juices started, here’s my list of things I am committed to change in 2017.

1. Stop using overused words, phrases and symbols

This years’ list includes: alignment, synergistic, net-net, personalized, narrative, #, and “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.” Oh, and try to avoid made-up words like “braggadocious.”

2. Stop adding me to your email list without my knowledge

I spend a lot of down time over the holidays unsubscribing to newsletters, alerts, sales notices and emails that I never read before hitting the “delete” button. And, if asked why I am unsubscribing, I tell them — and yes, it’s probably because I have no idea how I got on the list in the first place.

3. Stop linking Tweets to gated content

This is a particular pet peeve of mine. Clearly you’ve written an enticing 140 character intro to a topic of interest, but if it links to gated content and I’m not a member (and membership is not free), the likelihood of my joining just to access it is extremely low. Instead, it only serves to annoy me.

4. Stop sending me money-off messages after I’ve made a large purchase

Like many, I like to shop online and often a new catalog prompts me to use a new e-tailer. But after spending big bucks, don’t send me a “welcome to the family — take 20 percent off on your next purchase.” That just makes me regret my initial purchase, consider returning my items and then using the coupon to buy again at a lower price. Instead, why not offer me a “credit rebate” based on my initial purchase amount? I’ll gladly browse again knowing I have a few bucks in the bank to spend on your site.

5. Stop selling me after I call to complain

When I call a company with an issue or complaint, I simply want to be treated with respect, concern and understanding. Once the issue is resolved, I don’t want a sales pitch for another product.

6. Stop sending me cold prospecting emails asking for a meeting

The passive aggressive tone of your email (“I’m following up on my earlier request… didn’t you get it?”) is the lazy man’s way of setting sales meetings. Oh, and you must have all gone to the same sales training class, because I get at least five a week with the exact same copy, just <<insert company name/product name here>>.

7. Stop believing that social media is the marketing holy grail

Enough said.

With 140 Characters Comes Great Responsibility

With the introduction of social media came the birth of many new marketing channels, which businesses have fallen over each other trying to leverage and master. But, are they doing so effectively and responsibly?

Social media light bulbHistorically, when a business person speaks “off the cuff,” his or her PR staff quickly steps in to minimize any fall-out. Today, Twitter is the new “off the cuff” megaphone — but in most businesses, tweets are carefully controlled; crafted by someone in PR or marketing and often passed by legal. Despite that structure, there are plenty of instances of irresponsible business messaging (for example, Home Depot’s racist photo) and their typically instant consequences — like the loss of a job.

The world has already been exposed to President-elect Trump’s unfiltered “off-the-cuff” tweets, and his most recent slam of Boeing had an immediate impact on Boeing’s stock price — which leads me to my point.

With the introduction of social media came the birth of many new marketing channels, which businesses have fallen over each other trying to leverage and master. But, are they doing so effectively and responsibly?

Our agency posts daily tweets on behalf of several of our B-to-B clients. To keep them on topic and relevant to their brand and their followers, we are very thoughtful and selective about what we tweet and retweet under their brand name. But this does not seem to be the norm.

When looking at the tweets of those they follow, there are thousands of messages unrelated to the business at hand. During this divisive election year, there were plenty of tweets about one candidate or the other — a topic I would recommend any business shy away from unless they are looking to alienate part of their customer base. Sometimes, they share a cartoon or other form of humor; one business posts the latest stats on the chances of winning the lottery.

Are these important, responsible and relevant posts? Do they help their stakeholders feel more engaged with their brand? Or are they merely checking the box that they’ve tweeted each day?

As our email inboxes continue to fill with unwanted email solicitations, and our personal Facebook pages become overrun with commentary from our friends or family that require us to scroll by and eventually unfriend, I’d like to suggest that any business using Twitter — as a channel to promote and build relationships with their fans and future brand evangelists — should use a filter before they hit the “Tweet” button.

Tweeting is not about volume. It’s about maintaining a dialogue with your followers on relevant topics of mutual interest that serve to enhance your brand. And without applying any sort of personal filter on your efforts, there will be consequences. Just ask the guy who used to work for Home Depot.

Does Blogging Help Build Your Brand?

There is one thing in common about my Target Marketing blog posts. They take an incredible amount of time to conceive and write, but do they provide any value? Do they help improve my personal brand?

I post a Target Marketing blog every 2 weeks — and have done so since April 2012 with fairly steady regularity. That’s over 100 posts on topics that range from educational in nature to commentary on my personal brand interaction experiences to industry news. However, there is one thing in common about my posts. They take an incredible amount of time to conceive and write, but do they provide any value? Do they help improve my personal brand?

Every week I rack my brain to come up with a topic that I think will interest my followers. And, if reader comments are any gauge of my success, the most provocative ones get the most engagement … but not always in a positive way.

As a source of news and information about the business of direct marketing, Target Marketing has long been a trusted source of trustworthy industry intelligence. By associating my brand with the organization, then by extension, it should legitimize my own brand. And, over the years, I can truthfully say that it has helped position me as an industry expert.

While I was always on the speaking circuit, associating myself with Target Marketing has given me additional opportunities to participate in industry webinars, conferences and other venues. And, it certainly looks good on my profile!

But, in speaking with several different clients, I have met those who have found their blog to be a less-than-satisfactory marketing channel. And in every instance, it was because their commentary was so self-serving, that instead of turning them into an industry expert, it became one more way to promote a product or service.

No one wants to read a sales pitch. Period.

Blogs are a way of demonstrating expertise, providing commentary on an industry topic of interest, or educating prospects or customers. They, by definition, create an environment for engagement and debate.

As you begin to wrap up the year and plan for your marketing efforts in 2017, take a critical look at your organizations blogging efforts. Look at the number of reader engagements and the feedback that’s been given. If it seems that no one is engaging, liking, responding or participating, perhaps it’s time to reevaluate.

Customer Service Can Make or Break a Brand

I’ll admit it. My fuze is a little short when it comes to dealing with customer service reps. Of course, the only time I email, instant message (IM) or call one is when there’s an issue. But from what I’ve observed recently, every company could be investing in additional training if they hope to retain customers after a service interaction.

The Secret to Creating Deep, Meaningful, and Profitable Customer EngagementI’ll admit it. My fuze is a little short when it comes to dealing with customer service reps. Of course, the only time I email, instant message (IM) or call one is when there’s an issue. But from what I’ve observed recently, every company could be investing in additional training if they hope to retain customers after a service interaction.

The first incident started with an IM chat with a rep at Clear — that’s the service that lets you whisk past the hordes of travelers in the airport, queued up like sheep, waiting to go through security. My husband and I joined, in the airport, one busy Saturday when the line snaked for nearly a mile through the terminal. The rep who helped us was knowledgeable, fast and took care of our enrollment before we had time to change our minds.

A few months later we were about to fly one of our kids to college and realized he needed a Clear pass too. Since I had recently received an email inviting me to add a member for a discounted price, I logged into the website, went through the enrollment process but couldn’t find any place to enter the promo code. So I took advantage of the IM window to start a chat with an online rep.

Despite laying out exactly what I needed help with, the response was robotic about general pricing, and didn’t answer my issue at all. So I typed “It’s clear I’m communicating with a robot. Did you actually read my email?” The snarky reply clearly told me I had crossed the line. “I am not a robot and yes, I read the message you entered. Did you read mine?”

Whoa. Getting a little testy there, Tanyia (if that is your real name).

While I finally got that issue resolved, my next recent customer service encounter was with Travelocity. This is a travel site to which I’ve demonstrated my long term loyalty since its inception. I booked an airline ticket to go skiing in January. Within an hour, I realized I had booked it on the wrong days, so I called the 800-number and a pleasant CSR cancelled the entire transaction within a few minutes. I rebooked and, over the weekend, discovered that friends were flying on a different airline from a different airport. So I called to cancel again — only this time, the rep (who sounded young and new to the job), told me he could refund my money — all except an $8 Travelocity fee. When I inquired what the fee was for, he told me it was for an online booking.

It seems that if I had booked by calling the 800-number, I would not be charged a fee! I explained how ridiculous it was for a digital travel company to book tickets for free via phone, but charge for an online transaction and he agreed. But, it was $8, so I let it go. But my rep did not.

He called me back about 5 minutes later and said he had spoken to his superiors and was going to refund the $8 fee PLUS, credit my account for $25 for the hassle — now that’s customer service!

Perhaps they looked up my purchase history and saw that I was a long time, profitable customer. Perhaps they realized that charging $8 for an online booking was a glitch in the system. Either way, I will continue to use, and evangelize Travelocity.

A lot of customer service satisfaction comes from using plain, old fashioned common sense. And that’s not something you can teach … unfortunately. Oh, and one more thing — don’t send me a survey to gauge my level of satisfaction with the interaction. You advise that the call is being recorded, so why not listen to the call and judge for yourself? That survey email only annoys me further.

Is the Entire Trump Campaign Just a Revenue-Generating Marketing Ploy?

You can say a lot of negative things about Donald J. Trump, but he can never be accused of not being a business opportunist. As this election cycle painfully swirls to a close, Trump has cleverly set himself up for his next income stream, whether he’s in the White House or not.

Donald TrumpYou can say a lot of negative things about Donald J. Trump, but he can never be accused of not being a business opportunist. As this election cycle painfully swirls to a close, Trump has cleverly set himself up for his next income stream, whether he’s in the White House or not.

Take a step back for just a moment and consider this: You’re sitting in a strategic planning meeting with a brand whose popularity is on the decline. Revenues have been slowly sinking, consumers have been losing interest in your products and services, and the brand is considered old-fashioned or stale. As a marketer, what do you suggest?

Revamp the brand with fresh new messaging and content? Create new brand extensions that might appeal to a new audience? Abandon products or services that are no longer making a positive contribution to the business? Generate brand buzz with timely and relevant offers? Cement brand loyalty by listening to your loyalists, and then tapping into their hearts and minds by giving them what they’re asking for? Yes, yes, yes, yes and yes!

Now consider this:

In the late 1980’s, Trump toyed with a presidential run while he struggled with the financial debt of his purchase of the Taj Mahal casino and the bankruptcy of the Trump Plaza Hotel.

In 2000, Trump announced his candidacy as a Reform Party candidate. He was in financial struggles again after:

  • “Trump: The Game” had been discontinued
  • Trump Airlines had failed to turn a profit
  • Bought, sold, bought and sold the New Jersey Generals
  • Trump Hotels and Casinos Resort filed for bankruptcy – twice
  • Trump Mortgage fails

In March 2009, Trump joins Twitter but doesn’t tweet anything significant for 2-years.

In January 2011, Trump tweets a link to his fan-made website shouldtrumprun.com – and leverages feedback to craft his new brand message.

In March 2011, Trump is a leading presidential contender.

In May 2011, Trump announces he will not run. During the remaining months of 2011:

  • Trump Vodka fails
  • Trump Steaks fails
  • Trump Ice fails
  • Trump University fails