Mode-Focused Marketing in Action: 3 Examples

In our last post Mode Matters in the Multitasking Age, we discussed a key principle of the work we do here at Spawn: Marketing to an audience’s mode.

We define mode as the state of mind a person gets into to get a job done, and we believe marketing to their audience’s mode helps brands make a critical leap – from merely talking to potential customers to becoming their trusted partner.

Of course, to market to a mode, you first need to spot it. And that can be tricky because we tend to move from mode to mode very quickly in our fast-paced world. So to help you get started, consider these examples of marketing that understands and speaks to an audience’s mode.

If they’re in: Waiting mode

Your brand can: Give them something fun to do

The few moments people wait in line in a retail store are a great opportunity for marketers. Why? Because potential customers are in waiting mode, which means they’re open to marketing that will help them to do something useful or fun with otherwise wasted time.

To help health and fitness client The Alaska Club reach customers in a waiting mode, Spawn created a ladder-themed display on the floor outside a coffee shop in a mall, where customers were waiting for baristas to create their orders.

These footprints in an on-the-floor ladder create a whimsical line activity that engages people, subtly encouraging them to think about moving and, more importantly, exercise.

By understanding the opportunity created by the waiting mode, we made our message more fun – and thus, more compelling.

If they’re in: Shopping mode

Your brand should: Offer them deals they can’t ignore

Spawn telecom client GCI wanted its savings message to have real impact on potential customers. So, rather than interrupting people when they were thinking about something else, we reached out to them when they were already in shopping mode and looking for deals – at the mall.

These installations don’t just promise great prices, they make what those savings mean for customers concrete in that very moment. What does $40 mean for their shopping budget right now?

By aligning a savings message to their audience’s shopping mode, GCI’s marketing made its promise more tangible.

If they’re in: Empathy mode

Your brand should: Help them connect

After students in Alaska received You Are Not Alone suicide prevention training, they were in sharing mode – willing and able to help fellow students who needed a peer to listen. How to support that empathy mode? Offer them a tool to signal their openness to others.

To do this, our partner – a peer-to-peer teen group – distributed 12,000 wristbands to students who’d received the training. By supporting students’ empathetic mode, we enabled the students to share their willingness to help, and offered them an ongoing reminder of it. The program was so successful that it continues today.

As you can see, each of these examples illustrates how success can be achieved. It’s not by attempting to alter an audience’s mode, but by jumping in to support it – giving them tools or insights that help them do what they’re ready to do. Marketing to mode transforms audience targets into partners.

And that’s a great way to do business.

Looking for a little help figuring out how to make mode work for your business? We’d love to talk more with you about our process for researching and understanding an audience’s mode.