Here at Spawn, we love a great journey, whether it’s a literal trek from Point A to Point B—just ask us about the best trails near our offices—or the figurative versions that prospective customers travel from awareness to action.
And we’re sure that as a marketer, you’ve thought a lot about journeys too.
After all, traditional marketing wisdom tells us that a well-researched customer journey and in-depth personas are the twin pillars of a great marketing strategy. With them, you’ll know who you’re talking to, and the stages they go through before they choose your brand.
And this is true, but there’s a gap in this demographic-plus-journey approach that can dramatically diminish the effectiveness—and in some cases the reach—of your marketing.
What’s missing? An understanding of how people are moving along the path. What, exactly, are they doing and feeling, and what motivates them in a particular moment? How and when do they move from one stage to the next?
We call this information: the distinctive behaviors, thoughts, preferences, and intentions that people bring with them as they do what they’re doing a person’s mode.
And we think that when it comes to marketing messages, modes make all the difference.
Defining Mode: Two Tales of One Trail
As an example, let’s imagine you’re hiking the Bird Ridge Trail near Anchorage.
If you were planning to spend a day out there with your kids, you’d pack a very different pack than you would if you were, say, competing in the same trail’s summer running race.
You’d still be you—your demographics and psychographics wouldn’t change—and the route you’d follow would be identical. But what you care about and engage along the way would be very different depending on your agenda for hitting the trail.
In one version, you’re in “family fun” mode, and you’ll prioritize ideas that help you maximize it; in the other, you’re in “racing” mode, and you’ll care more about a wholly different set of factors. Activities and gear that would be important in family mode, like stopping to leisurely pick berries, wouldn’t even be on your radar if you were racing.
Your mode determines what matters to you in any specific moment. And it’s a prime motivator in how you behave. In fact, in many cases, you’ll have more in common with someone of an entirely different demographic who shares your mode than you will with someone just like you who happens to be in a different mode.
That’s because modes are behavioral, contextual, and surprisingly universal. As such, they are powerful tools for all marketers, helping brands connect more deeply with people who are moving and shifting—from task to task, channel to channel, device to device, and mode to mode—more quickly than ever before.
Moms and Modes
Over the next few weeks, we’ll be in “sharing” mode, and we’ll show you how modes apply to marketing outdoor gear to key personas in the almost-too-vast-to-be-meaningful “Millennial Mom” landscape.
We’ll give you examples to help you see how, by layering mode into the details you already know about personas and journeys, you can make your marketing more relevant, valuable, and meaningful for your audience.