Intent-driven Marketing: Targeting The Fragmented Consumer Journey

Marketers are now faced with the rise of a new kind of consumer, one who is empowered by mobile, and eager to make decisions faster than ever. The spread of COVID-19 around the world has changed our lives and shifted our purchase patterns further. Brands are now working twice as hard to make their products available through multiple channels and in a manner that best appeals to their target audience.

With so much information available at the touch of a button, being able to understand consumer behaviour is essential to cut through the clutter. According to Google, 91% of smartphone users turn to mobile searches while in the middle of a task  — during a commute, in a waiting line, having a break in the pantry.

What used to be a linear and traditional customer journey is now small and fragmented. 69% of consumers agree that the quality, timing and relevance of the content are important contributors to how they perceive the brand. Marketers need to capitalise on these moments with immediacy and relevance to capture attention and make opportunistic conversions. 

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Defining Micro-Moments

Micro-moments — a term first coined by Google — are the intent-rich moments when consumers turn to their mobile devices or tablets to act on a specific need. A need could include wanting to find something, to learn something, to do something or buy something. 

These moments are fleeting in the customer journey. Brands that can pinpoint these micro-moments and feed into the consumer’s need for instant gratification will ultimately win the game. Take a look at some of the critical micro-moments you can capitalise on:

‘I-Want-To-Know’ Moments

I-want-to-know moments occur at the beginning of the customer's journey. Consumers are not necessarily looking to purchase something. They are simply searching for answers to their questions and many are turning to their phones to learn in that moment. Their query could be triggered by a passing thought, conversation, something they saw or heard. 

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What does it mean for your brand?

90% of smartphone users are not certain of the specific brand they want to purchase from when they begin their search online. This is an opportunity for your brand to capture their attention with bite-sized, informational content that is not sales-driven. Your leads are more than adept at conducting their research, they just want your brand to be able to facilitate that process. They do not want you to hard-sell your products. 69% of smartphone users are more likely to purchase from brands that help them easily find answers to their queries. Hence, it is crucial to focus on relationship-building rather than conversion at this stage to build brand trust. 

‘I-Want-To-Go’ Moments

I-want-to-go moments occur when a consumer has already encountered a product, service, or company, and wants to look for a specific location. The location could be an actual storefront, a landing page, a website and even an app. Queries are often followed by the phrase, “near me” — in fact, such searches have virtually doubled over the last few years. With the pandemic in full swing, shoppers have naturally made the shift from physical shopfronts to online platforms. But the principle of the matter remains — be discoverable if you want to do business. 

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What does it mean for your brand?

Ride on the momentum of this micro-moment by tapping on location-targeting ads and local SEO. Studies have shown that a brand can increase unaided brand awareness by 46% simply by appearing in mobile search ad results. Take note, if you are not searchable and not visible, you don't exist to the consumer. So make your brand known, tell them where you are, whether it's a physical or intangible storefront. Provide your leads with highly relevant store locations, inventory, and contact details within your app.  

For your mobile and online presence, make speed and user experience the top priority. When consumers encounter bad experiences on mobile, they are over 60% less likely to purchase from you. 53% of users would abandon your site if it takes more than 3 seconds to load. Making a good first impression is key, from creating a seamless, fuss-free purchase experience to a fast and user-optimised website. It’s also crucial to make avenues for seeking help or asking for more information readily available. Studies have shown that 90% of consumers would return to a helpful or relevant brand. Investing time in building a relationship with your consumers will pay off when they become your advocates and repeat purchasers. 

‘I-Want-To-Do’ Moments

In this micro-moment, the internet is transformed into a universal instruction manual or guide for everything. Consumers are looking to learn something new or searching for immediate help while trying to get a task done.

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It is all about the “how-to” at this moment as they could be finding all kinds of tips — from how to manage payroll trails more efficiently to increasing engagement for content. Video content plays an important role here as it aids in allowing the consumers to learn through step-by-step instructions. On Youtube, “how-to” videos are growing at a rapid rate of 70% year on year.   

What does it mean for your brand?

You should capitalise on this moment by leveraging search data and anticipating what prospective leads will search for. Pre-empt your consumers and provide frequently asked questions, educational guides and even tutorial videos to increase the value you can provide them.

‘I-Want-To-Buy’ Moments

I-want-to-buy moments cement a thought in a consumer’s mind; they are now focused on a particular sub-topic and are ready to purchase from brands that make it easy for them. Thanks to our smartphones, these moments can now happen anywhere, at any time; in the pantry, out on the streets, and even while they are on public transport. In I-want-to-buy moments, speed is key. 59% of smartphone users gravitate towards brands whose mobile channels allow them to make purchases swiftly. Consumers want instant gratification as they are making decisions quicker than ever before.

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What does it mean for your brand?

By delivering the right call-to-action in these moments, brands engage consumers who are more than ready to make a purchase. Speed is key and 70% of consumers would not hesitate to switch to competitor brands if your online touchpoints do not meet their expectations. Track your consumer’s behaviour and devise a new and simplified workflow to fire emails, or implement click-to-call ads to facilitate their needs at the moment. 

If you’re operating a retail store both offline and online, consider incorporating payment integration options offline and a seamless purchase experience online. Also consider rolling out referral mechanics to encourage your customers to become returning, loyal brand advocates.  

Connect The Dots

Micro-moments have fragmented the consumer journey, and given rise to new engagement touch points across platforms. Rather than occurring in a predictable, linear fashion, micro-moments are spontaneous and random in nature. As a marketer, it is critical to have an in-depth understanding of consumer behaviour and intent. Consolidate the data from your websites, social channels and blogs, identifying the critical insights that will inform your strategy. 

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For a more holistic approach to integrated marketing, consider adding earned media and speaking engagement into your marketing mix to boost visibility and credibility. Earned media gives you third-party credibility when someone — who is not paid to do so — promotes your brand; speaking engagements allows you to build rapport with your audience and establishes thought leadership. The successful brands of tomorrow understand, above all, that an integrated approach to understanding consumer behaviour will help them discover the best way to reach customers.

LAB360, a unit by award-winning independent consultancies RICE and AKIN, helps clients design, integrate, and innovate marketing and communications for business growth. If you would like to know how LAB360 makes the most out of the micro-moments that matter, talk to us here:

Written By Kitty Tan

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