Best Practices: 10 Ways Marketers Can Compete for Micro-Moments

The New Moment of Truth: Google's Micro-Moments Reshape the Marketing Funnel

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Google recently introduced micro-moments, a new marketing moment that's reshaping the marketing funnel and ultimately how companies market and sell. CMOs, brand strategists and agency creatives must now learn how to capture attention and steer customer experiences in ways that are real-time, fleeting and intentional. Doing so will help businesses win the hearts and minds of connected customers in every moment of truth across every device. On the other hand, missing or ignoring these new moments means that brands will miss vital chances to connect.

What are micro-moments and why are they important?

In short, micro-moments open windows of "in the moment" opportunities when someone searches for something top-of-mind using the closest device to them. It's what happens in these short bursts of actions that shape the impressions or next steps of your consumers. Essentially, micro-moments unfold through a variety of common "I want" scenarios that help people take steps or make decisions such as:

I want to learn…

I want to buy…

I want to know…

I want to go…

I want to do…

When consumers reach for their devices to search in those moments, it's typically done on a smartphone, experienced through a smaller screen, and navigated through natural and native swipes, pinches, zooms and clicks. Formats are inherently mobile, real-time, friendly and snackable. For the most part, users are not jumping to websites, they aren't looking to chat with salespeople or experts, and they definitely aren't willing to drop everything they're doing to visit a physical location or get in front of a PC.

Instead, micro-moments happen on the fly and as a result, they've fractured the traditional customer journey into dozens or hundreds of real-time, intent-driven moments. This, according to Google, happens billions of times per day and marketers at large must join in to engage and earn relevance.

Interestingly, micro-moments fill voids or lulls in time or complement simultaneous activities (read: multitasking), for instance, when someone is waiting in line, traveling or commuting, walking, dining or enjoying a drink, shopping in a store, relaxing, waking up or laying down to sleep.

Basically, consumers live online, all the time. Whatever, whenever, these moments are changing the game for marketers. The expectations of connected consumers are through the roof. They want to take instant action and they want instant gratification based on personal agendas and goals. Their movements are comprised of mini-moments and their decisions at each is more unscripted and unpredictable than ever. In fact, Google found that consumers are often more loyal to their need in the moment than a particular brand or product. At the same time, they're attracted to those brands that best address their needs in-the-moment. Immediacy and relevance trump loyalty nowadays.

Competing in the micro-moments of truth

Indeed, mobile, social and the real-time web have changed everything. The good news is that brands that learn, adapt and practice will earn relevance and loyalty. All it takes is connecting adding value to each micro-moment.

To help, I've assembled a list of best practices for CMOs, strategists and marketers at large, to compete for the moments that now matter:

1. Identify key micro-moments and what happens in them: Why, where and how people search for information.

2. Understand their goals and aspirations for doing so.

3. Use search insights to identify new trends or find patterns of intent that you might not be addressing.

4. Surface the context of the search, the moment in which it takes place and the behaviors and expectations that define it.

5. Run an audit of your current media efforts. Are you present in the right places with the right information in the right context?

6. Learn how information is presented in each moment and understand which content formats would be ideal (and optimized) for easy discovery and consumption on the right device at the right time, every time.

7. Discover ways to meet or exceed consumer expectations through technology, content and engagement.

8. Orient a single view of the customer and all of the moments you need to guide their journey.

9. Empower teams to test and iterate using new approaches, KPIs and methodologies.

10. Commit to being there in the moment -- comprehensively and consistently.

Winning micro-moments deliver a better experience for consumers and real business results for brands. Enterprising marketers who focus on micro-moments, human-centered behaviors and expectations and related tech, will naturally unlock a new level of meaningful consumer engagement.

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