Digital_Strategy.pngMax Cron is the Creative Strategy Director at Online Optimism, a New Orleans-based digital marketing agency. His client work includes SEO and site optimization as well as social media.

UnboundID: Has technology changed everything for marketers, or are there still some “old school” tactics that resonate?

Cron: Today people sit and watch TV with their phones right next to them. Some brands will have a commercial that directs people to a social media page during that break, which can be really effective. At the same time, physical brands tend to overextend themselves on the Internet because they like the idea of digital marketing. A local supermarket doesn’t necessarily need to have a big push on social media. The newspaper ad is still valid for this industry. People still rip out coupons for the grocery store.

One mistake I see a lot is that companies don’t reach out into the community enough. They push too hard on sales. I am going to buy the brand that is most associated with who I am, not because I got a coupon. Apple did this very well because their content, which started on TV, was so engaging. People bought their products because of the strong brand they developed, which makes Apple a great marketing success story. I would rather see someone who is my age and looks like me, lives near me, wearing a brand. That would interest me a lot more than getting a buy one, get one free offer.

UnboundID: What are some myths about millenials, one of the most sought after and overanalyzed consumer groups today?

Cron: People say that we are all about “Me” and that we are shortsighted. In actuality, we are hyper-connected and we gather a lot more information than previous generations. We are open to experiences and people and are involved in giving back, not just taking selfies. The company Toms Shoes is a great example of how a Millennial brand can have a cool product but also give back. Another myth is that Millennials are lazy. In my experience we are hard-working people. The founders of some of the fastest-growing companies in the last 10 years, especially in the digital domain, were Millennials.

UnboundID: How can companies engage and influence Millennials on social media?

Cron: People with disposable income are more likely to be okay with advertising on social media than those who don’t have money to spend. After you have defined your demographic very well so that you know which networks to be on, come up with a brand story that is appropriate. For example in the automotive industry, a campaign to reach first-time car buyers will need to consider that this demographic is fairly uninformed about things like maintenance and what to look for when buying a car. So with that audience, you’ll need to focus on informational content, not promotional content.

Marketers are thinking more generally about how to be less in-your-face promotional with their content. A good example of this is the Instagram takeover, where an influencer in a field will post on the brand’s Instagram account for the day. This allows the brand to reach the influencer audience but they are not really pushing product. The content is more subtle and has a lifestyle approach compared with a typical promotion.

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