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The new consumer currency is here

The new consumer currency is here, says Katharine Liese, Business Unit Manager at The MediaShop

Consumer behaviour is changing – and fast! Gone are the days of consumers spending hours and weeks researching options. Decisions are being made in moments – micro-moments in fact.

These micro-moments are intent-driven moments of decision making that shape preferences. They occur throughout the entire consumer journey and are impacting the way in which we as marketers need to speak to the consumer.

As mobile phones become a totally immersive part of everyday life, we as an agency are seeing a fundamental shift in the way that people consume their media and process information they use for purchase decision making.

In the past, media consumption was actually quite predictable. There was a peak in radio listenership in the early mornings and late afternoons with drive time audiences captive in their cars. There was a distinctive push to Sunday night TV where the 8pm movie was not only hallowed ground, but sold out and over-subscribed. We knew that we could reach the world through a 30 second ad in Generations. Newspapers were jam-packed with pages of advertising at month end, because that was when people bought stuff right? Everyone went to the movies on the opening weekend and a billboard on a highway was a sure winner in driving noting.

Those were the simple days, but those days are gone. Now we have a consumer that is so time poor and thinly spread that they capitalise on any moment to make a consideration or decision regarding a purchase. These moments occur in a micro second when there is time – usually around a couple of need states that surface and need to be satisfied immediately:

  • ‘I want to know’ moment
  • ‘I want to go’ moment
  • ‘I want to do’ moment
  • ‘I want to buy’ moment

Micro-moments occur when people instinctively turn to a device for an answer. How often are you sitting in a conversation and someone asks a question you don’t know the answer to and your automatic response is to pick up your smartphone and announce that you will “Google it”? That’s a micro-moment right there.

These moments are considered intent rich – you want to know something right now, buy something right now, learn something right now, discover something right now, and answer something right now – and they are the moments in which the consumer is most susceptible to influence – because they are already committed to finding out the answer to their query. And this is the environment where brands must operate – you have to be seen here, to be considered, to be explored, to be acted on.

So how do brands ensure that they are present in these micro-moments?

Understanding behavioural and contextual targeting of a digital marketing definitely assists in getting the brand in front of the consumer when they are in the moment of influence. This is key to enabling a person to capitalise on a micro-moment of engagement. A brand’s digital display, programmatic, social and search strategy need to work hand in hand to ensure that no matter which gateway a consumer comes through – search, display or social – brands should be front and centre with a compelling message.

It’s in that moment that targeted and focused creative messaging, that is engaging, should be the hook to start the consumer journey in the preferred direction and to capitalise on the immediate need to know consumers are exhibiting millions of times a day.

A recent study in the UK shows that the average person checks their phone 110 times a day and up to once every 6 seconds in the evening. I don’t think that our stats are much different here in SA. It’s time we truly begin to understand the power of the small 6 inch device in the hand of 89% of adults in South Africa and how we can capitalise on their need states every time they engage on their mobile – to ensure our brand is first in line for consideration.

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