One of the most critical annual marketing studies was released over a week ago, and I can almost guarantee you missed it. No, it is not the latest Magic Quadrant, or Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends (although I highly recommend you review both). It is the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ American Time Use Survey.
Every year the Bureau of Labor Statistics releases this comprehensive study examining how Americans are using their time on a day-to-day basis. Year-after-year, it goes unnoticed by marketing teams that are scratching and clawing to command their audiences’ time and attention. Not to worry! Since nobody (except me) enjoys the wonderful world of government funded labor studies, I have taken the liberty of dissecting the report for you.
Ever wondered how the average American is spending their time? Here are several interesting takeaways that all marketers should be aware of:
• The average American is spending around 43 minutes per day purchasing goods and services (including researching products and online purchases on both desktop and mobile).
• The average American is spending 36 of their 43 minutes per day shopping for commercial goods and travel.
• The average American is spending just over five minutes per day purchasing professional goods and services.
• The average fully employed American is spending 13 minutes per day on telephone calls, mail, and e-mail.
• The average fully employed American millennial (a majority of the B2B buying segment), spends 34 minutes per day browsing the web for leisure.
Thousands of B2C and B2B organizations are duking it out for a sliver of the average American’s 43 shopping minutes per day. If these stats are telling you anything, it's that your time to engage your customer is beyond limited, especially if you’re not selling a commercial goods or flights. Time is everyone’s most important asset and yet consumers are constantly met with lengthy digital experiences that span multiple channels rather than simple, delightful, digital experiences that fit their audience’s timeframe.
To break this habit and deliver the relevant, time-sensitive digital experiences your customers need, you must understand two concepts: Micro-Moments and Micro-Experiences.
A popular 2015/2016 marketing buzzword, Micro-Moments are, according to Think With Google, “…when people reflexively turn to a device-increasingly a smartphone-to act on a need to learn something, do something, discover something, watch something, or buy something.” When people operate in micro-moments, they are inherently operating with some form of intent and purpose, making these moments incredibly important for organizations to capitalize on. These are the spare seconds your consumers are taking out of their 43 minutes of shopping per day to consider your service, and they expect to be delivered the right message and experience . Otherwise, their attention will shift elsewhere.
So how should your organization respond?
The popularized response to Micro-Moments, according to Google, is “Be There. Be Useful. Be Accountable.” What they are missing here is Be Fast and Be Streamlined. I’d venture to posit something fairly obvious: the faster your brand can deliver a product or experience than your competition (without sacrificing brand trust), the more customers you will attract. Micro-Experiences are those trustworthy brand interactions that answer your customers’ Micro-Moments while respecting their time and limiting their interactions to one or two marketing channels.
A great example of an industry disruptor that is delivering an excellent Micro-Experience is the insurance provider Lemonade. It typically takes the average person 15 minutes to apply for and purchase renter’s insurance. In fact, there's a certain insurance company tends to brag a lot about what they can do in 15 minutes, but I don’t have that much time to spare. Lemonade cuts this experience down to five minutes and delivers a typically less expensive policy all through their website. No need to check your email, create an account, or leave the page - it's is all done through one Micro-Experience.
How can YOU create Micro-Experiences?
1. Be There: Understand your customer and theirMicro-Moments. This will allow you to be on the right channels to meet their needs.
2. Be Useful: Provide different Micro-Experiences for different Micro-Moments. Not every Micro-Moment is focused on purchase. Ensure your experiences are specifically designed to answer your customers’ needs.
3. Be Accountable: Brand trust is the foundation of creating fast and streamlined Micro-Experiences. Customers will be more comfortable moving through a Micro-Experience if they deem your brand as trustworthy.
4. Be Fast: 15 minutes or less is no-longer the standard. Unless you are selling a commercial good or travel, you have five to seven minutes per day (tops) to impact and provide value to your customers.
5. Be Streamlined: Keep your customer on one marketing channel to complete their request, or two at the very most. Micro-Moments that are met with experiences making users traverse three or more channels will cause confusion and departure, all while weakening your brand.
To learn more about the technical considerations you should have in commerce driven Micro-Moments, check out Thomas John’s recent blog post, Capitalizing on Micro-Moments in Commerce.
Jordan Magenta is a Digital Strategist at Rightpoint. He is on a mission to bridge customer expectations and brand promises through powerful digital experiences. Connect with him about marketing, customer experience, and your random shower thoughts on Twitter or LinkedIn.