The porous boundaries between professional and personal life have forever transformed the customer journey; however, many brands are taking a big risk by continuing to rest on their digital marketing laurels.
Until recently, many consumers flocked to offices Monday through Friday to carry out the various activities that made up their professional life. At the end of the day, they returned to their homes to enjoy their very distinct personal life.
Shopping, housework, imponderables of all kinds… The weekend was an opportunity to carry out activities incompatible with the weeks full of paid activities.
This long-standing paradigm of advertisers’ approach has been swept away by the pandemic. Suddenly, the democratization of teleworking and the normalization of hybrid working methods have blurring the lines between these two worlds, with all these tasks suddenly being done remotely, from home. This disruption caused a profound and definitive change in the way we spend our time online, contributing to the emergence of the ” Working day consumer “.
According to a new study from Forrester Consulting1 at the request of Microsoft Advertising, this Working day consumer– in other words, an employee who makes personal purchases during their working hours – does not hesitate to change hats several times a day to alternate work, personal activities and purchases, 59% confident even in giving the same importance during their working hours business, professional and personal tasks1.
Additionally, nearly two-thirds of them regularly research or purchase products and services, and 44% plan to increase their spending over the next twelve months.1. The PC is a preferred channel of action for employee-consumers, as 56% use their professional computer for personal purposes, particularly for decisions that take a long time to mature, such as purchasing financial products, hotels, household appliances, luxury items, etc.1.
The study clearly shows the extent of this shift in consumption patterns and its impact on employers and marketing teams who currently lack the means to adapt to this new reality. However, at a time when 51% of consumers surveyed say they shop more online during business hours than before the pandemic1, the dissolution of the boundaries between professional and personal life seems destined to profoundly change purchasing habits. Against this backdrop, advertisers who don’t bother to rethink their strategy risk losing this highly strategic audience.
Towards a porous border between professional and personal life
The intertwining of work and personal spheres took little time to completely change the game when the pandemic hit us. As work and school moved online, so did errands, purchases, and services. Consumers have begun to get their groceries delivered and more, to consult their doctor on the phone or via videoconference, to do their own sports sessions from home and on demand, not to mention the online aperitifs that have become one of the unmissable appointments of ours. digital life.
If these changes had been only transient, these habits would have suffered the same fate. After two years of the pandemic, it is clear that they are well established, which has led to the emergence of this new consumer who is the “Working day consumer“Many of us now prefer to subscribe to online services and shop from the comfort of our sofas, so it seems natural enough to find a balance by doing some personal activities during working hours to organize the day to your liking.
The study found that 68% of respondents had started working from home during their first confinements and that 48% were still working from home today.1. For advertisers and campaign managers, the challenge now is to accept a major and permanent change in practices, particularly by rethinking platforms, profiles and budget allocation to account for commercial, brand and acquisition ambitions. .
For Grégory Ollivier, Managing Director of Microsoft Advertising, the reason is simple: “the boundaries between the different facets of our life are becoming increasingly blurred. Personal and professional lives now coexist, whether it’s checking emails over coffee, booking vacations before a meeting, or grocery shopping afterwards.. “
“Digital marketing must act at the crossroads of work and life. Marketers can no longer simply rely on current demographic targeting techniques – they also need to incorporate the consumer mindset into their advertising strategy. The challenge for companies is therefore to break with the usual tactics and disconnect the autopilot. Their customers have changed their epoch, they have to do the same.“
Booming use of the PC
Knowing that 63% of consumers spend more time on their PC than before the pandemic1 and that an increasing number of personal tasks are being done on the PC, it is not surprising that consumption habits have also changed. This gives advertisers the opportunity to differentiate themselves from others by reinventing themselves.
In fact, the PC market experienced growth in 2021 like not seen in ten years, with over 340 million PCs sold in the year.227% more than in 2019, according to Canalys3. Microsoft Windows, the most popular operating system on PCs, now powers 1.4 billion monthly active devices, and time spent on the operating system has increased 10% from pre-pandemic levels. It therefore makes sense that Forrester predicts that, despite rapid growth in mobile commerce, 56% of online sales will be via PC by 2024.
Advertisers must search for the employee-consumer on their land
The more advertisers are able to understand the thinking of their target audience and their reactions to different stages of the customer journey, the more they will be able to reach them. Savvy marketers have already understood that the emergence of these new buying habits is also an opportunity to develop more impactful strategies, but many are still struggling to seize the opportunities represented by the consumer employee.
Surprisingly, many are quite pessimistic about their company’s ability to take full advantage of the knowledge of its consumers, 67% of the participants in the Forrester study1 evaluating them as insufficiently or moderately proficient in developing well-detailed target characters and 60% of brand managers indicate that their company does not take into account the mindset of consumers when defining target profiles.
The study shows that brands still rely on more traditional marketing approaches, relying on profiles based on socio-demographic data and purchase history rather than more nuanced insights. They also struggle to convert customer data into actionable analytics for online advertising strategies.
“Marketers must take this evolution in consumer habits into account and rethink their strategies accordingly, at the risk of seeing their company abandoned by others.explains Grégory Ollivier.They have to redefine their target profiles in light of the mood of the new consumer employee. “
“At Microsoft Advertising, we’ve built the platform and tools for it. We now have access to 724 million unique users per month on Microsoft’s search network and 250 million unique users through native brand advertising.. It is by communicating on these different sites and platforms that people use every day to carry out their duties at work and in life that we can help our customers reach those who consume during their working day.“
“Marketing professionals today are at a crossroads: either they lock themselves into their existing practices or they give themselves the means to reach new audiences. The Workday consumer is obsessed with completing tasks one after another, has an above average spending power, spends more online than the rest of the population, and is more likely to click on ads that invite you to test new offers.”
To learn more about the procedure to follow to attract, convert and retain employee-consumers, we invite you to consult the video below.