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Q&A: Catherine Salazar, Managing Partner, Practice Lead MEC, on Targeting Millennials

August 27, 2014 | By Danielle Block, Director, Agency & Advertiser Relations - DCN
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Q: How are you shaping advertising messages to get and hold attention of Millennials?Catherine Salazaar Headshot

A: We’re taking a two-fold approach of using insights and media execution to shape the messages that will ideally get a hold of Millennials.

By partnering with our clients and creative partners we’ve been able to craft the right media mix from insights gathered in the pre-planning phases.

Secondly, in our media execution we’ve started “storytelling,” essentially using video sequencing.  We have an arsenal of assets and short-form content that the creative agency has provided in the voice of Millennials, and the goal is to go back to our former days of storyboarding where we take Millennials on a journey.  The journey begins with content that is subtle and leads with a mix of spots and short form content to strike the right balance of how we want consumers to experience the brand and campaign.

Q: How are you leveraging social media to communicate with Millennials and to provide CRM?

A:  CRM is no longer about sending a customer emails to keep them engaged with the brand.  Millennial CRM is about delivering engagement and giving them what they want, when they want it.  The most relevant way for brands to do this is through platforms like Tumblr, Instagram and Twitter in visually compelling ways to carry a conversation in short or long form where preference is up to the user and not the brand.  Moreover, we are using social media to be transparent.  For a campaign like AT&T’s “It Can Wait,” we recognized the need to move away from scare tactics for this audience, and instead focused on engaging in authentic and honest dialogue on Tumblr. This enabled the brand to connect with Milliennials on an emotional level and makethem feel good about their decision not to text and drive.

For Millenials, a key aspect is trust. We are building trust by delivering programs like AT&T’s @SummerBreak which was a first of its kind entertainment experience; a mobile optimized, real-time, interactive reality show, connecting viewers to the teenage cast members across various social platforms.  We supported this program via paid platforms and it spoke to the insight that non-linear content was becoming a key component of the media behavior of the target and that mobile was the primary platform for digital media usage.

Q: What is the number one takeaway to keep in mind when targeting Millennials?

A:  Millennials are consuming media in all shapes and forms, but mobile and tablets have drastically changed the way they consume media.  In the 80s and 90s the Gen X’ers had posters of their favorite brands on their walls, in 2014 the question becomes, how does a brand become that digital poster to a Millennial?


Catherine Salazar is Managing Partner and Digital Practice Lead at MEC on the AT&T business. With over 14 years of marketing, advertising, management and leadership experience, Catherine is currently focused on all digital media investment across display, video, mobile, search and social for AT&T’s General Market, Youth, International, Multicultural, LGBT and Sponsorship efforts.

Prior to MEC, Catherine worked and helped launch Microsoft’s Search platform in the U.S. and Canada. Catherine also worked in the display advertising space with Focint.com, Agency.com and JPMorgan Chase Credit Cards from 1999 through 2004 providing media strategy for Bookspan, British Airways, Brown & Co. and Chase Credit Cards. Catherine is a graduate of New York University.

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