Your everyday experience is laced with "micro moments." Google coined this term to describe the instantaneous bursts of curiosity and action that drive our decision making these days. When was the last time you contemplated jumping on your smart phone and searching for something? Right, you don't think about it, you just do it.
An idea or an emotion occurs to you, and you do the most natural thing. You Google it or you pop into Facebook, Instagram or SnapChat and post a selfie. We are driven by impulses in 2015—for knowledge, for communication or for buying. That's what governs us. So if you're a marketer, shouldn't you be playing in the micro moments sand box?
A marketing campaign is usually something planned. You create content, you distribute it and you seek some sort of conversion and follow-up. Campaigns can take time, even months to succeed, and their success or failure is usually judged by outcomes, like purchases or clicks.
A micro moment is something else entirely. It's spontaneous and fleeting. You do something that takes a few seconds or, at most, minutes, then you're on to something new. But as Brian Solis recently put it, there's gold in those micro moments.
"...micro-moments are moments of high intent and engagement many of which, happen in spare moments, such as waiting in line, commuting, or generally when not preoccupied with something else. The journey then continues later either on mobile or through an entirely different channel such as a laptop or tablet. You can design for these new opportunities. And make no mistake, they are opportunities for engagement, not distractions."
So how can we marketers be there for each micro moment and harness its power?
Assume that your buyers are experiencing more micro moments and doing less prolonged research that might take them to your website. Stop preaching from your blog pulpit and ask more questions. Start conversations in your social networks and ask more of your people (your co-workers, customers and their influencers) to participate. Publish more videos and podcasts that stimulate ideas in just a few seconds or minutes. Your long-form content will still be there when your buyers become more engaged, but for now, you need to simply plant a seed. Also, be more aware of engagement in your analytics. How often do people share one of your tweets or comment on a blog post?
Wish you had invented Angry Birds? Yeah, it's a really goofy game, but it's enthralled millions who had nothing better to do than to manipulate a bunch of fat, flightless birds in a smartphone or tablet app. Don't assume that any idea is too crazy for an app! Be imaginative, and create something fun but also challenging—something that will stretch your buyer's imagination and capture her attention in those micro moments. There are millions of apps out there, but not every idea has been taken or done well. Here's a website community just for brainstorming new app ideas (or ruling out bad ones).
Mobile apps can cost many thousands of dollars to develop, but don't let that deter you from engaging in micro moments. Are your web developers sitting around yawning at the same old boring HTML and CSS? Try something new and engaging like Responsive Interaction. At the very least, make your website responsive and put your videos and podcasts up front to attract mobile users. Offer regular live conversations and panel discussions on Tweetchat to educate your buyers and offer insider advice. Turn your webinars into interactive forums that start with questions rather than PowerPoints about your company and products.
Think about whose blog posts you subscribe to and whose social media updates give you pause. The best way to engage in micro moments with prospective buyers is to be admired and trusted by them. I'm not talking about brands here; I'm talking about people with something to say. It's not easy to develop this kind of following. It takes work every day. You must be prepared to spend the time researching, writing, posting and sharing. Once you have that kind of audience, you can begin to reach them any time of the day on the channels and devices of their choosing.
Shelly Demotte Kramer does this better than anyone I can think of. She's apparently on Facebook (and every other social network) 24/7/365, and her posts are funny, entertaining and thought provoking, to put it mildly. Yes, Shelly has a day job. She's the Founder and CEO of V3 Integrated Marketing in Kansas City, and by all accounts, she's crushing it. How does she have time to be in so many of my micro moments? Go ask her. It's all about passion. There are plenty of other examples of thought leaders, including Brian Solis, mentioned above, who build thought leadership and successful businesses around being there for our micro moments.
Micro moments happen all the time, and they're happening more frequently as we move our lives totally to digital, but are micro moments predictable and actionable in the moment? This is the challenge for marketers as well as security professionals, planners and analysts of all kinds. As IBM's Theresa Morelli puts it:
"Consider each micro-moment in the customer experience. Each is highly perishable: you have a chance in that instance to change the customer’s perception, affect mood, and set the general tone of the experience from that moment forward. If you don’t act in that moment, the opportunity expires and is lost forever."
Collecting data isn't the problem. It's all digital, and it's all being tracked by someone, somewhere. Every device, every social network, every wearable device, every app and every website should have the capability of knowing who, when, where and why someone is engaging. Nothing new there. What is new is putting the data to work in real time and customizing the buyer journey at every micro moment. IBM and others are developing real-time predictive customer intelligence algorithms to do just that—analyze your past, present and future behavior as you engage with friends and relatives, co-workers and people that you admire and trust. Right now we can build personalized marketing campaigns, but these are a far cry from in-the-moment decision making and 100 percent customized online experiences.
You may not be able to get your hands on predictive customer intelligence data and algorithms just yet, but it won't be long and at a price point even SMBs can afford. For now, think about how to engage with your buyers more often without the old push marketing techniques. How can you better anticipate where, when and why they will become aware of you and reach out or at least respond? How can you become better at marketing in the micro moment without being another spam point?
Think small, very small.