Shopping 9-5, what a way to make a living!

The workplace as epicenter of consumption

The polling firm BIGResearch says advertising to workers on the job is the smartest way to reach consumers most likely to have money, and then spread buzz. A summary of the findings notes that:

With rising pump prices and busy schedules, consumers are highly likely to consolidate shopping trips, making purchases on their drive to or from work, or during their lunch break . . . Stephanie Molnar, CEO of WorkPlace Media, concludes that “The American workplace has become the most lucrative marketing channel for advertisers looking to connect with consumers . . .

I shall forthwith send a note to the boss thanking him for paying me to shop. I will also thank him for putting a wonderful distraction device on my desk so that I can look at goofy videos or read lengthy chain e-mail promising me happiness if I annoy five friends in similar fashion.

Seriously, one of the comeuppances waiting for online media — and I predict the what but not the when — is that employers will gain the tools to lessen the distractions aimed at their workers via the Web. I think this process is already underway at the lower end of the skills ladder, where so-called “dumb terminals” or “thin-client” devices can be designed to limit access to the wider Web and keep the nose to the grindstone. I believe network management tools already exist to allow corporate information managers to shut off access to any web site throughout the company’s internal network. Early examples of this will make news. Negative news. But the real audience will be the bosses who can justifiably say that they don’t pay you to be amused or informed or to bargain shop, and will eventually find the combination of network monitoring tools and personnel practices to enforce a “nose-to-the-grindstone” regime.

Not everywhere. Professionals may be immune because putting them into a pout would more likely exacerbate than curb any under-perform. But I don’t think it will be too long before the bosses recognize that their staffs are being targeted by a persistent marketing engine seeking to distract and divert. And it’s not good business for them to allow such behavior.

So I would suggest that as media target the 9-5 crowd that the whole thrust of the engagement process be designed to getting them back online after hours. How? I dunno. Contests that note the location of the IP address, extrapolate from that the geography and the time zone and then invite the viewer back after hours. Use this opportunity to grab the viewer. But plan to build a lasting relationship that involves the viewer — at minimum — placing value on your content by visiting it on their own time.