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Why some moments matter more than others

Some moments matter more than others.

Well that’s a truism, for sure. It’s a fundamental truth of life and of love, so not surprisingly it’s also true of marketing, as the speakers at the Marketing Association’s Brainy Breakfast – “Engaging the Mobile-First Consumer” – told us this week.

The topic for the session was mobile marketing and the overriding message from all three speakers was that mobile = moments. Lots of moments in fact, as we typically interact with our smartphones in excess of 150 times per day. And while the increase in smartphone’s share of online sessions is increasing, the time per session is decreasing.

So the second truism is confirmation of the fact that our attention spans are fast approaching that of a goldfish. If you need more evidence, one in two people give up if a site takes more than 3 seconds to load on their phone. Shamefully, the average time to load is 22 seconds, so room for improvement there.

Steven Roach, agency development manager at Google Australia, supplied most of these statistics and intuitively they feel right. Plus, the evidence from the audience supported the theory that we live on, with, and by our phones, because despite the unsociably early start of the session, only one person raised their hand in response to the question “who hasn’t looked at their smartphone this morning?”  

Like the other speakers, Steven talked about mobile moments and, specifically, micro-moments as an opportunity for marketers to interact with and influence potential customers. Instead of intruding or annoying them, we can assist them by meeting their needs in those moments.

That we are in an age of assistance is unquestionable and the many micro-moments that occur during our day are the times when brands can be useful and provide the assistance people want. So truism three: we want to be helped. People don’t want to be interrupted, people don’t want to be startled with irrelevant messages but they do want information that helps them accomplish something.

What Steven described was in effect a continuum of ‘help’ which would include to learn, to discover, to find and to buy. So the “help to accomplish something” would need to take different forms, though the blue print is very similar: identify the need, deliver in the moment, and measure the moments that matter to your category/brand.

Steven acknowledged that there is an emotional component to these micro-moments and that people are loyal to their needs of the moment – he claims we are brand agnostic. This I don’t believe is a truism and it doesn’t feel right when we have already acknowledged that micro-moments are emotionally driven. We know that our relationship with brands is emotionally driven and, more importantly in this context, that what we feel about brands is largely unconscious. So it’s hard to marry that with the idea that in our emotionally driven micro-moments, brand salience and mental availability do not have any part to play.

Certainly, brands being judged by what they do, how they enable us to get stuff done, how they recognise our needs, and their ability to adopt a conversational rather than a didactic tone will go a long way to aligning with a mobile engaged audience. Delivering in the moment doesn’t just mean hitting someone with an ad or other content at the right time. Instead, it means delivering the right experience for that specific moment – emotional moment that is, not a time of day.

The customer experience will be judged on how we communicate with people in these micro-moments because customer experience isn’t confined to when they make a purchase or interact with a brand’s service centre or in some other way. And, customer experience is an integral part of the total brand experience. So the last truism is that brand mana works both ways – unconscious brand memories mean that people are not brand agnostic when these micro-moments occur and, equally, what we deliver to these moments is a component of brand experience that contributes to building the overarching brand memories.

So, let’s make the most of every moment and create great customer experiences as we assist people through the journey of their mobile engaged day.

Colleen Ryan is the head of strategy at TRA. 

This story first appeared at StopPress.

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