The micro-moment opportunity

Blake Cahill, Global head of digital marketing at Philips, explains how micro-moments help brands to understand their customers better.
The stats say it all. Research from Google has shown that 91 per cent of smartphone users look up information on their smartphones while in the middle of a task, and 87 per cent of shoppers consult their phone before they make a purchasing decision in a store.

The unfettered rise of mobile has led to what Google has termed micro-moments. These occur when people instinctively turn to a device – increasingly a smartphone – to act on a need to learn, do or watch something, go somewhere or buy something. They are driven by intent, when decisions are made and preferences shaped.

Fragmented interactions
Mobile has become an indispensable part of our daily lives, and has led to a fundamental change in the way we discover information. Before mobile, our browsing time was limited to sessions on a laptop or at a desk. These have been replaced by many fragmented interactions that now occur instantaneously. There are hundreds of these moments every day – whether it’s checking the time, chatting to friends or scrolling through social media.

Micro-moments are an enormous opportunity for businesses, as the average consumer experiences about 150 of them a day, often in bursts of about 30 seconds at a time. The key for marketers is learning how to optimise the amount of attention their campaign receives during a consumer’s burst of activity. Which is no mean feat considering the average attention given to content on social media is only a couple of seconds.

Businesses struggle most when trying to understand who their customers actually are. Often, we may target a specific segment of a market, while completely ignoring or missing a far greater opportunity, by not recognising a potential audience. Another challenge is to understand what stage consumers are at in their journey and what they are looking for in each of their micro-moments. At Philips, we are using data and technology to help us map and respond to new journeys. It’s with these insights that we can truly understand our customer and, in turn, their needs.

Depending on what a company is offering, and by understanding what its audience is looking for, brands can tailor their message and their medium to maximise the potential that micro-moments have to offer. This is especially clear when you consider the fact that, according to the Google stats, 82 per cent of shoppers consult their phones while they’re shopping, and 73 per cent of shoppers who bought a product in a physical store began by searching for it online.

Omnichannel approach
Although we are experiencing great shifts in the way we search and shop for products, there seem to be certain aspects of our behaviour that are slower to transition, or perhaps unwilling to change. While consumers may be inspired by something they’ve found online, many still want to physically experience it before making a purchase. Likewise, many shoppers still want to consult with friends and family before making a final decision. Understanding the relevance of an omnichannel approach can help brands engage their audience in a more three-dimensional manner in their micro-moments marketing strategy.

The use of data enables us to personalise experiences. We may know who you are because you may be registered on our database, or you may look like someone else within our market demographic. Technology like this is what’s allowing us to optimise these journeys and move consumers to the next micro-moment.

The goal is to make micro-moments matter for every consumer that engages with Philips. By focusing on this, we are completely transforming the way we operate. Consumers all over the world increasingly expect an Amazon-like ecommerce experience, providing a frictionless service that gives them what they need, when they need it and at a competitive price.

AI-first world
We are rapidly moving from a mobile-first to an AI-first world, and marketers are increasingly supported with smarter ad and martech. This is allowing us to engage with consumers and their micro-moments in a more automated manner – with a solid data framework as a key pre-requisite.

It is clear that AI will further transform the way consumers engage in their micro-moments, for example through AI-fuelled technologies such as voice and visual search – comScore research shows that 50 per cent of consumer searches in the US are likely to go through voice in 2020. With consumer adoption of these new technologies, it will be key for marketers to not only understand their consumer, but also deeply understand these newly-adopted technologies to offer new consumer experiences and stay relevant.

Many companies still have a long way to go in understanding how to engage in their audiences’ micro-moments. By designing content and processes around their customer journeys, and ensuring those phases are connected, leveraging smart technology, we can provide a personalised and rich shopping experience that will improve engagement and conversion.