As the working parent of a six year old, I take advantage of every opportunity to connect with my son, Max. Beyond the milestone moments of his childhood (taking that first step, starting kindergarten, learning to ride a bike), there are thousands of little moments that are just as valuable—everyday moments that I’ve learned to relish, remember, and be entirely present for. Every parent can relate: Late for school, your son is frantically searching for his misplaced textbook only to find you waiting at the front door with the book in hand. Or, your daughter tosses out an impromptu “why is the sky blue?” sort of question and you surprise yourself by knowing—and explaining perfectly—the answer. True parenting wins.
Isn’t it funny how, when we pay attention, principles from our personal and professional lives overlap? A recent report by Google eloquently captures the importance of these “micro-moments” from a marketing perspective. Defined simply, micro-moments are opportunities. Google describes them as “critical touch points within today’s consumer journey, and when added together, they ultimately determine how that journey ends.”
Let’s unpack that definition a bit: In our mobile-dominated world, users interact with their smartphones constantly (about 150 times per day, according to a 2013 Internet Trends report). We turn to our phones to kill time between appointments, to find the best place for lunch, to make travel arrangements, and to accomplish countless other major and minor tasks. Each interaction presents a fleeting chance—a micro-moment for institutions and organizations to engage with consumers; move them along in their journey; and add value by providing highly relevant, highly targeted content.
For colleges and universities, these micro-moments have the power to support some very macro goals. They’re opportunities to meet the needs of current or prospective students; build relationships; engage potential donors; market new programs; and, ultimately, enrich brands. To make the most of these moments, we must strive to know our key audiences better, anticipate their primary and secondary needs, and leverage technology in ways that support innovative micro-content distribution.
The Four Types of Micro-Moments
According to Google, micro-moments can be grouped into four main categories based on user priorities. Let’s explore each in the context of higher education marketing:
- I Want-to-Know Moments: In this pre-commitment moment, people are gathering facts and weighing options. This moment is all about supplying just the right information and maybe even a little inspiration about your school, its programs, and its capacity to change lives.
- I Want-to-Go Moments: In this micro-moment, audiences are actively trying to meet a need by physically exploring local options. For colleges and universities, seizing this opportunity could involve providing relevant academic program information, showcasing post-graduation employment statistics, or promoting an in-person campus tour.
- I Want-to-Do Moments: Occurring before or after a purchase decision, these moments are all about supporting and enriching how your brand is experienced. Here, audiences are trying to get something done, such as attend a school-sponsored event, learn more about graduate programs, or access course schedules.
- I Want-to-Buy Moments: Here, audiences are ready to commit; supporting them means supplying the information needed to get the job done quickly. Facilitate this process by focusing on task-based content with clear calls to action: learn more, apply now, and enroll.
When fully understood and embraced, micro-moments have the potential to create real value by supporting recruitment, enrollment, brand-building, and a host of other goals. As audiences become more reliant on the ever-evolving sets of mobile devices at their fingertips, opportunities to engage will likely become more fleeting and more valuable. Colleges and universities must be ready to respond with content that’s nimble and dynamic enough to keep pace.
At Stamats, we offer a full suite of services designed to help colleges, universities, and related organizations take full advantage of mobile marketing opportunities—micro-moments included. For more information, please call me directly at 319-861-5146 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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