GetResponse asked me to share a #marketingautomation tip on twitter. Love how they used it in this blogpost: http://ow.ly/IDq1301XUDU
Although Google seems to have coined the phrase, micro-moments are not a Google invention. You and I invented them by how we behave. And now it’s influencing marketing. Big time. How’s that possible for a word that still doesn’t exist in Wikipedia but gives over 43 million results when I seek it on Google?
So what are micro-moments really?
In the fragments of the lives we live today, they are best summed up as the stolen media moments in-between. Examples? The quick look at todays news while you’re on the bus on your way to work. The link you came across and clicked while you were really only checking a message on Facebook while waiting for a friend in a restaurant. The search you did in that same restaurant to figure out an item on the menu in French. And the reviews you checked on the way there to just to be sure. And then there’s that YouTube video you searched up at work to find out how the new microwave worked when the manual had already been lost. The list is endless for just one single day. Try it for yourself for a day – you might be surprised.
Some buzzword seekers try to limit it to a mobile phenomena. Which it is. But not just. Through the eyes of Google it may seem like a search thing. Which it is. but not just. It’s about how we behave, largely because of two things:
- Vast amounts of information available at our fingertips 24/7
- The fragmentation of our media consumption time into very small, specific pieces, largely as a result of availability
We jump in and out of media on one subject at a time, many times a day. Yes, we may sit down and read page by page or surf around once in a while, but at the end of the day, the majority of our media consumption is spent in many very small increments.
So what does this mean for pull marketing?
It means that pull marketing, aka. inbound marketing, is the only way to stay relevant to the consumer in these very short media moments. Now more than ever you need to match your marketing to where that consumers head is at that moment, as relevant as possible. Demographics and old fashioned targeting is much less important than what they wan’t at that moment. If my micro moment is playing a game while I wait for the bus, I wan’t to be entertained. It’s hardly the time to sell me insurance. But you can sell me other entertainment alongside that game. And if I’m seeking a restaurant in a given area, you might be able to hijack me to another. Or to a bar near by first. But probably not to an appliance store in another town.
Programatic will be key to micro-moment marketing
Obviously, It’s impossible to follow these micro-moments with marketing manually. This is one of the reasons why it’s such a Google thing – search is and has always been rigged for this. Search engine marketing has always been triggered by what you seek in any given moment. But that doesn’t mean other forms of marketing can’t maximise on the same benefits. Programatic offers vast new possibilities to target your advertising to consumers by what they are doing right now. A set of conditions can easily dictate what creative is served. But it requires a different way of thinking about developing good campaigns.
The need to let go
What will stop many marketers is the thought of making all the different creative formats. Already 13 banner formats for Google Display Ads seem daunting. Multiply that by various messages to be in the right place at the right time with just the right message and it can become overwhelming. There are simple programatic solutions that change content in ads depending on context, but that means less control of the look of the ad. Most likely we’ll have to sacrifice some visual control of the marketing to win contextuality. Will it mean less need for creatives? I don’t think so. We’ll just ´need a different kind of creative work. We’ll need those that thrive in imagining every possible customer journey and finding the right answer to the likely customers’ every possible request. Many of the best creators, as well as their clients, will probably have to let go of some visual control of the end result, to get rewarded with more complex, exciting conceptual work instead.
We want this because, when you think about it, the programatic marketing solutions available are only as great as the creative work we put into them. And with so little time, we want every micro-moment to be great, right?
Today, when we speak of content marketing, many think of it as something new and Internet related. It’s not, and here’s what we can learn from and old and surprisingly lean star.
Say content marketing, and most thoughts go straight to company blogs or social media marketing of web content. But if we look up the term content marketing in Wikipedia it’s defined as “any marketing format that involves the creation and sharing of media and publishing content in order to acquire customers”. Not only is that a lot more than web postings, it has existed as mass marketing since the 19th century.
The Michelin-guide showed the way
For example, have you thought about what an early and extremely successful example of content marketing the Michelin-guide is? It’s also a brilliant example of how to build content on something exciting outside the actual product to market it – completely without talking about the less exciting product. The Michelin guide was so successful that it grew from a company brochure to become a commercial success product in it’s own right, where the restaurants in today’s edition are hardly roadside fast food, and the competition to get in there is fierce. Foodies from all over the world plan entire road trips by the guide, and will probably arrive om Michelin tires since the tire manufacturer has grown to be one of the worlds top two and has become an international megabrand. Today the guide has long since gone viral with apps, interactive maps and other spin-off products. But what can the Michelin Guide in its most fundamental form teach us about digital content marketing? Here are three things:
- Always start with your target group, their needs and wishes.
Cars need tires, but cars don’t buy them – people do. For the majority of people, car tires are a low interest product. Most of us don’t think about them until we need new ones, and hope it’s not soon. We don’t like to have to buy them. The car enthusiasts are the exception, but they’re a tiny group compared to the total of car owners. So what if you instead look at a target group that goes for long drives and thereby wears out tires more frequently – what do that have in common? Sooner or later they have to stop for food! This you can know without asking (which was good for Michelin, since market research was a bit more cumbersome in those days). It addresses a primary need, universal to all humans who own a car. Thereby the guide solved a real problem for the target group long before McDonalds or the GPS could help you on your way. What is it you target group really needs or wants that indirectly sells your products?
- Writing about your product is not always the best way to sell it.
Users who drive a lot wear out their tires and need new ones more often. If your brand name is top-of-mind when they do, they’ll definitely consider or even chose you. Therefore the goal of the marketing was to make the target group want to drive more and longer – maybe even a detour. So why not write about restaurants so fabulous they are worth extra mileage? Not only does this give many more exciting things to write about, it is more interesting for the user on a continued basis. If you don’t care about the tires until you need new ones, how often would you want to read about them, really? I don’t know about you, but good food in great travel destinations I could read about every day, travelling or not. The competitors were probably all still only writing about the fabulous attributes of their tires while Michelin could soon laugh all the way to the restaurant.
So challenge yourself and step out of the brand you work for a moment. See if you have an equally unique perspective that is relevant to your product and marketing goals without talking about the product itself. Chances are, it will separate you from the rest – in a relevant way. And creating content will become much easier and more fun as well.
- Adjust the development continually based on response/ action.
The Michelin Guide started as a simple guide for roadside food in France but has developed into an international icon of the good life – and a status symbol. A promo from a tire producer – who would have thought? Many advertisers have trouble trusting the actions and advice from target group enough to act upon it. Having the target group change on you doesn’t make it easier (from mainstream to gourmet and broader again, in this case). Many things indicate that the Michelin brothers were visionary here as well – they kept track. On the company webpage we can read how André Michelin in 1920 found the then free guide from Michelin used to prop up an unsteady workbench in an auto shop and concluded that people only respect what they pay for. From there the guide went from being financed by advertising to becoming a purchase product without ads. To be worth the money the guide needed to be upgraded, and the rest is an historic evolution of a brand. Remind you of any Internett-startups you know? This shows a bold, user-centric approach, way ahead of it’s time. It’s also remarkably lean long before lean management and much less lean marketing was even thought of. To this day many advertisers refuse to trust the customer this much in spite of the fact that good, valid data is now right at their fingertips. Both gathering the data and using them in a meaningful, analytical whole is so much easier and safer today, so use it for all its worth.
Content Marketing is just so much easier now
With today’s Internet you have easy access to greater and more secure data, better and cheaper distribution channels and simpler follow-up and development. You also have a short way to many more customers in many more channels at once. So the next time you feel content marketing is just too much work, think of the Michelin Brothers going from auto shop to auto shop to see how their brochure is doing. You don’t have to visit a single customer to find out how your marketing works – you can reach out to all of them in seconds – even the ones you don’t have yet, across the globe.
All you have to remember is that still it’s all about generating valuable content that your target group will both need and share. All to keep you top of mind the next time they need what you have to offer.
Back in the day when I was an Advertising Art Director we believed that the initial creative process was best kept to the Art Director and Copy Writer in a tight-lipped little team. Creativity was our magic, and we pulled it out of magical brainstorming processes alone. Sure there was a brief, but the creative process went greatly unchecked by other than subjective opinions along the way until released. Since marketing effect couldn’t really be measured properly, each campaign was a fresh start to do something new, often with little learning from the previous campaign. Ah, the carefree fun we had!
data driven creativity is the future, like it or not
Surprisingly many still think this way, even with all the new measuring and testing possibilities we have today. They cling tightly to the idea that true creative marketing is a magical secret process that will only be corrupted by data and testing. Some fear the consumer won’t understand the idea before the campaign is finished, others argue that competitors will steal it if it’s out there. So they spend insane amounts of money producing fancy TV-campaigns with no idea wether they will fly or crash until production is done and media is spent. Meanwhile, lean marketers like Google are laughing all the way to the bank. Creatively, too.
So what is the flaw here?
1. The fancy ideas that win aren’t necessarily the creative ones. Nor are they the ones the customer wants. They tend to be what the team want to produce or what the client wants. In a lean process where you test early, you’ll often see that the best ideas will shine already in their roughest form because the idea stays in focus rather than the execution.
2. The advertiser puts all their eggs in one basket – with no proof of success. In a lean creative process you could test a lot of ideas at an early stage. Even the crazy ones you thought too wild. This can stir up some great creative processes. And sometimes, your customer will be ready for more than you think, and an idea that would never make it past the client will win the market over. Creatively.
3. They miss a great opportunity to be creative with their customers rather than against them. In todays social climate your ambassadors are the true gold. Involving your customers not only secures that the advertising speaks to them, it builds ownership and loyalty to the finished campaign. I am frequently surprised how eager consumers are to share great campaigns, especially the ones that involve real user input and involvement of all sorts. They don’t have to be as involved as the Old Spice 2010 campaign, but lean or not this shows the power of user involvement from an agency that dared. Would these commercials be as funny or viral if they had been invented by a professional team alone? I have my doubts.
A lean love story
Not surprisingly, Google took to Lean Marketing early. I remember when the Google concept Search On appeared on YouTube. A few full blown executions there later it was clear that one idea separated itself from the rest in terms of viewer engagement. The winner was Parisian Love, and it went on to become Google’s acclaimed first Superbowl ad ever. A low cost production with a huge following before it even aired. Now that’s fool proof creative and ad spending.
Let the data give creative freedom
Wether it’s previously gathered data on user behavior or it’s what you learn when you test your fresh ideas, it’s how you use it that determines weather it makes or breaks creativity. Used wisely it gives great opportunity to experiment and explore to create brilliant creative without wasting money. So
- Get to know your data (including the quirky details that inspire)
- test lots of ideas early, even the wild ones
- test often on real segments users
- Use what they say and do to refine your work
and you will have memorable campaigns and sustainable marketing at a low risk that your target group will love before they’ve even seen it.
In December I introduced Lean Marketing at 8 Minutes of Digital Marketing here in Oslo. As most of my short presentations the PowerPoint contained hardly a word. Now I’ve added a few and translated it all to English to share it with you.
Minimum viable Marketing presentation?
LEAN AND 8 MINUTES OF DIGITAL – THE PERFECT MATCH
Yesterday, while I was gathering inspiration and new digital marketing trend tidbits at the Ad:Tech New York conference, a great idea was presented that triggered another idea in my head, and I want to share it with you while it’s fresh. I think this can not only make us all better mobile marketers, but leaner marketers and communicators as well.
Tomorrow is mobile
One of the most inspiring sessions at todays ad:tech was Tomorrows Digital Landscape, an informal conversational interview between Dave Morgan of Simulmedia and Fred Wilson of Union Square Ventures. The latter is not only the source of great digital insight over decades, but has an extraordinary skill for drawing the big picture in such clear lines and plain language that you wonder why you hadn’t thought of it yourself. It was filmed and I highly recommend watching the full version. There were lots of tidbits throughout, but one particularly clear suggestion from Wilson caught my inspiration and triggered my imagination. One of the less surprising major trends throughout the conference is the importance of mobile, but Wilson has an interesting fresh approach to what to do: “Make a mobile app and make it the core of your web presence.” Instead of the usual gruelling stripping of the website to make it mobile friendly, this suggests starting with the simple and building on it for the web site. This boldly suggests that it’s better to scale up than down, and isn’t that so true for most situations in life really?
starting to smell like great lean
What if you combined this with lean principles? What if you started with a minimum viable truly mobile product (MVTMP?) based on a hypothesis of what it should do for your target group. The product doesn’t have to be an app – a responsive design mobile page may actually even better for our more scalable purpose. The important thing is to start as simple as possible. What can we give that our customers on the go needs? Although you start with mobile needs it’s highly unlikely that these needs are completely irrelevant to your web clients – you’ll ad more for them later.
Short and long term benefits
Based on that you test and explore as you build your site in small iterations. While the obvious bonus is the increasingly important mobile presence, there are many other benefits:
- Clear and concise communication
- Optimal user experience for every device
- User-centric from the onset
- new, controlled environment that’s testable piece by piece
- a sustainable, flexible solution that can grow and change as your business goals and the market requires
- and last but not least, a great way to get started with lean marketing
So how about making mobile digital presence you know you need your stepping stone to leaner marketing?
Looking forward to #adtechNY tomorrow! Will I see you there? http://ow.ly/f3C84 @adtech #digitalmarketing #SMM