The consumer journey was never a predictable path a marketer could anticipate. There were as many ways to approach consumerism as people are out there. Yet, in spite of that variety, there were some patterns in that consumerism that made it easier for marketers to identify key moments and engagement opportunities. There were “moments of truth” – stages that any consumer would go through in his transactions, which provided a basic layout for marketing opportunities.
Then came mobile. And all of the above exploded in literally millions of pieces. The rise of powerful smartphones change the way people consume media in a profound way. Those stages so neatly arranged in theory turned into millions of fragmented interactions that happen anytime, anywhere and, intertwined between them, are the marketing opportunities we all seek for our businesses.
The marketing scenario has thus changed and it’s up to the marketers to pick up the pieces and make sense out of them in a context where short attention span is the rule and ruler. Fortunately, Google has already shed some light in that chaotic path and found an interesting notion that some are calling “game changer”. We’re talking about micro-moments.
Marketing life is a sum of micro-moments
According to Google, micro-moments “occur when people reflexively turn to a device—increasingly a smartphone—to act on a need to learn something, do something, discover something, watch something, or buy something.” Basically, they are those instances in which people are determined to act upon impulse, making decisions, measuring their expectations and shaping their preferences.
Reaching into our pockets for a powerful computer to look for information has become a reflex most of us don’t spend time thinking about. But that behavior is an undeniable sign of our relentless expectations – when we want something, we demand it to be provided to us right away. We’ll go with anyone that satisfies that expectation – and we’ll be quick to dismiss or ignore everyone else.
Now think about those micro-moments and how many of them you mindlessly go through on a daily basis. Consider how many books you’ve purchased, films you’ve seen, devices you’ve bought or YouTube subscriptions you’ve made with the help of what you find online while waiting for the subway or in the bathroom. “Traditional” research (as flawed and fuzzy as it was) is no more – now people research on a whim and in fragments throughout the day.
How to act on micro-moments
Identifying those micro-moments can be a hard task, since there are so many of them and they have a pretty volatile nature. However, that doesn’t mean your business should go blindly about the online world trying to engage these micro-moments by chance.
A good marketing strategy should work with these micro-moments in mind, knowing that we’re now living in a world where business are open every second of every single day and there’s demand for everything and anything. Ultimately, this scenario has only one winner – business already prepared to serve customers demands at any time.
Google says that people have want-to-know moments, want-to-go moments, want-to-do moments and want-to-buy moments. They also say that “90% of smartphone users have used their phone to make progress toward a long term goal or multi-step process while out and about.” Finally, the company also found out that “69% agree that the quality, timing, or relevance of a company’s message influences their perception of a brand.”
When you combine that information, it’s pretty clear what you should take away from here – understanding your target audience’s moments and meeting it half way is essential for your success. How can you do that? Where should you begin? Google has 5 ideas for you:
- Make a moments map – imagine what moments are the ones that serve your business the most. Do a little research about your prospected customer’s journey and check what they want to learn and when they are more likely to do it.
- Understand customer needs in-the-moment – if you’re “selling” to someone that doesn’t have much time to spend, optimize your whole experience to fit that narrow moment. Think of a simplified purchase process or a new feature that make it easier for customers to get where they (and you) want to get.
- Use context to deliver the right experience – take advantage of the time and location those micro-moments are happening. Customers need to feel that your offer is the best for them given their context (this is a great for people searching for nearby offers while on the go)
- Optimize across the journey – yes, most people spend a lot of time on their mobile devices, but that doesn’t mean you have to ditch the other channels. People start looking for information while on their phones, they continue with their journey on their laptops and end up dropping by your store. It’s your marketing consistent across all of those channels?
- Measure every moment that matters – Given how many more engagement opportunities you’ll get when using micro-moments, measuring them all might seem overwhelming. Of course, it actually is – but it’s also useless. If you worry about your measures too much you might end under-serving customers. In fact, some moments might not be measurable at all, so you’ll have to take time to create credible estimates to justify your strategy around micro-moments.
As insanely difficult and chaotic this may seem, micro-moments actually offer a more consistent explanation about consumer behavior in the smartphone era. Additionally, they are a great way to approach marketing and increase the engagement opportunities by using a combination of data, research and, of course, ol’ intuition.