While doing research for a presentation I am making next week on selling to Millennials I came across an interesting statistic …
Only 51% of eligible Millennial voters voted in the 2016 presidential election compared to 63% for Generation X, 69% for Boomers, and 70% of everyone older.
Of course, the young adult vote has always been hard to come by, but even by comparison, Millennials are behind the other generations at this stage of their development. When Gen X was this age, they were voting at 57%. When Boomers were at this age, they were voting at 60%.
Some of my other research has led me to a possible conclusion why they vote at such low numbers and it can be summed up in one word—Lies.
Millennials were born into the world of hype. They grew up with marketers lying to them. Their BS Meter is more fully attuned to what they read, see, hear, than any other generation before them. They don’t like being lied to. They don’t like being misled. They can spot the BS faster than the FBI. They’ll forsake you at the first hint of falsehood.
They don’t like politicians in general because of how they constantly twist and mangle the truth.
I believe this is what keeps them away from the polls. If you were to give them a “None of the Above” box to check, not only would more of them would vote, but our candidates would become a lot better.
(Note: I have yet to prove this theory. If you know anyone who already has, let me know.)
As for an election, appealing to the young adult voters is not always the best strategy because they typically are the smallest voting block.
As a retailer, however, this group is the current customers of today and the bulk of your customers tomorrow. How well you reach them now could go a long way toward how well you are doing in the future.
The recipe is simple. Avoid the lies. Avoid the hype. Avoid the misleading statements, half-truths, and generalizations. Be honest, especially about the downside of the product. This group of consumers is savvy. If they don’t figure out the misdirection on their own, their online community will spell it out clear as day.
It might not win you an election, but it will win you a whole lot of long-term customers.
I’ll tell you more of what I’ve learned after next week’s presentation.
PS Although many generalizations are being made about Millennials, (including the one I made in this blog), I caution you to avoid the stereotypes, especially the negative ones about Millennials being lazy, self-absorbed, and entitled snowflakes. You’ll find an ample supply of those people in every generational group, and plenty of amazing kick-ass-motivated, hard-working Millennials making a difference in this world.