Cyber Monday and the @ Work State of Mind

For all the great B-roll the occupiers at Best Buy, Walmart and Target will provide to Black Friday’s national and local newscasts, the bigger news is that this year it’s possible that more than half of the immediate post-Thanksgiving retail purchases will not be made by those in line, but rather by those online, and the lion’s share of those purchases on Monday, when people return to work. Is there a better placeholder for the concept of “The @Work State of Mind“?

Today, we do personal business at work in a manner that a decade ago would have produced an HR intervention or, worse, a termination notice. There are no boundaries between work life and home life. Work goes home. Home goes to work. People are continually toggling between working and “home-ing.” Being at work is no longer a place, but rather a state of mind.

The collapse of boundaries between work and home life has profound implications for marketers. It’s so much more than just appreciating that people are “always on.” It’s also about appreciating the dramatic changes in their multitasking behavior and the reordering of their attention spans, and of the way so many have been knocked numb by high-performance pressure, 24/7 messaging and personal overexposure.

In research gyro is just bringing in from the field, we’re seeing that more than 40 percent of business decisions are being made away from an employee’s or manager’s worksite. The 9-to-5 on-site culture of incessant meetings and messages is pushing purchase consideration into the periphery of the day, into what was once regarded as personal time and space. Business decision-makers “snack” on product, service and solution proposals and promotions in the same way they scarf down a bowl of Doritos, and probably while involved simultaneously in personal entertainment and engagement with family and friends.

When folks go back to work this coming Monday, truth is many of them will be doing some shopping. But that’s okay. There have been plenty of days during 2011 when they’ve been working alongside soccer fields, poolside on vacation and in the wee hours after the children were nestled all snug in their beds. There’s been a Great Exchange of “personal time” that is revving the engines of productivity. Accommodating a few hours of holiday catch-up on Cyber Monday seems the least we can do for requiring the smartphone to be active under the tablecloth as Dad starts carving the bird on Thursday.

by Rick Segal
President Worldwide and Chief Practice Officer

Follow Rick on Twitter @MrBtoB

Cross-posted at Ignite Something on the Forbes CMO Network