OPINION27 November 2017

How to research moments

Mobile Opinion UK

There has been a lot of talk around ‘marketing to moments’ recently but understanding how brands can connect with people in a moment requires particular insight. By Sam Curtis. 

In the moment phone laundry_crop

Google has been championing ‘micro-moments’ as a marketing opportunity, Warc has built a toolkit around Moment Marketing and Twitter has its own Moments feature. But what is it, and how do you collect insights that help you do it effectively?

Moments marketing is where you focus your efforts on delivering marketing that is relevant to specific moments in people’s everyday lives.  A moment for a person could be browsing the phone on the way to work, doing the laundry, planning a holiday or meeting friends in a restaurant.  Marketers would look at these moments as opportunities to have product experiences, deliver messaging or drive positive word of mouth about the brand.

While there are many different takes on moments, there are some broad principles and beliefs in this area:

  1.  Your brand is not the centre of a person’s world.  Their need in a moment is more important than the relationship they have with your brand.
  2. Value-exchange is critical.  People are time poor so if they are only going to engage with content that gives them something they value in that moment.
  3. Being appropriate for the moment is vital. It is a reaction against sloppy marketing practices.  'Stop trying to sell me things I’ve already bought'.
  4. Some moments matter a lot more than others, but the big moments happen infrequently.
  5. Ultimately the journey to purchase is the consequence of a series of moments involving a multitude of needs.

 So with this in mind, how do you go about getting insights about moments?

By their nature, moments can be fleeting.  They can pass by in an instant and not even be remembered by the people that experience them.  Even when people do remember what they do, they cannot articulate why.  Piecing together cause and effect is complex and challenging.

So in essence there are three challenges:  finding the right moments; understanding what drives them; and connecting them together.  So how can you do this?

  1. FINDING:  To find the right moments for a brand, you need lots of data to help you find those smaller moments that don’t happen very often, but have a big impact.  We can look for these moments in data sources such as sales, social and digital.  Analytics can be used to find those moments that are small but punch above their weight.
  2. UNDERSTANDING:  When we engage with people to understand why that behaviour has happened, we need to ask them in the moment that behaviour has occurred.  This is where to deploy ethnographic and observational tools to go deep into that moment while it is happening.  You can use crowd-based research to get consumers to capture those moments and feedback what is happening. There is now little excuse to ask people to remember what happened weeks or months previously.
  3. CONNECTING:  Finally we need to bring it all together, and that is where our skill as researchers comes in.  We need to select the right data sources to begin with, make decisions about how those data sources will be used, know what data to trust and weave past contradictions to provide a clear story.  Increasingly this is extending to physically connecting data sets together, so we can see cause and effect.

Researching moments is challenging but if you are working with the right data and you apply the right skills, you can deliver powerful insights.  We need methods that can help us go broader to find moments, can go deeper to understand them and can connect data to give us the full picture. 

Sam Curtis is managing director of Moment10








1 Comment

5 years ago

Great article with highly practical recommendations. Through capturing people’s experiences with brands in real-time since 2006, we have uncovered all kinds of moments we wouldn’t have thought about at MESH Experience. Some are applicable to many brands too. Such as people react more positively to communications through all media more positively after 6pm for service brands, particularly in commuter media. People don’t want to think about financial services or utilities first thing in the morning, but are more receptive after work. For packaged goods, cheery TV ads start the day well by enhancing people’s moods!

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