Commentary

Being Bored Is The New Luxury: Consumers Struggle With Lack Of Time

Marketers can point to many things their audience cares about, but the most valuable thing your audience possesses isn’t their hard-earned money, or the brands they spend that money on -- it’s their time.

We recently commissioned some research to understand how humans think about how they do and don't spend time, the kinds of time they value most, and how marketers can adapt to a society where being bored is the new luxury.

For most of us, our uber-connectivity transcends location. We connect in the bathroom and in our beds. Nearly half of the people surveyed check their phones in the shower. But well over 65% of the same group says they never or rarely have time to relax.  Phones save but also eat time. Two-thirds of the audience surveyed said they are never or rarely bored. Having a phone isn’t a luxury. Neither is owning cutting-edge tech, or the best sneakers, or the newest health beverage.  Downtime is what’s decadent.  

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In our survey, 64% of respondents said time is more important than money, and 58% said, paradoxically, if they could have more of one of them, then they’d take money, but — and this is a big but — only because more money would allow them to find more time.

The challenge for marketers is to completely and honestly internalize the questions every member of their audience is grappling with on these days that feel so chock-full of... stuff.

Things, words, pictures, people, videos, gifs, ads, content and memes.  Increasingly, this stuff is met with pause, a moment when a person asks, “Is this the best use of my time? What am I missing out on by doing this right now? Will this contribute to my day, my goals, my sense of self?”

Often, the answer to these questions is "no" -- especially when marketers continually invest in media and marketing tools that too often demonstrate they don’t actually value consumers’ precious time.

Marketers must get beyond demographics to get deep into the people they want to connect with and build relationships at scale. Get to know how your audience really spends their time:  What are their needs? What’s on their agenda? 

Understanding and keeping the focus on your audience is the only way to make sure you add to their lives and make every second they spend with your brand feel worth it.

Henry David Thoreau said, “The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.” In 2019, no one is waiting for your ad to come out. They are busy curating the best life they can despite the sheer wall of stuff hurled at them daily.  

In 2019, time is our most valuable currency. If we expect an audience to spend it with our brands, then we have to remember that marketing isn’t about us, the marketers, the brands, or our products. It’s about them. Don’t waste their time.

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