Are You There in The Zero Moment of Decision?

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Want-to-know moments. Want-to-go moments. Want-to-do moments. Want-to-buy moments. They’re all micro-moments, and they’re the new battleground for brands.

There is no doubt that mobile has forever changed the way we live, and naturally it’s forever changed what you and I expect of the brands that we use and those which want us to use them. It has definitely fractured the buying journey into hundreds of real-time, intent-driven micro-moments. Of course, each one is a critical opportunity for brands to shape our decisions and preferences. We no longer get online; We LIVE online. Even our televisions haven’t escaped. We now have smart televisions that can connect to the internet itself or through a HDMI cable to a computer.

We used to be very good at print ads and telling our story on paper and then came radio and then television and we have adapted our means and method of sharing our story of why you want to buy from me and why my product or service will solve your challenge. Then comes along the internet and here we go again. We must learn a new way to share our story and it is getting more difficult to compete in a busy marketplace filled with brands vying for your attention and you have so much more power to gain information before making a purchase than ever before. We are now in the mobile age and who knows what will be next?

How do we assist people / consumers with their buying decisions? We have so much more access to information that it can be a challenge to sift through it all. As a buyer, I may be in a store and see a new product that catches my eye and I think of how it may fill a need or want. If I’m with someone, I will ask for his or her input. I will get on my smartphone. At that point, I am in the moment. I am acting on my needs in-the-moment. I don’t know about you, but in that moment of a possible purchase, my expectations are high and our patience is low. This makes the relevance, quality, and usefulness of marketing more important than ever. I can’t rely on a salesperson at this point, because I’m in one of the big box retailers and the sales staff is probably a young person making minimum wage who doesn’t know much about the product and is counting the minutes to the next break.

Have you been in this situation? Our preferences and purchases are shaped in these micro-moments. Ultimately, the brands that do the best job of addressing our needs in each moment will win.

According to Google Internal Research:

  • 82% of smartphone users use their phone to influence a purchase decision while in the store!
  • 62% of smartphone users are more likely to take action right away toward solving an unexpected problem or new task because they have a smartphone.
  • 90% of smartphone users have used their phone to make progress toward a long term goal or multi-step process while “out and about.
  • 91% of smartphone users turn to their phone for ideas while doing a given task.

So what can you do as a marketer to be there when I am ready to buy or persuade me toward your brand over another?

First you will need to determine what moments take place preceding as well as within the buying cycle. From these various moments, determine which set of moments you want to win or can’t afford to lose. It’s very important that you examine each step of the consumer journey to map out all of the moments when people want to or could find inspiration to learn about your service or, products, make a quick purchase in your store, or anything in between.

Next, think of what you would do as a consumer in those moments. Put yourself in their shoes to better understand their perspective so you can see opportunities to improve that moment for them. One example off the top of my head is that Starbucks created an iPhone app for their customers to pre-order drinks. This is fantastic for people who may be close and want to cut time in line. The drawback is that I’m not an iPhone owner so I still have to wait in line or be with a friend who has an iPhone.

This leads to my next point, which is TIMING. Leverage the various contextual signals like the location of the person and the time of day to deliver the type of experiences and messages that will feel tailor-made for that precise moment. Back to my Starbucks example above, let customers searching or working nearby your stores know when the products they preordered available for pickup in the store or if they’re searching for a product, let them know you have it in stock with inventory ads through AdWords or even create an app that does that same thing. In the case of coffee, it probably wouldn’t be that long though, but other things like non-food items would work well.

Let’s take this a step further. Let’s say I’m in your retail store and comparing brands. Why not create an app where I can scan the product using my smartphone and it pulls up customer reviews and ratings? In one internal Google study, more than half of millennials surveyed said they check product reviews on their phones while shopping in a store—and YouTube has become a top source for reviews.

Be careful about participating in review or rating sites. Many of these as you may already know are pay for play or to be more blunt, pay us $ X amount and you get a rating of X. Pay a little more and no other competitor can place an ad on your profile page. Well people are getting savvy to this and are turning off that website as unreliable. Instead, focus on obtaining real reviews and enticing customers to write them on your Google plus page, so it also shows up on natural searches. Sites like Yelp and Manta and Top10 fill in the blank sites are losing credibility with us.

People are on mobile devices as well as tablets and Desktops. Their search may start on mobile and end on a desktop and lead to an in store visit. Be prepared. Your message needs to be optimized for all channels. If you are using AdWords, then go into your Ads tab and select segments. From here you have options to see which keywords are causing your ads to show as well as which type of device. This gives you the information to better tailor your ads to people searching for that product or service.

So hopefully this gives you some ammunition to take your message to the public in an even more effective manner and you will start seeing greater results. Of course you want to make sure you are tracking and measuring everything in your AdWords and Google Analytics interface so you can justify your decisions with verifiable data to the CEO and CFO.

I hope you enjoyed the article and got some value from it. Please leave comments and any suggestions for future posts!

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