Micro-moments are “intent-driven moments of decision-making and preference-shaping that occur throughout the entire customer journey.” Identifying micro-moments and the tactics that sync buyer intent with information that integrates with that intent is challenging in and of itself. Successful micro-moment marketing requires accurately understanding your buyer’s decision-making process both on- and off-line, identifying the correct tactic to pre-dispose the buyer toward your brand, and creating the metrics and reporting systems necessary to measure success.
Manufacturers who use multi-step distribution and dealer networks are additionally challenged.
Manufacturers of consumer goods, for example, may have multiple distribution channels including online, big-box, and regional retail stores. Traditional market-share models often rely on allowing the seller to create awareness and drive sales independently or on using co-op to support sales efforts. Either way, the manufacturer often yields some degree of brand-perception control to the direct seller (either intentionally or inadvertently).
The result is a marketing strategy that leaves tactics that can impact micro-moments either overlooked or completely controlled by a third party.
In today’s battle for consumer mindshare, this can be a damaging proposition. Consider the Google/Ipsos study that states: “Of Smartphone users, 82% consult their phones while they’re standing in a store deciding which product to buy. One in 10 of those end up buying a different product than they had planned.”
Manufacturers who have abdicated their online presence (or in-store cycle of engagement) to the dealer / retailer may find themselves at a disadvantage in impacting the buyer during the in-store search/validation/confirmation process. Imagine a consumer preparing to make a large furniture purchase. Forget the micro-moments that have come before the moment when the buyer finds himself or herself in the store evaluating options. Consider instead the moment that is most likely to impact the decision process now.* What has your brand done to ensure that the buyer is predisposed toward your product in the here and now? Many manufacturers will answer: “well, nothing.” Or worse still, “I don’t know. My dealer handles that.”
Assuming that impacting the buyer in this moment – and other moments that occur throughout the consideration/research/validation/confirmation process – matter to your brand and its sales success, what should you do?
Initial steps should include:
- Research your brand’s presence online when the buyer is at the point of purchase**. What would you see if you were standing on site deciding between two brands, between two styles, between two different types of materials, whatever applies to your product? In that moment of validation, what would your buyer “see?”
- Relentlessly dig for and analyze your reviews. We find that too many marketers are not as fully oriented around the need for review-management as they should be. Consumer reliance on reviews continues to grow in many categories. You must understand what your review status is, if you are abdicating reviews to third parties, if you have serious online perception issues and what gaps need to be filled if you want to successfully predispose a buyer toward your brand. We highly recommend proactive review management strategies but the first step is to know where you stand and what needs to be leveraged or remedied.
- Validating potential online marketing tactics. If you’re just getting started, hone in on one or two moments of decision-making that you believe you can impact. Which tactics will integrate with those moments? Coordinate with dealers, use customer surveys, engage sales teams for insight or use online data to help make your determinations.
Long-term success will involve mapping the total scope of micro-moments, creating partnerships with your distribution channel to ensure cohesive brand-perception control, and more. But the above will get you started on your journey.
*We don’t want you to forget the moments prior to the in-store experience – not really – but we must focus on the now, as the consumer is doing!
** Depending on your geographic footprint local search strategies may need to be applied.