How can we reach consumers during “micro-moments”?

Darja Grabeljšek / / Inbound Marketing

Micro-moments determine an increasing number of life decisions these days. Even a few years ago we were still talking about in-depth decision-making processes and paths to purchase, whereas today the customer’s path from the moment a purchase need arises to the actual purchase is increasingly more variegated.

Can you recall the days when you had to keep a bunch of telephone numbers in your head? As long as we had to dial every telephone number each time, we had no trouble remembering half of our contact list. Now we know our own number and maybe that of a close relative or two, whereas the rest are stored in our cell phone’s contact list.

The same thing has happened with buying habits, research, and purchase decisions. Extensive catalogs of information we used to store in our heads have been replaced by searches for consumer needs in this (micro) moment. At any given moment we can take a look at a video showing how to pitch a tent during our vacation or at a list of good restaurants nearby, or purchase a product we need online.

We have to change the way we understand purchase decisions

If we want to get in touch with consumers, we have to adapt to the way they look for information. Customers who want to know the opening hours of a nearby restaurant don’t want to and don’t have the patience to read essays on the restaurant’s history.

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Micro-moments can be divided into four key groups covering the majority of impulsive or fleeting contacts companies establish with customers using mobile devices:

  • I-want-to-know moments.
  • I-want-to-do moments.
  • I-want-to-go moments.
  • I-want-to-buy moments.

I want to know

These are moments when we’re looking for the answer to a question. Research shows that 90% of cell phone users make long-term decisions in a batch of many small moments. Purchasing a new car happens in 1,000 small installments: during lunch break, at the bus stop, while waiting in a line at a store. When making major decisions, customers spend more time educating themselves, but this takes place in increasingly scattered and disconnected moments. The content these customers are looking for is educational and provides direct and transparent answers to their questions.

Have you published content that helps these customers find simple answers? Do customers have clear and easy access to this content?

I want to do

When you buy one of those modern pop-up tents, you feel infinitely pleased. Five minutes after you arrive at the campsite, you’re all set and ready to go and you wonder why you didn’t go down to the beach straight away and pitch the tent later when it got dark. When your vacation is over, the reality hits you. While throwing your tent up in the air with a big grin on your face, you forgot to look at how it had been folded up into that matchbox-size bag. What will you do after twenty minutes of unsuccessful folding and turning? You’ll look for a video online that will show you how to pack up your tent.

If you want to communicate in micro-moments like these, you have to identify your customers’ questions. Here the customer support or sales department can help the most because it can tell you what questions keep coming up regularly on the market when customers face a difficult or unclear challenge.

I want to go

These micro-moments are typical of customers who decide to make an unplanned visit to a location. This includes searching for restaurants nearby, hospitals, browsing movie theater schedules on cell phones, and looking for stores, hotels, and the like.

These searches are characterized by the low occurrence of brands. When people are on their way somewhere and decide to go to a restaurant, they don’t have only one restaurant in mind, but are prepared to go to the nearest well-reviewed restaurant. Searching for the nearest pharmacy also doesn’t involve differentiating between different pharmacy chains. These searches have a significant impact on sales itself because when customers look for services nearby, that means they have decided to go to a place and make a purchase. Unlike the previous moments, this moment is the one that brings a customer through the door the fastest.

Do you present the prices and instructions for visiting your point of sale clearly to these searchers? Can they even find you if they search online by location and not your company name?

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I want to buy

This involves visits that are completely purchase-oriented. When an electric kettle breaks, the customer is instantly ready to make a purchase. These are low-cost purchases that take place instantaneously.

These types of customers are often willing to purchase a more expensive product. Ultimately, the price is the only bit of information that clearly distinguishes similar products on the shelf from one another. Customers have discovered the difference in price and decided to compare the products and look at the user reviews. Such customers look for reasons to buy a more expensive product if, of course, they can find convincing information about its advantages online.

Have you suitably facilitated the process of buying your products? How much effort have you put into posting information that clearly distinguishes your products from similar ones, and how easy it is to find positive reviews from your users?

When customers look you up on their smartphones, they have pretty clear questions in mind

At the same time, they expect simple and quick answers to these questions. If they don’t get them from you, they’ll go back online and get their answers from your competition. Outrun your competition and be the first to offer a fast and useful answer to the customer. The list above should serve as guidance and help, but don’t forget that every company has its specifics. Think about your customers’ needs and micro-moments, and perhaps you’ll come up with yet another category.


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