Monday, February 05, 2007

How Do You Multitask? Let Me Count the Ways

Not that long ago I wrote about how media and technology had turned the 24-hour day into the 43-hour day. Jumping on the bandwagon, eMarketer just declared in a new report that our virtual day is actually like 36 hours when all media consumption is considered.

The new wrinkle of the eMarketer report is its specificity about the nature of our multitasking ways.

For example, two-thirds of the total U.S. adult population -- 100 million -- watched TV while they were online last year. Ninety million listened to the radio while online. More than 50 million read magazines while online (hmm… that doesn’t make sense unless you go online to read the magazine… unless we’ve sprouted an extra eye somewhere).

Further, people are not dropping one form of media in favor of another, according to senior analyst Debra Aho Williamson , the author of the report. "Full engagement is no longer a realistic expectation," she said. (What did she say…?) And everybody is multitasking -- although kids are multitasking more. The dichotomy between generations on media consumption is growing, said Jeff Cole, of the Center for the Digital Future, which has perhaps the longest longitudinal study on the matter.

So what’s a marketer to do? It bears stating the obvious:

Understand how your audience is consuming information. Take the time to get the facts, with online research and by seeking out information through live conversations.

It has always been true that the more channels you utilize to get in front of your target audiences, the more successful you will be. It’s even truer today.

If you are seeking to reach across the generations, it is critical to tailor your campaigns.

Measure. The online component has made it increasingly easier to understand what’s working … and what’s not, so you can fine-tune your campaigns on the fly.

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