The customer journey has evolved. It’s all about the micro-moment now.
Our Chief Marketing Officer, Mark Floisand, and Verndale Strategy Director, Kirsten Leshko, recently hosted a webinar for marketing leaders to help them master the micro-moments in their customer journeys.
What is a micro-moment? According to Sridhar Ramaswamy from Google, “micro-moments occur when people reflexively turn to a device—increasingly a smartphone—to act on a need to learn something, do something, discover something, watch something, or buy something. They are intent-rich moments when decisions are made and preferences shaped.”
In times when the customer experience has become “omnichannel,” organizations have focused on capitalizing on every platform to get in front of customers, but may have lost sight of these micro-moments on the website. Customers expect personalized and relevant content that matches their context. In fact, 55 percent of consumers and 75 percent of business buyers expect personalized offers, according to the Huffington Post.
In an example from the travel industry, of leisure travelers who are smartphone users, 69 percent search for travel ideas during spare moments, like when they’re standing in line or waiting for the subway. Nearly half of those travelers go on to book their choices through an entirely separate channel, according to Google.
To capitalize on these, Kirsten recommended shaking up the customer journey mindset. “We are moving from the predictable customer journey to one that capitalizes on their needs in every single moment. Your customers want to learn, want to know – and they want it now,” she explained. “These are intent-rich moments. They have a specific need in that moment that you need to meet.”
Context is critical to understanding these events. Marketers investing in “personalization strategy” may not understand that they are really investing in relevance. If it’s not relevant, it’s not a personalized experience.
“Relevance is central to personalization,” he said. “There is a difference between me ordering flowers to my office for the next day at 9 a.m. and me ordering them at 5:30 p.m. from my office. The difference is me forgetting an anniversary.”
Every search query and behavior on your website is your potential customer telling you what content is relevant to them.
Let Data Be Your GPS, But Watch Your Blind Spots
The micro-moments of your customer journey are often your “blind spots” that are often missed in your analysis of how your website meets customers’ needs, an issue when the customer journey is increasingly being driven by the micro-moment. Your prospects are doing more research on their own. By 2020, Forrester predicts that 80 percent of the buying process is expected to occur without any direct human-to-human interaction.
Site search is a major blind spot for many marketers – despite the fact that site search users are 216 percent more likely to convert, according to Kissmetrics.
“Everyone uses search. We grew up with search and we are used to finding what we need,” Mark said. He also pointed out that with mobile screen sizes, it’s crucial that the most relevant content comes up first.
Between search, mobile apps and other digital platforms, the customer journey is no longer linear for your customers. With so much research happening before the interaction and the “Veruca Salt” mindset of micro-moments, an “infinite loop” now replaces the linear content journey. Marketers who are still using the ‘linear journey’ model miss out on the micro-moments of conversion.
Kirsten recommended the following steps to shifting your mindset to micro-moments:
- Marry traditional channels with micro- touch points, such as email marketing, SEM, social media, push notifications, chat bots, onsite search terms, etc.
- Gather data, analyze and extrapolate trends in user behavior
- Inject some empathy – ”If I were having a ‘Veruca’ moment, what would I do?”
- Synthesize data and form hypotheses—marketing towards those ‘blind spots’ may require experimentation based upon hypotheses you extrapolate from data
- Create tailored messaging for each stage and/or decision point
- Measure, refine, rinse, and repeat!
Site search is an important avenue to facilitate your shift to the micro-moment mindset. AI-powered site search allows you to personalize content to the user by understanding their intent and context, and providing the content that is right for them.
Mark closed by explaining why it’s more important than ever before to upgrade your site search personalization strategy. Because of the dominance of predictive and relevant search experiences in the consumer space from Amazon, Google and others, your website visitors have high expectations of site search. Basic, keyword-matching search will no longer meet their expectations. By 2020, 51 percent of consumers and 75 percent of business buyers expect companies to anticipate their needs and make relevant suggestions, according to the Huffington Post.
The Coveo Relevance Maturity Model shows the typical journey of a company as it moves beyond basic, keyword-matching search to relevant and personalized experiences. As companies move through the stages of relevance, they are better able to meet website visitors’ needs – and their own business outcomes.
As you get started with your personalization journey, make sure to use our checklist: “The Roadmap to Mastering the Micro-Moments to Build Your Customer Journey.” This short document quickly outlines your key action items to bringing your micro-moment driven customer journey to life.