This micro moment – so different and so new for brands?

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Advocated most recently by Google, a 'micro moment' in marketing represents a moment where consumers search 'in the moment' for something top of mind using whatever device is nearest to them. It also represents a serious opportunity for brands. This piece examines what a micro moment is, where brands and companies sit and what action can be taken from here.

If Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman – and of course the Drifters – would have read this article, I would suggest they revise the words to their hit song “This Magic Moment” and lease the song to Google. Here are my suggested revisions to the song’s title and opening stanza:

This MICRO moment, so different and so new,
was like any other until I CONTACTED Google,
and then it happened, via my mobile device it took me by surprise
I knew that Google felt it too,
by the look in their eyes,
a
nd the decline in funds once contained in my Google wallet.

The question is though: are we ready, or is any and every industry ready for micro moment mobile transaction?

Ready, set, go!

Perhaps the correct question should be what industries are not ready for this next big thing – perhaps the truly first big thing – in the mobile based marketplace.

The micro moment is part of a complex but much needed change in the marketing, promotional and communication strategy offered by any brand

Google states in a very recent posting that the future of buying is here and it is driven via a mobile platform or driven to a mobile platform via “micro-moments”. With people turning in increasing numbers to a mobile device to search, research, refer and complete purchases, micro-moments as defined by Google may be the Holy Grail for mobile marketers and brands that support a mobile platform.

What is a micro-moment?

Micro-moments are a mobile-based phenomenon that Google defines as the following: “Mobile has forever changed the way we live, and it’s forever changed what we expect of brands. It’s fractured the consumer journey into hundreds of real-time, intent-driven micro-moments. Each one is a critical opportunity for brands to shape our decisions and preferences”. Google includes within its definition the following: “Micro moments via smart phones allow (demand) immediate action no matter what phase of the purchasing cycle we are in, pre-tail, retail or post-tail”, italics indicate my additions to the definition.

Micro moments heighten the need to deliver an important aspect of marketing relevance; couple this need with a lack of patience on the buyer’s side, a need for endorsed or perceived quality (referrals) as well as a desire to make the marketing process useful, meaning to link the process to a defined end result of either sale of no sale.

Google continues: “Brands that offer the best use of micro-moments will win the marketing battle, loyalty and having the ear/eye/heart and soul of the consumer will only add to the micro moment going the brand’s way” – again, italics are mine.

Is it that simple?

I don’t think so, I see the micro moment as part of a complex but much needed change in the marketing, promotional and communication strategy offered by any brand. I see the introduction of this new term and discipline by Google as being in part self-centred; Google after all is a mobile-based brand, but also self-serving in the fact that it is a single media option – that directly benefits Google.

I also see the micro moment as a valid and realistic end result of an integrated and convergence based cross/multi/trans media marketing plan, which uses mobile as one of many tools to deliver the micro “aha” moment. Micro-moments can impact the interest cycle, the buying cycle, as well as the brand’s sales cycle, all which can be good or bad. It depends who you are – a consumer or a brand.

Confused?

If you look to the difference of the definition of micro and macro you will become less confused – well, hopefully. Macro is a large-scale process, which cannot or is not seen while micro is a very small-scale process, which can be and should be seen.

A micro moment is the result of a series of correctly used, defined and measured macro moments. The stronger the connection, the better the result will be for the brand

I see a micro-moment as a being the result of a series of correctly used, defined and measured macro moments (strategic marketing). The stronger the connection – the integration, the convergence, relevant messaging, the balanced use of both micro (tactical marketing) and macro strategies are linked – the better the result will be for the brand and the more micro (magic) moments the brand will achieve via a pleased and satisfied consumer.

Content is king, context is queen

First of all, ask what makes a potential customer or prospect “select” or “use” a micro moment:

  • Need - they have an interest in your product. The upside of need is that consumers who use micro moments evaluate products and services in the moment – but they don’t evaluate in a vacuum; they also have multiple sources of information provided to them that fits their needs, desires, and buying cycle. The consumer’s search is not limited to access to your brand just to deliver information either – they have the entire Internet open for search relating to the brand’s product or service.
  • Relevance - it’s something that they will benefit from. Your customers and prospects need to make the most of those ‘pre-micro moment’ moments and allow this micro pre-sell/pre-tail opportunity to occur. The brand needs to provide the marketplace with macro moments of, as mentioned, critical, decision based, sales-oriented information and knowledge via a multitude of valued media interaction. But here, the definition of what is relevant is based upon the knowledge you have of your customer. It is not what you think – the message must be based on what they want.
  • Interaction - they want to search through your website, request and contact you via email or request additional information – the best result being for them to purchase your product or service. The brand must provide the interaction to allow the consumer to make the most of their time; search, review, compare and relate to others who have sailed this ocean before. Experienced consumers more often compare their thoughts and potential decisions with others and to access those ‘satisfied customers’. But on the downside, how easy is it for your customer or prospect to initiate a micro moment across all your media and the media that is most valued by your customer or prospect? It is not only mobile.
  • Integration – consistency in message, defining the brands credibility via a macro effort and defining the brands offering. Consistency of message must be clearly defined across all media, digital and legacy. A single focused message based on an action-orientated program must be defined by the brand. Is the correct media for the purpose – informative, sell, referral, reply or post sale – being used, and is the plan worthy of the brand and the targeted demographics? On the flip side, how integrated is your media; is it confusing, is it linked by messaging, brand, logo, content and context? Do they support your most recent macro efforts to achieve a micro moment?

We are still humans

Maintain a high level of human interaction. People still are people and if you offer only a closed loop of computer-based interaction you may find that your stoic marketing ways are weakening your overall efforts and damaging your profits, limiting the full potential of your micro moments.

Fulfil for the consumer the needs that you, the brand, fulfil each time you market. For example, know what the customer wants, fulfil their desire to gain relevant information to make the correct buy decision, and allow them to make the buy seamlessly and easily.

People evaluate purchase decisions, solve unexpected problems, and even try new things in the moment. According to Google figures, 82% of smartphone users turn to their phone to influence a purchase decision while in a store. 62% are more likely to take action straight away towards solving an unexpected problem because of their smartphone, while 91% turn to their phone for ideas when performing a usual task.

People pursue big goals in small moments

Don’t underestimate other avenues of sales/buy stimulation, direct mail/marketing, print, social, AR and IR – all can now be simply and easily linked to the mobile platform and be converted to micro moments.

But how does this all impact you, your business and future sales?

Here is the simple part. It would seem from my review of micro moments that an aggressive, relevant, personalised and need-based marketing communication program should be developed, installed and used. Updated via the nearly immediate feedback that new technology provides, the brand’s efforts must be based on the metrics – attribution – and the measurements of the success or failure of each the independent tool used to move the process to a positive (for both the brand and the consumer) outcome.

If you are in a specific channel or segment of any business, you cannot ignore the concept of micro moments

For those that question micro-moments to influence or close the potential of a large monetary sale, such as a boat or a car for example, well perhaps you are correct. But the process of selling to a micro moment can provide your brand with the foundation to move the stalled sale to the correct immediate conclusion and also set the table for a larger potential sale. We are in the business to develop dialogue and establish engagement, are we not?

Also, take heed: we are on a fast track of marketing communications. Apple will be introducing an ad blocking browser in iOS. It makes your integrated micro moment message much more important. Micro moments are not a passing “new thing”; it’s real time info to help make your marketing successful. Media convergence is critical to your success.

Take action

Ignoring the new trends, as many businesses and manufacturers often do, means you will lose the battle to win the new, younger, future buyer to support your brand. More importantly, you will lose the long-term battle to gain trust, respect, and relevance that brands must establish to survive and prosper.

As I see it, if you are in a specific channel or segment of any business, you cannot ignore the concept of micro moments.

If you are, among others, a membership-driven association, fundraising based organisation, a clothing company, an electronics or technology provider, a bar/café/restaurant, in healthcare or an educational provider, micro moments may be the gateway to a more profitable future. If you are a manufacturer looking to sell high end luxury products, micro moments are needed to engage and perhaps influence your prospect’s short or long term purchasing decision, as well as to build dialogue and engagement.

Micro moments, it seems, provide you with a more in-depth understanding of your prospect’s buying cycle. If you can link the buying cycle to your selling cycle, well life will be more than good – remember people no longer are sold anything; they buy.

If you ignore micro moments, well then you are in my opinion ignoring the potential offered by defined prospects, added sales, added profits, and expanded opportunities to reach your prospects across their buying and life cycle as your customer.

The brand – your brand – needs to rethink short and long-term marketing strategies and include rest stops if you like where the prospect can pause, gather the needed information and allow the micro moment to develop. Then, the brand can take full advantage of that micro moment with an after-enquiry sales based strategy.

What are the benefits of micro moment strategy?

In the short term, you will develop the current Holy Grail of marketing, establishing dialogue and engagement with a yet to be determined shopper, prospect, customer or client. In the long-term you would have set the foundation to expand the general conversation into a more intimate conversation based on a realistic understanding of the prospect’s needs, desires, and ability to make the suggested purchase.

Macro and micro moments may in the long run set up the large monetary sale desired by a luxury manufacturer, but even if micro moments do not move your sale instantly forward, the acceptance and use of such new trend based knowledge will forever change the relationship you have with your customer or prospect base.

Integrated, converged and valued sharing of knowledge – the informed buyer syndrome  - is never a bad thing. It becomes bad when the information provided by the brand misleads, does not satisfy, or fulfill the prospect’s request and needs. Micro moments built on a foundation of traditional integrated, cross-media tools and techniques will offer the brand multiple opportunities to go back to and rekindle the relationship you have with your customer base.

Always remember you should enhance your marketing program one media at a time; macro or micro moments do not change this very basic rule

Here’s the rub though; micro moments to me are not the silver bullet. They are great marketing perks that won’t sink your ship, unless you ignore their correct use and run onto the rocks of poor marketing planning and execution. There are new marketing tools being introduced all the time; micro moments are a new tool that can provide greater accuracy to reach and understand your client, customer or prospect base. The question to ask is: which tools will assist your client, customer, and prospect, grasping a micro moment and turn that into profit for you and your brand?

Summary

Always, always remember that you should enhance your marketing program one media at a time; macro or micro moments do not change this very basic rule. Correct introduction offers you the ability to measure the positive or negative impact this new tool and others will have on your marketing efforts.

I return to the song This Magic Moment; a more perfect song could not have been written for Google and micro moments. Perhaps a trending group vs. the Drifters would need to make the recording and the recording would need to be sold via a music service download and paid for via your Google wallet.

Need to make the most of your macro/micro-moments? Reach out to me and we can profit together.

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