Understanding the Millennial generation and what makes us tick is the difference between a 2016 Presidential Candidate inspiring millions of the most vocal and passionate millennials to advocate for their campaign… Or succumbing to emojis, and doing things that provoke vote-dwindling memes and GIFS about their speeches (and sometimes, hair).
After studying, interacting with and befriending hundreds of the world’s smartest and most talented young people over the last few years through our firm, StartsWith Insights, which assists large organizations in efforts to better work with our generation, and researching our book, 2 Billion Under 20, here’s how any politician can win 2016’s millennial vote. The title to our book should underscore how many of us there are to be won over.
- Be transparent—we will find out if you’re not
Millennials are the savviest consumers in the marketplace—and that translates to voters. We’ve had more computing power in our pockets since middle school than NASA used to put man on the moon. Not only that, but we face more challenges than ever before, and are looking for leaders who will solve some of these problems, not ones who resort to soundbites and mudslinging but don’t actually accomplish anything. We know when you're not being authentic.
Stop wasting our microwave-like attentiveness exaggerating statistics you haven’t researched that will be fact-checked and called out by the media and public at large.
- Meet us where we live: online
With ad targeting platforms provided by Facebook, Twitter, Google, Linkedin and other similar networks, there’s no excuse for a lack of online presence in those places. In fact, your campaign may be wasting precious donated dollars on less-than-effective promotional outlets (flyers...please don’t do it!).
Why aren’t any of you making rounds with popular YouTubers or Vine stars, or speaking on popular podcasts, all of which capture the eyes and ears of fanatic millennials across the country? Those are free and underutilized marketing outlets in the world of politics, and businesses have already warmed up to these conversation channels. Get with the times!
- Bring millennials into your campaign at the highest levels
Any 2016 presidential candidate who is really serious about improving their relationship with our generation should bring millennials into their organization’s decision-making hierarchy at the highest level.
Put together a millennial advisory board: Source six to eight diverse, thought-leading, and connected millennials to share with you and your campaign team how to better work with millennials. They will teach you more about marketing to millennials, recruiting high-performing young volunteers, and engaging our generation’s voice than any other group of people you can hire or reference.
So what’s the bottom line?
Do this successfully and you’ll create an army of highly social advocates for your platform, who will push their peers to vote while also influencing older generations with their actions.
Neglect millennials, or offer values that go against those of this voting generation, and expect the same passion and connectedness to work against your campaign and ultimately convince voters from all generations to leave your side. Happy campaigning!
Jared Kleinert and Stacey Ferreira are co-authors of 2 Billion Under 20: How Millennials Are Breaking Down Age Barriers and Changing the World, as well as co-founders of StartsWith Insights, a consulting firm helping large companies better work with the Millennial generation.