“I want it NOW.” That sounds like something a toddler in the terrible twos would say, but it’s also what today’s buyers are saying. They want immediate gratification, and they’re making decisions faster than ever before.
This behavioral change is created and enabled by the increasing use of smartphones. Whether smartphone users are researching a product or looking for instructions, they not only have heightened expectations for speed in general, they also are often in a hurry to accomplish their tasks.
These “I want-to-know,” “I want-to-do,” “I want-to-go,” and “I want-to-buy” moments are what Google calls “micro-moments.” Google’s introduced these micro-moments in 2015, and Jay Baer mentioned “mapping customer micro-moments” as one of the seven hottest content marketing trends for 2017.
As a marketer, I’m fascinated by this new way of looking at customer acquisition, and want to share and explain what it is, why you should care, and how you can leverage these micro-moments to maximize your marketing impact.
Excited? I know I am. Let’s dive right into it.
What are micro-moments?
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.
They are intent-rich moments when decisions are made and preferences shaped.
In these moments, consumers’ expectations are higher than ever. The powerful computers we carry in our pockets have trained us to expect brands to immediately deliver exactly what we’re looking for, when we’re looking.
We want things right, and we want things right away.
Why should marketers care?
This concept of micro-moments is a game changer for buyers and marketers.
If you’re like most brands, you probably have your marketing efforts planned out in a buyer funnel with dedicated content for the awareness, consideration, and decision stages.
But this linear funnel concept is going in the direction of the dinosaurs.
With our increasing dependence on smartphones, the consumer journey has been fractured into hundreds of real-time, intent-driven micro-moments. Each one is a critical opportunity for brands to shape our decisions and preferences.
When we act on our needs in the moment, our expectations are high and our patience is low. This makes the quality, relevance, and usefulness of marketing more important than ever.
Since our preferences and purchases are shaped in these micro-moments, the brands that do the best job of addressing customers’ needs in each moment – notably on mobile – will enjoy a huge competitive edge.
- Many consumers aren’t brand committed. 90% of smartphone users are not absolutely certain of the specific brand they want to buy when they begin looking for information online
- You get a shot at your competitor’s customers. 1 out of 3 smartphone users has purchased from a company or brand other than the one they intended to because of information provided in the moment they needed it.
- Your presence can drive brand awareness goals. More than half of smartphone users have discovered a new company or product when conducting a search on their smartphones.
Ultimately, showing up gets your brand in the game to be chosen, not just seen.
By being there at these “moments”, your brand has the chance to address consumer needs at the perfect time and help move them along their decision journey.
Think about it. We don’t just rely on long sit-down sessions at our keyboards to make purchases anymore. We reach for our phones and make informed decisions while chatting with our colleagues during lunch time, or when lining up for our morning coffee.
And though mobile is driving this change, this phenomenon has implications far beyond mobile. It affects the entire consumer journey across screens, devices, and channels.
Take consumer behavior at retail stores as an example: foot traffic has declined, yet customers are spending more when they do visit.
That’s because they’ve done their research and made decisions before ever walking in.
Same goes for consumers visiting websites on a computer. They typically spend less time per visit but convert more often. In many ways, micro-moments have become the footsteps that lead people to your store or desktop site.
So how do you win micro-moments?
Although this seems like a new discovery, the key to success goes back to marketing 101: understanding your customers and their needs. Here are some concrete ways to do so:
- Identify your consumers’ “I-want-to-buy” moments. Talk to your customers or listen to online discussions in your industry to figure out when, where, and how they’re researching and making purchase decisions.
- Be there in these moments of need. Once you figure out where and when your customers do these researches, create a comprehensive strategy that works across channels such as search, video, social, and display.
- Deliver relevant content. Simply being there in these moments isn’t enough. Look at how people are searching – the questions they ask, the search terms they use – and create content that provide helpful answers.
- Make it easy for them to make a purchase. The research to purchase process should be simple and seamless. Give the consumer multiple ways to buy with as many instructions and as few clicks as possible.
- Measure every moment that matters. Plot every customer interaction and analyze how multiple and different channels work together to support your customers.
Act now and act fast
Luckily for us, although this “micro-moments” idea has been introduced by Google in 2015, most brands are still sticking to the old linear buyer funnel. So there are still lots of yet-to-be-discovered opportunities for you to leverage micro-moments marketing, and make sure your brand shows up whenever your next customer is looking.
Have you had any experience with micro-moments marketing? Share with us in the comments below!