Marketing's Next New Thing: Task-List Integration

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Call me a Winklevoss for blurting this without your signed NDA in hand, but I'm convinced the next breakthrough in marketing technology will and must be a mashup of brand engagement with your device-based “to do” list.

The boundaries between work life and home life are no longer blurred. They are nonexistent, as our work with Forbes Insights evidenced in the recently released The @Work State of Mind Project: Engaging the Most Engaged.

People are now continually toggling between working and “homing.” They are undertaking personal business at work that once would have gotten them fired, and taking an amount of work home that would have, in a day gone by, had them at best sleeping solo.

The firm is foundational, but the individual is ascendant. With telecommunications and computer power nearly embedded in the flesh, individual emotions, personal values, opinions and power weigh substantially more in the decision-making process than ever before.

In many ways, relevance among the business decision-maker could be as simple as better understanding where the brand's desired outcome ranks amidst the juggling of working and “homing.”

In other words, where do we rank in the individual's task list?

At gyro we've been developing new qualitative tools that help us map a segment's to-do list, including both professional and personal tasks. We discover how decision-makers accomplish the task of decision-making throughout their extended daily routines. We identify critical interactions, defining where those interactions will likely take place (work, home, other), how the interactions are accomplished, and what are the likely outcomes from those interactions.

Far more than just a replay of the day, this investigation unlocks the pace and emotion at play during these often rapid-fire exchanges. The results can be surprising when compared to the marketer's otherwise rational and linear view of such decision-making. This new view is captured in what we call a “Project List Persona” that paints a rich picture of the individual, his or her emotions, dependencies on others, use of technology, and frame of mind and place throughout the consideration process.

Taking this a step further, into perhaps science fiction territory (but then again, 10 years ago who would have believed Twitter?), what if we could access an individual's task lists?

Marketers are already accessing our contact lists and personal information. What if a new app came along promising to optimize your personal performance by providing even better task management via integration with, say, your social network? Might you be willing to click “Yes, access my tasks,” in order to achieve the promise?

Granted, individuals and their employers' companies would likely think more than twice about exposing such ultimately proprietary data, but if we could somehow get even closer to this personal task information, it would be a Big Data mother lode, a Holy Grail of sorts.

After all, Foursquare has many us revealing our location for nothing more than a digital badge and the occasional burger special. Sharing our personal data could happen if the reward for doing so outweighed the perceived risk. In fact, I'm quite certain this is on someone's to-do list as we speak.

Rick Segal is President Worldwide and Chief Practice Officer at gyro

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