Mastering Micro Moments: How to Win With a Connected Consumer

We’ve all seen the shocking statistics: consumers check their phones 150 times a day, etc. This reality has given rise to what Google dubbed “Micro Moments” — those little windows of time when a consumer is trying to get something done, and is most open to a brand message. The modern marketer must become a master of understanding and exploiting these little opportunities in order to advance their brand agenda.

Mobile Micro MomentsWe’ve all seen the shocking statistics: consumers check their phones 150 times a day; they look at them first thing upon waking up and lasting thing before sleeping; they see thousands of brand messages in the course of the day; and they multi-task across apps and to-dos like a hamster on crack. And truth be told, we all probably uncomfortably recognize these behaviors in our own daily life. This reality has given rise to what Google dubbed “Micro Moments” — those little windows of time when a consumer is trying to get something done, and is most open to a brand message. The modern marketer must become a master of understanding and exploiting these little opportunities in order to advance their brand agenda.

The good news is that there are only about 5,000 vendors of martech, adtech and other tech who are eager to sell you solutions that will let you insert yourself into these fleeting moments. Indeed, one of the great anxieties of the modern CMO is the challenge of understanding, sorting through and selecting from among the bewildering array of data, analytic and tech offerings. There has also emerged a cottage industry of conferences, consultants and publications whose mission is to further the technical execution of connecting with the distracted, mobile consumer.

The bad news is that all the best technology in the world will not complete the mission without a compelling piece of marketing content — and that comes down to smart, curious humans who deeply understand their target. In the rush to leverage the awesome power of analytics and algorithms, it’s critical that marketers remember that they’re connecting with a human being, not a collection of data points. Here are some principles to keep in mind when creating the human message to ride through the technology medium and win the micro moments:

Focus on the Whole Person

In that fleeting moment, you need to strike a nerve to effectively engage their attention and move their thinking or action. This calls for a level of insight and understanding that goes beyond a thin segmentation or persona with a scant few facts. Try to develop an immersive feel for the human you’re trying to reach, keeping in mind the emotional surround of their life, and that particular moment in the day. Think of the cultural context and the notes that will resonate. The book, Sensemaking, by Christian Madsbjerg, provides a compelling framework for this kind of rich, humanistic appreciation of the non-quant side of the equation.

Deliver Value

In some ways, well d-uh, but it’s all too easy to be so focused on your brand objective that you forget the notion of being of service in that moment. Google calls out four objectives the consumer may have: Know, Go, Do or Buy. Let go of the idea that the consumer journey is a one-way path to your cash register, and focus on what they’re trying to do and how you can be helpful in that moment. Always remember to offer value before you ask for it.

Making the Most of Marketing Moments

Attention is precious. Marketers need to orchestrate all their messaging elements to support the strategic objectives appropriate to that unique consumer at that stage in the discovery or buying process, while also taking into account the consumer frame of mind, the device in use and the expectations around the brand relationship. That’s a lot to fit in a moment!

CoverStory_beautyThe science of reaching relevant audiences online often relies on a complex array of technology-enabled, data-driven tools and platforms to get in front of the right consumers. Marketers engage consumer segments and consumers based on many intertwined variables that signal possible intent, interest or profile fit. But while the role of technology is to “seek and find”, the role of the content and messaging that technology delivers is engage, inspire and motivate; making the most of those moments when you manage to get a consumer’s attention.

Attention is precious. Marketers need to orchestrate all their messaging elements to support the strategic objectives appropriate to that unique consumer at that stage in the discovery or buying process, while also taking into account the consumer frame of mind, the device in use and the expectations around the brand relationship. That’s a lot to fit in a moment! It’s helpful to establish a strategic framework when planning to use an arsenal of different kinds of marketing moments to elevate consumer engagement and brand attachment. Authentic and memorable brand experiences can span a wide range of content types with the best marketing programs and campaigns using a carefully planned mix of micro moments, macro moments and guided journeys to create or deepen affinities.

Micro Moments

Not every consumer touch point will be or need be a significant investment or the complete brand story. In fact, the accumulation of smaller impressions can work harder to make certain messaging memorable or evoke positive emotions.

Micro moments are about making a connection. Marketers can use those little gaps in the consumer day while waiting at the bus stop or while catching up on social media to make that connection. Things like social posts, ads or other small pieces of content can create overall favorable impressions if presented in an opportune and relevant manner. They can tell just a part of the brand story, punctuate a key point, reinforce brand imagery, introduce a grander content play and can even be sequenced to tell a larger story over time. These small moments have a cumulative impact.

Investment in the creation and delivery of individual micro moments should be commensurate to their value in the overall strategy. As they tend to be fleeting and may have multiple versions, be realistic about the investment (and return) on any single piece of content. The micro moment strategy relies on a series of contacts and the investment should be viewed at the portfolio level across all the planned micro efforts.

Macro Moments

Immersive experiences like certain websites, interactive games, or apps allow brands the time, space and environment to tell a much fuller story. The complex messaging that can be supported in these macro moments provides brands the opportunity to romance consumers, appeal with different kinds of content (video, visual, infographic, games, etc..) or engage in more interactive experiences.

A macro moment requires a deeper investment level with more planning and time devoted to its development. That investment should be justified by strategic value, longevity of use or broad appeal, but could also include temporary but critical instillations with great operational value. Some examples might be a milestone anniversary website with a lot of brand history, or an interactive destination that supports a high profile multi-channel promotion or product launch.

Guided Journeys

Often task or goal oriented, guided journeys move consumers through an orchestrated experience that delivers a specific payoff or value at the end of that journey. Some examples might be apps or calculators that capture attention through a session that has predictable outputs of value to the consumer. Pick a paint color and try it on in a room, calculate your long term insurance needs, determine your best college choices or conquer some other task with the digital assistance of a helpful brand. Often these experiences have a gamified element to them to improve the experience of completing a taxing or difficult task. Brands benefit from the positive association with that accomplishment or completion. Guided journeys easily incorporate direct marketing goals and can lead directly to a lead or sale. The expected value of those direct returns would surely factor into the appropriate investment levels for those guided journeys.

The branded consumer experience is an accumulation of all kinds of brand exposures. If you deliver authentic and memorable branded experiences guided by the needs of the consuming audience you will likely use a mix of content and content types to get and keep your consumer’s attention. Having a mix gives you more tools, more learning over time and a greater chance of success in supporting your strategic brand goals.