Voters have the power to change the political landscape, and demographic shifts in the electorate can have an impact on the predicted outcomes of election cycles.
During the 2020 election cycle, we saw shifts in the electorate reflected in the demographic makeup of voters with younger voters, Black voters and Hispanic voters going to the polls in larger numbers than before, according to Pew Research Center. And this is not a one-off trend, but a continuing change that will impact campaigns in 2022 and beyond.
Insights from post-election research conducted on behalf of the United States Postal Service following the 2020 presidential election and the 2021 Virginia gubernatorial election also highlight the variances in how different demographics interact with direct mail and other political advertising channels – and have the power to impact the outcome of elections.
As part of our analysis of the post-election research, we developed a Demographic Profile Landing Page that highlights demographic-specific insights for campaigns to reference and leverage in their messaging strategy. The most recent fact sheets to be added to the landing page are “Young Voters and Mail” and “Women and Men Voters.”
Below are some of the actionable insights from the fact sheets that campaigns should utilize to authentically target different demographics based on the unique ways each interacts with not only direct mail, but other political advertising channels as well:
- Reach voters with authenticity and personalization. Voters respond positively to targeted messaging in direct mail pieces when it is done authentically in a culturally relevant way. Direct mail is unique in its ability to precisely target demographics, making it an ideal channel for personalized messaging. This presents an opportunity for campaigns to reach across divides and make a personal connection that fosters relationships at multiple points of an election cycle.
The value of customized messaging and authentically targeting voters is often overlooked among some diverse demographics. For example, during the 2020 election, only 26% of Hispanic voters received mail in Spanish, yet 32% speak Spanish as their primary language. And those who did receive direct mail pieces in Spanish say they were more likely to read it than those who only received direct mail pieces in English.
Targeting demographics through personalized messaging can also successfully connect campaigns to more voters. Over 70% of Gen Z voters (18-24 years old) agree that it is important for them to receive direct mail that speaks to them personally about the issues and concerns they care about the most.
- Direct mail is memorable and trustworthy. Memorability and trust are two factors that prompt voters to resonate with a mail piece, and the trust voters have in direct mail can lay the groundwork for broader campaign messaging.
Almost two-thirds of Gen Z voters (18-24 years old) and Millennial voters (25-39 years old) agree direct mail is the most memorable form of political advertising, and that they trust the mail pieces they receive from campaigns more than digital political advertisements.
Black Americans also find information received by direct mail to be memorable, factual, and trustworthy – particularly when it is designed with nuance and authenticity. Almost two thirds of Black Americans agree that direct mail is the most memorable form of political advertising, compared to 50% of all Americans. Black Americans represent a significant share of the electorate in battleground states, and campaigns can leverage their trust in direct mail by addressing the policy issues they care about with memorable and authentic mail pieces.
- Digital integration resonates with voters. Digital integration options have become more commonly used and available in recent years – and part of the voter experience as well.
The key to resonating with young voters is to provide different access points for messaging so voters can choose how they want to engage with campaigns. Young voters are still the most comfortable interacting with QR codes with 41% of Gen Z voters (18-24 years old) and 34% of Millennial voters (25-39 years old) visiting a campaign website from QR codes or links found on a mail piece.
There has also been a significant increase in Gen Z voters (18-24 years old) using the Informed Delivery® feature to preview mail in their email inboxes, with recall rates soaring in 2021 (64%) compared to 2020 (46%). Similarly, men are more likely to leverage digital integration related to direct mail than women, with 33% using both QR codes and Informed Delivery, while only 22% of women using QR codes and 28% using Informed Delivery.
Campaigns can leverage this technology to provide additional targeted messaging with these demographics, including a call-to-action for campaign donations directed to their website.
For more information and insights on how different demographics interact with direct mail, visit DeliverTheWin.com/factsheets. To connect with a Direct Mail Consultant, visit DeliverTheWin.com/about-us.
Jim Richard is a 25 year postal employee with over 35 years of sales and marketing experience. Jim has been working with political campaigns for 12 years and currently serves as the USPS National Political Mail Strategist to leverage the power of political mail for winning elections. Jim also works within Sales Enablement to build campaigns, sales tools and collateral for leveraging mail’s multiple touchpoints in a Customer’s Purchase Journey.