The advent of mobile has changed the way we, as consumers, consume both information and products. At the same time, new ways in which brands market to their constantly-connected consumers are also conceived every day – and the number of different touchpoints connecting consumers to brands have increased tremendously.
Sales-driven messages may have worked well for you, but with consumers staying connected round the clock, these messages have more or less dwindled into nothing more than today’s equivalent of letterbox spam.
Mega-brands today are beginning to understand that, and have started to focusing their marketing efforts on the consumer’s psyche themselves. This results in being consumer-centric and messages crafted around their INTENT.
Here’s a familiar scenario which might put things more clearly.
A Day in The Life of Regina
While waiting for the barista to be done with her morning latte at Starbucks, Regina scrolls through her Facebook feed on her phone. An ad from cosmetics brand Benefit catches her eye – introducing the latest Benefit Brow collection. She is suddenly reminded that her eyebrow pencil is almost running out. But before she can explore further, her latte is ready, and she puts her phone away and heads back to the office.
While taking a break at work, she is on her desktop and Googles for the latest “Benefit Brow Collection”. She much prefers to do her research on a larger screen as she’ll be able to compare more information at once. The reviews online also sound good to her, but she has some work to rush. “I’ll just buy it at home tonight.”
Before she turns in for the night, she browses on her iPad and tries to find the best deal for the item she wants. She checks out at Sephora’s website, but realises that her credit card is in her wallet in the living room. “Urgh, I’m all comfortable now. Let me just get it tomorrow.
The next day, Regina remembers that she has to fly to Jakarta for a business trip two weeks later. “I’ll buy it at the airport instead.”
A Fragmented Journey
We’re all Reginas in each of our own purchasing journeys. We use different platforms for different intents, and have different objectives at different times of the day. If Regina had been pushed with a promotional code for the Benefit Brow Collection right from the start, she might have checked out immediately with the added incentive, or totally ignore it if her eyebrow pencils weren’t just running out yet.
Brands have to start seeing the potential of mobile and social media as. more than just a sales promoter and digital billboards, but as a valuable touchpoint and shopping assistant to their customers
While the total number of sales seem tempting and logical to be the sole KPI, not all platforms are suitable for sales, sales, sales. Consumers these days are smart – us marketers are customer ourselves, and we know we certainly wouldn’t appreciate a brand if they post nothing but sales-related content.
What’s important is that the intent of the customer has to be understood, and we do not want to be pushing out the wrong messages to the wrong people at the wrong time. As in the example above, consumers take many routes before the actual purchase at the end, so think about how you’re able to aid them in each channel.
Discover the Micro-Moments
Now armed with supercomputers in our pockets, our lives are pretty much immersed in mobile usage. Ask around and you’ll hear descriptors like ‘my phone’s attached to my hip’, ‘my butler’, ‘feel naked without it’. Almost a third of us are also willing to admit that we actually get anxious when our phones aren’t with us (the number’s definitely a lot larger than just 30% around our office).
Even though our phones are by our side all day (and all night), statistics show we check them 150 times a day, but for only 177 minutes in total. That’s certainly shorter than a moment –Google knows this, and describes these new behaviours as what they call micro-moments.
Micro-moments are not linear in nature, and consumers can experience several micro-moments on their purchasing journeys – anytime, anywhere. The four types of moments are:
1. I-WANT-TO-KNOW Moments
Consumers all seek useful information about the product. Whenever we’re faced with doubt, or if we require more facts, we’d typically whip out our phones and hit search on Google almost immediately. Typical behaviours include searching for reviews of a particular product while in the physical retail store, or comparing between products to look for the best one for their needs.
How can brands capitalise: Brands should make use of this by offering bite-sized content in mobile-optimised formats – ensuring users get just the right amount of information they need at any point in time. A total of one in three users have actually purchased from a brand only because it provided information in the moment they needed it.
Ads can also be used to target such behaviours. Keywords like “patchy eyebrows”, “perfect eyebrows” can be possible targeting options, leading users straight to your websites based upon these search intents, to understand more about your product. Consumers gravitate towards these snackable content, and 69% of these users also become more likely to purchase from a brand providing answers for their questions.
Even if your brand is still invested in traditional ad media such as TVCs, here’s a stat for your bosses – 66% of smartphone users turn to their smartphones to learn more about a product they just saw on a TV commercial. Consumers are only curious, and it’s up to us to feed them the information they crave.
Think about the last time you were in an unfamiliar neighbourhood and you’re unsure what to have for lunch. Chances are you searched for “restaurants near me” on Google right away. Such “near me” searches increased by two-fold just over the past year, and with advancements in location-based technologies, we can also be sure that it will only increase.
How can brands capitalise: Show consumers that you’re nearby when they search for local businesses, restaurants or products. Location-targeting ads can also be used to ride on the momentum of such behaviours.
Even by purely appearing in mobile search ad results, studies have also shown that you can increase brand awareness by as much as 46%. Such ads also aid brands in reaching out to a completely new audience, with more than half of them discovering a new company or product by simply searching on their smartphones.
All of us aren’t experts at odd tasks – be it baking, fixing a faulty tap, or changing a spare tire. ‘How-to’ as a content type is the most turned-to in such scenarios, and aids consumers greatly with these unfamiliar or new tasks. This is also where video as a medium comes in especially useful, as it allows consumers to pick something up at their own pace – evident by the 70% increase in such ‘how-to’ searches on YouTube year-on-year.
How can brands capitalise: By offering simple ‘how-tos’, frequently-asked questions (FAQs) and tutorial videos, brands can increase the value they provide their consumers. These valuable information can even be used in exchange for something from the consumers – as lead generation tools for their email addresses.
Lastly, consumers’ decisions to purchase are now not restricted to just a POS at your physical brick-and-mortar. They could be at home, in the car, at work, or on vacation. There hasn’t been a time where customers are more kings than they are today, and they should be empowered to purchase in whatever way suits them at the moment.
How can brands capitalise: Brands can create offers for users who have already indicated their purchasing intents. By tracking user behaviours, simple automated workflows can be set up to fire emails with discount codes for users who have, for example, visited your product pages three times in the last month. This quickly pushes the consumers down the funnel, sealing the deal.
To supplement your physical stores, brands can also utilise mechanics to affirm their purchases. Numbers show that 82% of all smartphone users consult their phones while in-store and mid-decision through their purchase.
Connecting the Dots
While these micro-moments are reflective of actual consumer behaviours in today’s world, most brands still fail to understand the importance of connecting the dots across all their platforms. To put this into perspective, statistics show that mobile search users are more likely to enquire and visit a physical store (and eventually make a purchase), and similarly while in store, as previously mentioned, a good four out of five also turn to their devices to make a product decision.
Micro-moments are not platform-specific nor even department-specific. With a focus on intent, it is based on the consumer – and this makes it every channel’s job. The consumer decision journey is made up of a string of these critical micro-moments, and your marketing strategy is what ties everything together.