Everyone is trying to tap into the millennial audience, and our Teacher Recruitment campaign is no exception: in order to get young professionals to consider becoming teachers, we had to reach them where they were. That’s when we reached out to Microsoft for help on how to target millennials in an authentic way that could change their lives for the better. We spoke with Bob Bejan from Microsoft about how we effectively inspired people to consider teaching as a profession. We will be speaking with Bob at ad:tech San Francisco about this very campaign strategy, so don’t miss us next week!
This post is part of our series leading up to ad:tech San Francisco 2015, where we’ll host a workshop on reaching and engaging the next generation of teachers. Our friends at ad:tech are offering AdLibbing readers 20 percent off tickets with code 20ADCOUNSF15, and we hope to see you there!
Ad Council: For those who aren’t familiar with the how Microsoft worked with the Ad Council on our teacher recruitment campaign targeting millennials, can you explain what the approach was and why it was effective?
Bob Bejan: Microsoft’s part in this effort started in February 2014 in which we donated media inventory across our platforms such as, Xbox, Windows 8 and MSN so that these teacher recruitment ads reached an audience that would be inspired to “re-discover” teaching as a profession. The ad units were interactive and served as an extension of the Ad Council and TEACH’s public service advertising (PSA) campaign “Make More” which launched in November 2013. TEACH is a national campaign and online community that seeks to recruit one million new teachers over the next decade. We’re proud to be part of this effort along with State Farm and the U.S. Department of Education.
AC: For brands or causes trying to reach this audience, what kind of digital or mobile advertising should they AVOID? What doesn’t work?
BB: It’s not that any single platform works better or worse than another. The key is to use all the media platforms available but to do so contextually and to communicate in a way that’s authentic. The platforms have to complement one another in message delivery and interaction. Take retail, for example. If one of your high-value customers is in the store right now, you’re not going to reach them with a TV or radio commercial. In that instance, the mobile phone, where you can push deals to them via email or text on which they can activate immediately, is useful. Or a demonstration on in-store screens showing how your product is used could complement the mobile message you just sent. Storytelling is a 360-degree game. Different media must work in concert and complement each other in support of your business goal.
AC: We know millennials have grown up playing video games–how does Microsoft integrate gaming into its advertising units?
BB: Xbox was instrumental in this campaign. People could engage with TEACH through “NUads on Xbox,” using gestures, their voices or the controller on their Xbox 360 consoles. This interaction set the TEACH campaign PSAs rolling, and users were invited to answer questions such as, “What was the first thing you wanted to be when you grew up?” On Windows 8, users could answer a series of questions to help them “discover their true passion,” along with the opportunity to play challenging mind and word games. For example, the personality quiz could help consumers identify interests and encourage them to teach a particular subject. Games tested their logic and reasoning skills. They could also access the TEACH.org site to further explore aspects of the teaching profession. Here’s more on how the Windows 8 platform experience worked.
AC: What are you most excited about in the ad tech space right now and why?
BB: I’m most excited about how technology has empowered consumers and brands to tell multimedia stories that matter. The marketing ecosystem isn’t about campaigns that run for a few months until an agency creates a new campaign to replace it. It’s about creating an authentic dialogue and relationship with your customers where they are and how they can utilize what you have to offer. In some cases, they may add their own spin digitally to your brand story. There’s an old saying that your brand isn’t what you say it is. Your brand is what your customer says it is. That statement has never been truer than it is right now.
Bob Bejan is currently the Vice President North America, Advertising Sales and Marketing at the Microsoft Corporation. He is responsible for developing and executing against the sales and marketing strategy within the United States, driving ad revenue opportunities, leading the relationships with top agencies and clients, and building market share. Mr. Bejan is also the time zone leader for North America which includes responsibility for Advertising & Online Canada.