Tag Archives: creative process

Micro moments that pull marketing

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 they are changing 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?

akallevig_micro-moment_blogroiSo 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 inbound marketing?

It means that inbound marketing, aka. pull 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 contextually. 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?

Don’t let them fool you: Lean creative is also brilliant creative

main illustration lean creativity

Trapped creativity, or just a felt moose on a speaker in a bird cage?

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

Only then will you have memorable campaigns and sustainable marketing at a low risk that you know will suit your target group before they’ve even seen it.