Are micro-moments a real thing?
PHOTO: Martin Pettitt

The behavior of consumers is rapidly changing as media consumption is on the rise and the attention of the average user is on the decline. According to research by Google, 91% of smartphone users look up information while in the middle of a task, and 69% of online consumers agree that quality, timing, or relevance can influence their perception of a brand.

With these insights in mind, we’ve turned to digital marketing experts to learn how to take advantage of these situations — or micro-moments — to better meet consumer demands.

What Are Micro-Moments?

At first, you might think a micro-moment is a way for marketers to interact with customers in real-time, or ‘in the moment’-which sounds way out of range for most marketer’s time, man-hours, and budget constraints.  

But taking advantage of a micro-moment doesn’t require marketing teams to be present and active at any particular time — they just need the right kind of content for the right kind of moment. “A micro-moment occurs when people reflexively turn to a device — increasingly a smartphone,” explained Adrian Cohn, Director of Brand Strategy and Communications at New York, N.Y.-based Smartling, “to act on a need to learn something, do something, discover something, watch something, or buy something.” These are critical moments where decisions and perceptions about a brand are shaped by consumers.

And during micro-moments, users typically have a purpose for turning to their devices. “This move is made with intent,” said Nate Masterson, CMO at Farmingdale, N.J.-based Maple Holistics, “which means that decisions are made, and expectations are higher than ever.” Consumers are looking for exactly what they want, when they want it. “Micro-moments are part of the important movement to more agile marketing,” added Jason Michaels, Managing Director at New York, N.Y.-based Accenture Interactive, “that allows for the automation of targeted and value-based touchpoints with the customer.” For most brands, therefore, that means leveraging CRM and CMS technologies to deliver hyper-personalized customer experiences across many channels.

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How Micro-Moments Impact The Customer Journey

“Micro-moments absolutely have a massive impact on the consumer experience,” stated Cohn. That’s because these small interactions with a company along the customer journey form its overall brand reputation. Micro-moments fueled by content or a well-designed user interface become memorable for consumers — either consciously or subconsciously.“Instagram stories are a good example of where brands can use interactive features to engage buyers (tagging products, using polls, etc.),” he added. “Brands can now be seen more across a broader mix of mediums and platforms (exposure),” Michaels said, “and the data collected about a consumer can better target content to them (relevance)." In essence, this means micro-moments are a critical aspect of the customer journey. They help to build brand exposure and relevance in the mind of consumers.

Masterson agreed, “This is a defining moment in the customer journey because it speaks volumes to brand loyalty.” Your brands relevant is never as important as during a consumer’s micro-moment because this is when decisions takes place. “Being seen during a consumer’s micro-moment,” he added, “gives you the chance to be the chosen brand.”

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Ways That Brands Can Leverage Micro-Moments Effectively

Here are some of the best tips the experts have for leveraging micro-moments to improve engagement and conversions for your brand.

Understand your target audience

“Take the time to research your demographics’ ‘want to buy’ moments,” recommended Masterson. It’s helpful to look at the customer journey as a whole, and see which touchpoints and content are getting the greatest conversions. “People are more predictable than they would like to believe,” he continued, “and it’s your job as a service provider to know when, where, and how your consumer is making their purchase decisions.” Once you understand the pivotal points within your brand’s customer journey, you can work to improve these micro-moments through better content and customer service.

Get more employees involved

“Brands can better leverage micro-moments by getting field employees to produce more of the content,” suggested Cohn. That’s because most of the time marketers aren’t directly interacting with customers, but they’re still the ones producing content. Instead, Cohn recommended, “When employees see or hear something, they should be able to activate the experience on multiple channels by enabling marketers with stories.” That way, marketing teams are putting out content that’s highly relevant to what users actually experience when interacting with the brand at an individual level.

Offer Real Value

“Consumers want to know what they’re getting out of giving your brand attention,” Masterson stated. Micro-moments capture the customer’s attention by giving them something valuable, whether it’s industry knowledge, exclusive offers, or an individualized experience. “A value-based exchange ensures that the consumer spends time engaged with your content,” he added.

Simplify the Buying Process

Micro-moments are when the consumer has a strong intention towards action. “One of the biggest mistakes that companies make,” Masterson warned, “is creating a complicated purchase process.” It’s most likely taken enormous effort to lead the consumer down your sales funnel, and you don’t want to lose them at the point of sale. “People want things instantly,” he continued, “which means you need to make sure to streamline and simplify their purchase.” You want consumers to be able to buy your product or service multiple ways with just a few clicks so that each micro-moment turns into a lead into a paying customer.