When mapping a customer journey, we typically consider how a customer moves (or can be motivated to move) from one phase to the next. Starting with consideration, through conversion, and eventually on to post-conversion (loyalty), we determine what channels, experiences, content, and campaigns can support customers at each phase.

Mobile is not a context.

As part of the journey mapping process, I’ve often reminded clients that mobile is not a context. In other words, we can’t define experiences by saying things like, “Customers are in a hurry on their mobile devices” or “Customers would never do that on a mobile device." It’s not always true. Customers are likely on mobile devices in the store aisle, but also on their couch at home. They could be quickly looking up product information or a price comparison, or they could be leisurely reading about a product they just saw on TV while watching the evening news. Mobile is a part of every channel a user interacts with.

Google recently released a report, “Your Guide to Winning the Shift to Mobile," that describes how mobile infiltrates the customer journey through interactions they term “micro-moments”:

"Micro-moments are critical touch points within today’s consumer journey, and when added together, they ultimately determine how that journey ends.”

By addressing the micro-moments in your customer journeys, you’ll create fuller, more seamless end-to-end experiences. By missing these opportunities, you’ll open the door for another brand to appease your frustrated customer through a better experience. 

Be there, be useful, be quick.

Google says to effectively address the micro-moments in your customer journey, your brand must:

  • be there (when the customer needs you)
  • be useful (help and inform, don’t distract)
  • be quick (load web pages quickly, make info easy to find)

Be there

My colleague recently visited Seattle and needed a snow suit for her trip. Being from Atlanta, where it rarely snows, she had no idea how to shop for a snow suit. She searched “how to buy a snow suit” hoping to find an article with links to products, but she found very little information to help her.

How easy it would be for a company that sells snow suits to write a quick article about shopping for gear and then linking to their product pages! The cost of effort would surely be less than the sales it generates. 

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Further, most customers aren’t thinking of a brand when they’re looking for this kind of information. Notice my colleague didn’t search for “[brand name] snow suits.” Google notes that not only are customers rarely settled on a brand they want, but they also discover new brands through search.

 

Google identifies four key micro-moments for when brands need to “be there” for customers:

I want to know
Someone is exploring or researching, but not yet in purchase mode. They want useful information and maybe even inspiration, not the hard sell.

I want to go
People are looking for a local business or are considering buying a product at a local store. Being there means getting your physical business in their consideration set in that moment.

I want to do
These may come before or after the purchase. Either way, these are “how to” moments when people want help with getting things done or trying something new. Being there with the right content is key.

I want to buy
These are huge, of course. Someone is ready to make a purchase and may need help deciding what or how to buy. You can’t assume they’ll seek you out; you have to be there with the right information to seal the deal.

Look at your brand and what you have to offer to customers. Then think about what makes sense for your relationship with your customers. Can you offer how-to videos? In-store inventory information? Buying guides or product reviews? 

Make a list of all the potential ideas on how to address each type of micro-moment. Then evaluate each one based on feasibility and appropriateness for your brand.

Be useful

It’s not enough to be there for a customer. You have to provide relevant, helpful information. Someone considering whether to purchase solar panels for their home needs more than a sales pitch or a banner ad. They need to know why solar panels help, how easy (or not easy) it is to install them, how solar energy is stored, and so on. Give them helpful information, and they’ll think highly of your brand.

In regards to micro-moments, being useful means offering the right content in the right way at the right time. Consider your brand and products. Does a how-to video make more sense than a written buying guide? Or maybe your brand could benefit from offering both. What kind of information does a customer want to consume while standing in the store aisle? while driving to the store? while sitting on their couch?

Be quick

For any channel speed is important, and it’s impacted by technology (e.g., server response times, etc.) and design (e.g., form length, click to call, etc.) On mobile, however, speed is crucial.

It doesn’t matter how great your content or products are if your customers won’t hang around long enough to experience them.

Learn more.

In addition to their in depth report on micro-moments, Google also offers case studies and articles about the topic. Check out their Micro-Moments Guide for more information and to follow this important trend.

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