Create a winning digital marketing game plan – capture intent and turn shoppers into buyers

Micro-moments are happening everywhere repeatedly as consumers – with a buying intent in mind – search for information, consider brand options and, if convinced, buy them. Brands can expand interactions and maximize sales opportunities by embracing these intent-rich moments and placing them at the heart of their digital marketing plan. 

The Zero Moment of Truth, or ZMOT, changed the rules of play in today’s operating landscape where consumers jump across devices and channels increasingly overlap (read my first article on ZMOT here). Micro-moments have emerged as the latest digital marketing narrative – an extension of the Zero Moment of Truth – and brands must be ready to interact and engage faster than ever before.

Consumers are no longer passively triggered by brand stimuli but actively search for information and act on their wants and needs. This is especially true in “mobile-first” Asia, where access to smartphones and tablets increase search intent and frequency.

Google has categorized these intent-rich moments into I-want-to-know, I-want-to-do, I-want-to-go and I-want-to-buy moments. An expected mother is brainstorming baby names for her twins (I-want-to-know). A recently engaged bride-to-be browses for her favorite wedding hairstyle. (I-want-to-do). A father searches for a nearby restaurant to celebrate his son’s tenth birthday (I-want-to-go). A 17-years old is preparing to go to college and needs to furnish his dormitory (I-want-to-buy).

But capturing micro-moments such as these go beyond just raising awareness about a product or brand. How can brands create tangible value and convert moments into sales dollars? Here are six steps to create a winning digital marketing game plan by capturing intent and converting shoppers into buyers in a micro-moment-driven environment:

Use the RACE framework (Reach, Act, Convert and Engage) to define your brand objectives. Depending on whether you are a new entrant or among the dominant players in the market, intend to generate new leads or strengthen long-term relationships with customers, your brand objectives serve as the guiding compass for your digital marketing plan.

Micro-moments mean that consumer journeys are increasing in complexity and becoming more fragmented. John takes 21 days to buy a new smartphone, with a heavy reliance on price comparison sites. Marie takes four months to buy a new smartphone and uses social recommendations and online forums to make her decision.

As a brand, you cannot employ a mass, generalized approach or map individual paths to purchase for each consumer (the latter would take a very long time!). Instead, use consumer mindsets to help effectively track journeys by analyzing the behavioral needs of your consumers.

There are three common types of mindset:

1. Habitual – consumer normally buys your product
2. Impulse – purchase is unplanned
3. Research – consumer searches for information prior to buying


Once you have identified your target audience’s type of consumer mindset, think about the associated micro-moments. If your target audience is a habitual consumer, related micro-moments may be “time to restock” or “nearest store locator”. On the contrary, impulse consumers may act on needs relating to “time to try something new”, “my shopping therapy” or “buy gifts for friends or family”.

How does each digital marketing channel play a role in interacting and engaging with consumers? Does your target audience proactively search or rather rely on digital influencers to learn and consider a brand or product? Does transaction continue online or converge with offline to take place in a bricks-and-mortar store?

Using these questions, map the mix of digital marketing channels along the journey, from stimulus to the Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT) or micro-moments to in-store experience at the First Moment of Truth (FMOT) and product usage at the Second Moment of Truth (SMOT).

Channels such as search or social media help increase brand visibility, but content helps move brands from getting noticed to being considered. New, innovative technologies are enabling brands to invent new content formats that foster a two-way interaction.

For instance, chatbots allow marketers to reach more people but still have personalized, individual conversations. You’ve also got marketing apps such as toilet paper brand Charmin’s Sit or Squat that uses interactive content to create an engaging and unique brand experience while location-based services finds you the nearest bathroom (that you can then rate and share).

The true power of digital marketing lies in defining performance metrics to assess and improve campaign performance. Performance measurements generally vary based on your brand objectives. A brand seeking to “convert” may use KPIs such as sales and lead volumes or average order value or cost per sale. Others that seek to “engage” may prioritize measures such as repeated transactions and visits as benchmarks for evaluation.

Plan your metrics around brand, content and commercial measures in order to have a holistic window into your campaign performance.

Has your brand already considered micro-moments in your digital marketing strategy?