Google’s “Micro-Moments” Highlight Fundamental Shift in Consumer Behavior

You know that feeling when you forget your phone? It’s a feeling of vulnerability and helplessness, as we have become increasingly dependent on that powerful little device. We expect to be connected to who and what we want to, and we expect to find answers and solutions to our problems on demand.

This has changed the way consumers make purchase decisions. The traditional consumer journey is now divided up into various real-time, intent-driven “micro-moments,” providing marketers the opportunity to identify and prepare for the exact moments right when a consumer reaches for their device.

Google has identified various insights driving overall micro-moments to showcase the variety of opportunities for marketers, many of which are applicable to the CPG category.

Google-Micro-Moments

  • People evaluate purchase decisions in-the-moment. When walking through a store, 82% of smartphone users turn to their phone to influence a purchase decision. More people are reaching for their phone to investigate products and prices than are actually asking for help from an associate in store.
  • People solve unexpected problems in-the-moment. 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.  If their dishwasher breaks, they will immediately go to their device to investigate the problem and the products and services that may provide a solution.
  • Micro-moments fill voids or lulls in time or complement multitasking. For example, people turn to their phones when waiting in line, commuting, walking, shopping, relaxing, and more.

As marketers, it is our job to identify how to add value to each of these micro-moments. We should consider what micro-moments are most important to our brand, and which provide an opportunity to highlight our product while making our consumers’ lives easier. How we create content and add value to consumers in each of these micro-moments can set us apart from our competitors.

To learn more about Google’s Micro-Moments, visit their research on Think With Google.

Originally posted on Digitally Approved, here.

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Where is social media going?

Now that it’s nearing the end of 2014, I’ve summarized my thoughts below:

  • People are spending more and more time connected. This is no longer a space that is an add-on for brands, it deserves attention, expertise, and resources. The brands who don’t realize this will be left behind and miss out on earned reach social media brings.
  • Many core platforms have become “pay-to-play” platforms focusing on reach rather than organic engagement. Facebook is now essentially an ad platform – content does not perform (and only reaches about 2% of an audience) without a paid boost. To be on the platform, you must have a budget.
  • The social space is becoming crowded and each platform now has a unique role for consumers. Repurposing the same content across various platform no longer works.
  • Consumers will have more power to control a product/brand in the future. They have opinions, they hijack campaigns, and they aren’t afraid to tell brans what they want. If you’re not listening to your consumers via social media, you better start now.
  • Content is influencing SEO more than ever before, and social media platforms provide more places to publish branded content.
  • The “internet of things” is something to think about when thinking about products and marketing campaigns. People are connected in a variety of ways, with a variety of devices – how to we touch our target consumer in all of these digital touchpoints?
  • Social Analytics can be used to make solid business predictions. We use social conversation data (volume, content) to make decisions on things like timing of campaign launches, or the next product innovations we can explore.

“An Interest in Pinterest”

So I’m sure you’ve heard. Pinterest is huge. I’m actually going to a meeting tomorrow to discuss the future of social media at Rutgers and am excited to bring up some ideas I have for us to use Pinterest (muhahaha).
I found this great slideshow  by @stedavies that explains, very simply and perfectly, what Pinterest is and does best. After reading about how  it’s driving more traffic to company websites and blogs than YouTube, Google+ and LinkedIn combined, according to a recent report from Shareaholic, I figured it was worth a post 😉

Content is key

Recently I’ve read some articles saying how poorly the majority of marketers work online. It’s as if they’ve lost all their skills when they touch a mouse. I think because this is more of a word of mouth communications tool that when used right, turns into a great marketing tool. This communications tool doesn’t exactly mean you can just pump out messaging all you want as a marketer. That to a user would be like watching a reel of commercials.

Give users value.
Content needs to not only attract the reader but needs to keep them engaged. Are you offering them a deal? An exclusive? Inside information? Expert advice? Networking opportunity? Why do they care to subscribe to you, follow you, listen to you?

I told my mom, a filmmaker passionate about her latest project, that for every 1 (“shameless”) plug she makes, she should interact with 3-5 people publicly, or answer questions, or make an editorial comment 3-5 times. She is an expert in her field, has amazing resources and surrounds herself with incredibly knowledgeable people. By sharing this knowledge and expert insight into the issues she films, she is able to attract and retain an audience who may look at her work.

Content, content, content.
Comment on things! React to the users! Give an opinion, a voice, a quote, an idea. Whatever your industry or field, creating interesting and engaging content will keep your audience more engaged and loyal.

Re: The Future of the Social Media Strategist

I need Mashable like I need air. It is my source for all things social media and technology, and @mashable is probably my most frequent re-tweet on Twitter. And 99% of the time, I agree with what Cashmore and his team says. This morning I found an article that is borderline in that 1% so I thought I would share.

This morning I read the article on Mashable called “The Future of the Social Media Strategist” which stated:

Jeremiah Owyang, an industry analyst with digital strategy consulting firm Altimeter Group, interviewed 140 enterprise-class social strategists for a report on the “Career Path of the Corporate Social Strategist” that hit the web last November. The report found that most interviewees believe that the social strategist role will ‘fade into the background as social technologies become a ubiquitous communication channel among consumers and companies.’

The article suggests that as people in organizations become more accustomed to and understanding of social media for their business, this skill will be absorbed and used by everyone in these organizations, and ‘social media experts’ won’t be needed anymore. Maybe it’s that I am hoping this isn’t true because I want my next job to be in a social media agency, or maybe it’s because I work in a place where many people still don’t understand or use social media. In any event, although I agree that this will probably happen (and should happen) over time, I do not think this will happen any time soon and here are a couple of reasons why.

1. Many people still aren’t on board.
The experts who are quoted are ones who are well-versed in social media and spend much of their time immersed in it – I know because of their titles. There are still many companies who don’t want to embrace it or don’t know anything about it. I don’t know how many business owners I have spoken with who have said “Yeah, I have a Facebook account. Now what?” and this is still happening, and it is 2011. Personally, I don’t think the idea of social media marketing has fully caught on yet. There is a lot of room for growth. Being immersed in social media blinds you to the reality that the majority of our execs are still too stubborn to understand it or think it is more than just a fad. TRUST me, I am on your side.  I would like to believe that one day everyone will be on board. But I currently work in traditional marketing and PR, and having working in traditional PR firms, marketing agencies, and now in a nonprofit in higher ed, I have found it very difficult to still communicate the need to budget time and money for social media strategy under marketing (and my target market is 18-35, go figure!)

2. There is still a need for a consistent voice representing your brand in social media.
First, this is a basic PR principle. Why in a crisis do we assign a spokesperson with one message, even in large companies that have branches all over the country or world? People need to hear one consistent, clear voice or message.  Second, this is a branding principle. You want your messages to be consistent with your brand that you’ve developed over decades. And this kind of management takes a lot of time — and in my opinion warrants a position or team at many organizations. In my opinion, a major problem with social media work being done today is the inconsistency of voice because marketing managers are throwing interns who are in companies for 6-8 weeks into the social media management and not hiring someone full-time to manage it. Call the position what you want, but it is needed today in business and brand management is needed. Social media is just a new way to communicate, it doesn’t change the basic principles that will always apply.