The “Workday Consumer” has logged on; Towards an adaptation of digital marketing strategies?

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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 crowded into offices from Monday to Friday to perform various activities that made up their professional lives. At the end of the day, they returned to their homes to enjoy their very distinct personal lives.

Shopping, household chores, imponderables of all kinds… The weekend was an opportunity to carry out activities that were incompatible with the weeks filled with the flow of paid activities.

This long founding paradigm of the approach of advertisers has been swept away by the pandemic. Suddenly, the democratization of telecommuting and the normalization of hybrid working methods caused the boundaries between these two worlds to blur, with all these tasks suddenly being carried out remotely, from home. This rupture caused a profound and definitive change in the way we spend our time online, contributing to the emergence of the ” Workday Consumer “.

According to a new study by Forrester Consulting1 at the request of Microsoft Advertising, this Workday Consumer— in other words, an employee who makes personal purchases during their working time — does not hesitate to change hats several times a day to alternate between work, personal activities and purchases, 59% confident even giving the same importance during their time work, professional and personal tasks1.

In addition, nearly two-thirds (66%) regularly research or purchase products and services, and 44% expect to increase their spending in the next twelve months.1. The PC is a favorite channel of action for employee-consumers, since 56% use their professional computer for personal purposes, in particular for decisions that take a long time to mature, such as the purchase of financial products, hotel, household appliances, luxury items, etc.1.

The study clearly shows the extent of this change in consumption patterns and its impact on employers and marketing teams who currently do not have the means to adapt to this new reality. However, at a time when 51% of consumers surveyed say they now make more online purchases during their work time than before the pandemic1, the dissipation of boundaries between professional and personal lives is, it seems, destined to profoundly change buying habits. In this context, advertisers who do not take the trouble to rethink their strategy risk missing out on this highly strategic audience.

Towards a porous boundary between professional and personal life

The intertwining of work and the personal sphere took little time to completely change the game when the pandemic hit us. As work and school moved online, so did errands, shopping and services. Consumers have started to have their groceries and other items delivered, to consult their doctor by telephone or videoconference, to do their sports sessions from home and on demand, not to mention the online aperitifs that have become one of the unmissable events in our digital life.

If these changes had only been transitory, these habits would have suffered the same fate. After two years of pandemic, it is clear that they are well rooted, which has led to the emergence of this new consumer that is the “Workday Consumer“. Many of us now prefer to subscribe to services online and do our shopping from the comfort of our sofas, so it seems quite natural to strike a balance by doing some personal tasks during our work time in order to organize our day at your convenience.

The study found that 68% of respondents had started working from home during the 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, in particular by rethinking platforms, profiles and budget allocation to take into account commercial objectives, those of the brand and acquisition ambitions.

For Grégory Ollivier, Managing Director at Microsoft Advertising, the reason is simple: “the boundaries between the different facets of our lives are becoming increasingly blurred. Personal and professional lives now coexist, whether it’s checking emails over coffee, booking vacations before a meeting, or shopping for groceries afterwards.. »

Digital marketing must act at the intersection of work and life. Marketers can no longer simply rely on current demographic targeting techniques: they must also incorporate consumer mindset into their advertising strategy. The challenge for companies is therefore to break with their usual tactics and disconnect the autopilot. Their clients have changed eras, they must do the same.»

Booming PC use

Knowing that 63% of consumers spend more time on their PC than before the pandemic1 and that an increasing number of personal tasks are carried out 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 recorded growth in 2021 as it had not seen for ten years, with more than 340 million PCs sold over 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 OS is up 10% from prior levels the pandemic. It therefore makes sense that Forrester predicts that despite the rapid growth of mobile commerce, 56% of online sales will be through a PC in 2024.

Advertisers must seek out the consumer employee on his land

The more advertisers are equipped to understand the thinking of their target audiences and their reactions to the different stages of the customer journey, the more they will be able to reach them. The savviest marketing professionals have already understood that the emergence of these new purchasing habits is also an opportunity to develop more impactful strategies, but many are still struggling to seize the opportunities represented by the employee. consumer.

Surprisingly, many are quite pessimistic about their company’s ability to fully exploit the knowledge of their consumers, 67% of participants in the study conducted by Forrester1 rating them as insufficiently or moderately adept at developing well-detailed target personas, and 60% of brand managers indicating that their company does not consider consumers’ mindsets when defining target profiles.

The study shows that brands still rely on the most 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.​

Marketing professionals must take into account this evolution of consumption habits and rethink their strategies accordingly, at the risk of seeing their company left behind by others.explains Grégory Ollivier.They must redefine their target profiles in the light of the state of mind of the new consumer employee. »

At Microsoft Advertising, we have built the platform and the tools for this. We now have access to 724 million unique searchers per month on the Microsoft 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 accomplish their tasks at work and in life that we can help our customers reach those who consume throughout 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 a new audience. The Workday Consumer is obsessed with completing tasks one after the other, has above-average spending power, spends more online than the rest of the population, and is more likely to click on ads inviting to test new offers.»

To find out more about the procedure to follow to attract, convert and retain employee-consumers, we invite you to consult the video below.

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