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Living in the micro-moment

16 May 2019
Sarah Marks

The four steps companies must take to drive value from micro-moments

Since Google first introduced them to the world, micro-moments have caused quite a stir in marketing circles.

The concept is simple, but significant. Micro-moments are the ‘intent-rich’ moments when a consumer turns to a device to act on a need – to find out something, to buy something, to do something or to go somewhere.

The idea reflects some much bigger changes in consumer behaviour. Empowered by technology, and usually with a smartphone in their hand, today’s consumer is fast-moving, fickle and in control. They decide when and where they want something – a freedom that drives fragmented and unpredictable patterns of behaviour.

Google data reflects these behavioural trends clearly. People are constantly seeking information to inform even the smallest decisions, with significant increases in ‘best’ searches – from shoes to restaurants to films. And increasingly consumers are looking for very personalised recommendations, with searches including personal language like ‘me’ and ‘I’ all on the up. Whatever they are searching for, people want the most relevant and personal results in every situation.

Brands have had to respond. Gone are the days of linear customer journeys and one-size-fits-all marketing campaigns. Today, customer experience (CX) is king – the experience brands can deliver for their customer no matter the time, place, or platform. Consumers expect a brilliant, relevant and hyper-personalised experience every time, on every channel – and in every micro-moment.

With 69%* of customers more loyal to travel companies that personalise their online and offline customer experiences, the prize is clear for the brands that can capitalise on micro-moments. Personalisation creates a clear competitive advantage for the companies that deliver value in every customer interaction.

*Google, Traveler Attitudes and Behaviours

Micro-moments are now a key battleground for brands

As Google puts it: brands have to be there, be useful and be accountable. With some customers, it might be the only chance they get. And when you add up the micro-moments happening in a day, hour or even minute, you start to appreciate the size of the opportunity – and the risk of not getting it right.

But there’s a problem. Like many ideas that set the marketing hype train in motion, the reality has failed to keep pace. Companies recognise that CX must play an integral role in the way they now do business, and that micro-moments are an important part of that – but few are really grasping the opportunity.

The issue is that micro-moments are not something that can just be ‘turned on’. It’s not as simple as flipping a switch: fundamental change is required across a whole business. The micro-moment may be the crucial point of engagement – but it’s what’s happening behind those moments that makes profiting from them possible for brands.

So what exactly does a business need to do to become ‘micro-moment ready’?

We think there are four critical steps they must take:

  1. Set-up for CX: companies must set-up for CX at their core. This means reassessing organisational structure and business strategy, and building the right teams and skills to put CX at the heart of everything they do.
  2. Organise customer data: the value of data is well-documented. But most of it is still sitting around unorganised and unused. Businesses need to break down silos and centralise all their data to build a clear and comprehensive picture of each and every customer.
  3. Put the data to work: with the data in place, companies can then use analytics to understand the wants and needs of customers, based on their history with the business and their live context and activity.
  4. Aim for 1:1 personalisation: with all this infrastructure in place, companies are then in a position to use the best in decisioning and personalisation technology to interact with a customer in a hyper-personalised way on any channel – and in every micro-moment.

This is no small task. Taking personalisation to scale usually means managing huge amounts of data, overhauling teams and legacy technology, and redesigning a whole way of doing business. It’s a steep curve for many companies.

But while there are a lot of obstacles for personalisation, they are solvable. The technology is there. To get moving, often companies just need to understand where they are on their journey with personalisation, and have the right conversations at the right levels to build a strategy that is ambitious, but realistic.

Micro-moments – and other CX trends – have done a great job of bringing those conversations to the boardroom. Now it’s time for them to drive meaningful action. Fail to do so, and at best micro-moments will remain a wasted opportunity. At worst, companies risk being left behind.

About the author: Boxever is a personalisation platform that uses data and AI to help the world’s biggest brands make every customer interaction smarter and deliver game-changing customer experience. They do this in two ways. Firstly, Boxever build rich and accurate profiles of their customers using data from across their business. Then they use AI to automate decisions about how to personalise interactions on every channel and in every moment.

The result? Personal, relevant and valuable experiences for customers, and improved engagement, acquisition and conversion for the business. Since Boxever started back in 2011 they’ve been helping the likes of Emirates, Ryanair and AIB revolutionise how they engage customers. Seven years on, they’re now recognised by Gartner as a leading player in personalisation and ranked by Forbes alongside Google, Apple and Amazon as one of the most powerful examples of AI in use today.