Mode Matters in the Multitasking Age

Let’s start with a question. When was the last time you waited in line without checking your email, texting, scrolling through a feed or using your favorite app? Or how about the last time you rescheduled your life to watch a favorite TV show live, knowing it wouldn’t be available for months until reruns?

Those days seem long gone. And you can thank technology for that.

Over the past decade, our connection to digital and mobile technologies has made many everyday tasks faster and easier. But interestingly, that always-available efficiency hasn’t created more free time for us. Instead it’s raised the bar dramatically on what we demand from every moment, virtually eliminating the idea of downtime from our lives.

The result? Whether experts believe it’s effective or not, we’re living in a hyper-productive, life-hacking, multitasking world, where most people are trying to do (at least) two things at a time, nearly all the time.

It’s a pretty big lifestyle adjustment for us as individuals. And in our role as marketers, it’s a tectonic shift.

Marketing in the Multitasking Era

How can a marketer hope to create a message that will break through to an audience living in micro-moments? How can we align our messaging with the pace and needs of an audience that expects instant, personalized communication? And, given the speed at which new channels emerge – a recent Tow Media Center Report shows that some publications are posting content to up to 21 channels in an effort to reach key audiences – how can we hope to find them and move them along a path to purchase?

It’s enough to make a marketer feel completely overwhelmed.

Marketing to Mode

Here at Spawn, however, we’ve discovered that the answer (thankfully) doesn’t involve continually condensing and adapting a single ad to dozens of channels.

Instead, our approach is to become more useful to our target audience. We’re creating campaigns that help consumers both complete the tasks they care about before they decide to buy, and make decisions at a pace and timing that makes sense to them.

We call this marketing to mode.

Defining Mode

What’s mode? It’s the state of mind a person gets into and the actions they take to accomplish something. We generally refer to it as getting a job done, but that task isn’t necessarily work-related. A job can be anything: researching, comparing, connecting, sharing, and yes, even taking a break to watch a cat video.

When we understand our audience’s modes, we can create marketing that helps them maximize their efforts to feel confident and efficient as they learn about and choose our brands.

If they’re in entertainment mode, we might help them to find just the right movie faster. If they’re in shopping mode, we can help them access reviews they trust and purchase information that makes them feel in control. By marketing to mode, we help our audience pack more value into each moment: it’s a shift toward working with, rather than talking to, our target audiences.

As an added bonus, by making our marketing helpful, we’re ensuring that we’ll spend less effort looking for our audience, because often they’ll come looking for us.

An Evolution of Demographics and Psychographics

This shift toward mode, with its focus on the specific job to be done, doesn’t eliminate the need for traditional demographic and psychographic information. Instead, it’s additive: mode helps us to be where our audience needs us as they drive their own unique journey toward choosing a brand.

If you’d like to learn more about how we research and understand an audience’s modes, call us! We’d love to discuss it with you.