Mastering Micromoments: How To Win With A Connected Consumer

We’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.

Micro Moments Are Small, Be Efficient

Consumers’ lives are more time-compressed than ever, and therefore so is the marketer’s challenge. Fox Television announced the advent of the 6-second TV ad, matching the increasingly blinding pace of digital communications. So make sure you avoid the big wind-up and get right to it, or the mighty thumb will have swiped your message into oblivion. Geicohas done a particularly nice job of creatively acknowledging the time urgency in this context.

Focus on the Job to Do

An issue I see over and over again in integrated marketing is the drive to craft every piece to do every job, from delivering brand messages, to articulating proof points to closing the sale. That’s just more than most vehicles can possibly hope to do, let alone a brief encounter in micro moments. Focus on that one critical thing you want to accomplish in that brief touch, and craft every element to furthering that goal at the expense of every other. Then step back and squint at the whole system of messages to make sure you’ve covered the necessary bases — but don’t try to get it all done at once.

Have Fun

A big part of the motivation for the little digital snacking moments we all engage in, while standing at a bus stop or sitting at a traffic light, is to pop a bit of fun into our day. In a world where everything competes with everything, your brand communications now need to be every bit as intrinsically entertaining and rewarding as a tweet from Ryan Reynolds or a Facebook post from crazy uncle Bill. Look for that smile, chuckle, sigh or tear that you can elicit with your work and deepen the relationship just a bit more.

The bar seems to be continuously rising on marketers: more complexity, proliferating technology, greater expectations, and now less time to get the job done. But by bringing the right thought process to how you make the most of those micro moments, you can still get it all done.

Now pardon me, I have to check my phone.