The consumer journey has been permanently changed by the blending of work and personal lives, yet many brands risk being caught on digital marketing autopilot. We explore the rise of the Workday Consumer and how advertisers can meet them where they are.
For many people, the Monday to Friday routine was firmly established. Head off from home in the morning, stop to grab a quick coffee, and then walk into the office to start the day’s work.
At the end of the working day it was time to go home, to a personal life. On weekends, people did chores and went shopping. Advertisers could count on this as the status quo – until the pandemic hit.
Walk through of findings
Evidence is mounting that this office routine will never be fully restored. Just 10% of Londoners plan to return to the office full-time, compared with 73% who say that working from home at least one day a week will be a permanent feature of working life, according to new research from King’s College London.
And this shift has consequences in terms of consumer behavior. As hybrid working became the norm, personal and work tasks blurred and this triggered a fundamental, and now permanent, change in how we spend time online – and created the Workday Consumer.
The Workday Consumer switches between employee, personal, and consumer modes throughout the day, with 59% considering their work and personal tasks to be of equal importance during their work time, according to new research by Forrester Consulting, commissioned by Microsoft Advertising.
Where is all this taking place? Mostly on people’s PCs – 63% of consumers now spend more time on their work PC than they did before the pandemic, and 56% use work devices and applications for personal tasks.
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Blurring the boundaries between work and life
Two years since the pandemic began these behaviors are now ingrained and the Workday Consumer mindset is the result. Many of us now prefer to receive services online and order deliveries to our front door, and it feels natural to find a balance by incorporating personal tasks into our working time, giving us more flexibility throughout our day.
John Cosley, senior director at Microsoft Advertising explains: “Our lives are becoming increasingly blurred. Our personal and professional lives now co-exist, whether it’s emails over coffee, booking a holiday pre-meeting, or grocery shopping afterwards.”
John Cosley: “Digital marketing must operate at the intersection of work and life – it’s not enough for marketers to continue to use demographic targeting the way it’s used today, but to incorporate consumers’ mindset into the advertising strategy. It’s a case of throwing out the playbook. Your customers have moved on, but have you?”
Understand the mindset of the Workday Consumer
Marketers in the know recognise that new consumer mindsets and behaviours offer a chance to build better strategies, but many are yet to seize the opportunity that the Workday Consumer presents. More than two-thirds (67%) rate their companies as “intermediates” or “novices” at developing in-depth target personas, and 60% of brand decision makers said their companies do not consider mindset when developing personas.
The research points to brands still relying on traditional approaches to customer personas that focus on demographics and purchasing histories, and rarely consider more subtle cues. They also struggle to convert customer data into actionable insights that drive online advertising strategies.
“Marketers must address this change in consumer behaviour and adapt their approaches, or risk being left behind – they must redefine their target consumer personas to account for the new Workday Consumer mindset,” says Cosley.
He describes how Microsoft Advertising has worked to build a platform to achieve this. It now has access to 724 million monthly unique PC searchers on the Microsoft Search Network, and 250 million unique users through native advertising on brand-safe experiences.
Microsoft Advertising connects together the platforms and sites people use every day across both their work and personal life to provide brands with an accurate view of the Workday Consumer. This means that advertisers can now reach a specific audience, based on a task-oriented mindset, with higher buyer power, spending more online and more likely to engage with ads to try new offers.
John Cosley at Microsoft says: “Marketers now have a choice – continue on a path of digital marketing autopilot or meet the audience they’ve been missing out on.”
To find out more about how to attract, convert and retain the Workday Consumer, view the video here.