LONDON/NEW YORK: Many shoppers tend to be multi-tasking in some way, whether using a mobile device or simply talking to friends, so marketers need to work harder to understand their habits and connect at the right time according to an industry figure.

Writing in the current issue of Admap, Lou Spadaro, associate research director at Starcom MediaVest Group in New York, explains that brands can find Opportunity in distraction.

SMG's own research revealed that, whether shopping offline or online, "shopping is fraught with distractions": at least one in four people is on a mobile device at any given time while around eight in ten shoppers are accompanied by other people (during waking hours).

Its next step was to understand what is gaining "share of mind" at these times, with fashion, banking, tech, travel and news emerging as the most common topics around which brands might consider aligning content.

Spadaro highlighted the importance of brands remaining top of mind in what is effectively a 24-hour shopping environment, as consumers go online to like brands on Facebook or pin products on Pinterest and can follow through to purchase via Buy Now buttons.

"When purchase is now one click away, linking to brand conversations outside of the traditional bottom-funnel shopping touchpoints becomes an imperative," he says.

Cutting through the clutter, Spadaro suggested, may require an understanding of consumers' emotional states at various times of the day.

Tiredness levels grow throughout the evening, for example, and a rational appeal is unlikely to work as well at such times as an emotional one, even in the case of promotional pieces that are usually more factual and informational.

"Pictures provide short-hand ways of communicating with shoppers at all stages," Spadaro advised.

And if marketers haven't already developed one, an omnichannel strategy is critical to delivering a consistent brand experience across multiple touchpoints.

"This will help consumers understand a brand and boost chances for recognition and engagement," Spadaro said.

Data sourced from Warc