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According to the fourth annual “State of Marketing” report, brands are increasingly competing on customer experience. In fact, 52% of B2C customers are likely to hop to the competition if you aren’t delivering a personalized experience.

How can brands use micro-moments to create better — and more personalized — customer experiences? Here’s a closer look at how marketing leaders are doing just that.

 

What are micro-moments?

 

You may know that “micro-moment” is a term coined by Google to describe moments when people turn to their mobile device with the intent to answer an immediate need. That need can be an answer to a question, a restaurant recommendation, a product review, tickets to an event, and more.

These moments present opportunities for brands to interact and build relationships with customers. Over time, these small interactions contribute to a better customer experience, and can even increase customer loyalty. This is because micro-moments aren’t isolated. They’re part of a larger customer journey that starts earlier and ends later than the traditional buying funnel.

Simply put, the key to forging successful connections through micro-moments is to be there (you have to play to win) and be useful (relevance is key).

So, how are CMOs and marketing leaders taking advantage of micro moments to enhance customers experiences, or, as Andy Kaufman, Vice President, Digital Direct & Marriott.com, asks, “How can I find those nuggets, or those trigger moments, that create better guest satisfaction?”

 

How CMOs are using micro-moments to improve the customer experience.

 

Micro-moments offer brands an opportunity to create more personalized experiences for customers. Maureen Sullivan, COO, Rent the Runway, said, “We think about any interaction with our customer as an opportunity to really deliver her a more customized experience.” Every product search on the website, chat with customer service, or status check for an order is a chance to learn more about the customer’s needs, and a chance to surprise and delight.

“We try to think about that as like ‘leave no stone unturned.’ If she's willing to give us the information, we need it in order to make that experience that much more relevant,” said Sullivan.

Marketers who understand that customers are willing to hand over data only when it buys them a better experience will put a different spin on the customer experience. To marketers, delivering an experience that is as relevant and satisfying as possible is as much a responsibility to the customer as it is an opportunity for their bottom line.

That doesn’t mean you have to go overboard reinventing your entire customer journey, at least not at first. “Go back to basics, the first thing I'd advise is keep it simple,” said David Parker, Global Content Marketing and Digital Technology, Kimberly-Clark. “You have to understand the behaviors of the consumer … and how to interact with those behaviors to drive that engagement.” From there, continue to build customer-centric strategies and learn from your successes.

Scott McAllister, SVP Digital Transformation, Comcast Cable, points out that when he started as a marketer, there were just a few different channels to consider. Now, however, marketers have nearly limitless options to reach customers, which means there are even more small opportunities to impact customer experiences. “The game has changed and exploded. There are so many touch points,” he says.

Marriott is one company changing the customer experience through micro-moments.

 

How Marriott is using micro-moments to increase customer loyalty.

 

Marriott is taking advantage of these opportunities by identifying micro-moments that occur before and during guest stays, then harnessing different platforms to facilitate easier interactions and a better customer experience.

With new and different channels popping up all the time, today’s marketers have to be willing to meet customers where they’re at. Marriott saw opportunities to do this on the micro level through its app and during guest stays.

Marriott recognizes people today use their mobile devices to do everything from talk with their loved ones to pay their bills. Why then, would Marriott expect them to pick up an analog phone to request simple amenities like towels or a wake-up call? Instead, guests can now use an app to send requests from their mobile devices to the front desk.

Marriott also introduced mobile check-in, allowing guests to more quickly and easily navigate the check-in process, also using the app. With millions of users worldwide, the feature has been a big hit. That’s because even small moments can make a big impact.

As Kaufman said, “If guests show up and that key is ready, that's a magical moment for them.” The simple combination of being there at the right time (before and during check-in) and the right place (on a mobile device) and being relevant (making check-in easier) allows Marriott to better serve its guests in a small but memorable way.

When it comes down to it, this approach isn’t about a specific channel or campaign. It’s about the customer. “Your channel-centric strategies create silos,” Kaufman says. “Your guest-centric strategy enables journeys. And that's really the way we're thinking about it.”

This aligns with Marriott’s focus on building stronger relationships, especially with their loyalty program participants, because, in the words of Kaufman, “Loyalty is paramount."

This blog is part 6 of our Trailblazer CMO series. Check out the other blogs in the series for more insights from today’s top marketing leaders.

Watch the Fourth Annual State of Marketing video to learn more about how marketers are leading the charge to transform the customer experience.