We search the Web every day for things we need, things we want—tutorials, inspiration—and endless other reasons. For me, Google search is a lifeline.

Online searches and other moments that lead to a mobile or digital action in a consumer's daily life may seem trivial, but they can hold large opportunities for brands. These moments, what Google has termed "micro-moments," happen when consumers turn to a device for a specific need, anytime and anywhere.

Capitalizing on these micro-moments requires us to shift the way we think about marketing and the consumer journey. In the past, we've focused largely on getting consumers to come to us. Instead, we need to shift our thinking and strategy so that we can meet consumers where they already are. Seems simple, right?

We all know the consumer journey is not a linear path, however, and with multiple steps, paths, and influences come multiple micro-moment marketing opportunities to address consumer needs and move them through the funnel.

Recognizing Micro-Moment Marketing Opportunities

If micro-moments already exist and are ripe for the taking, how do we use those moments to create connections?

To start, pay attention. Find which micro-moments matter the most to your audience. Can you anticipate those moments and take advantage of them to shape consumer decisions?

A micro-moment marketing opportunity can be as simple as a consumer's looking for product availability on a website before going to the store to make a purchase. Or searching for the correct usage of a product (or the endless amount of product hacks), looking for nearby businesses, searching for something seen in a TV commercial... and so much more.

Think about the times when a consumer needs your product or service. Where are they? What are they doing?

As a consumer, I've started to notice micro-moments more frequently; and, as a marketer, I see a lot of missed marketing opportunities.

Where to start?

Solving Specific Problems

Begin by identifying customer intentions and craft specific content responses to solve real, everyday problems, no matter how small.

For example, when I go to Target after my puppy has an accident on the carpet, and I pull out my phone to search "how to remove dog urine smell from carpet," I grab your brand of carpet cleaner off the shelf because it came up in my search but also gave me step-by-step directions and a money-back guarantee. Or if I'm stuck at the airport because my flight is delayed, I choose your restaurant for a quick bite based on my search for "best food in airport."

In our mobile-first world, people increasingly turn to their smartphones for every direction, purchase, and answer possible. And when they do, they probably have a specific need and an expectation of finding answers easily and quickly.

With a consumer base already overwhelmed by content and pure noise, the way brands and marketers think about capturing consumer attention in these moments has to change. With only a few seconds to deliver your message, you have to prove your brand as relevant and valuable to the consumer in that moment, else they will have already moved on to the next video, article, or search result.

Marketing Opportunities During the Customer Journey

Another important step is to understand how consumers are searching for your brand or throughout their journey. Data is your friend, so use it to your advantage. Pull insights from search results and discover new ways to connect with your audience throughout those micro-moments.

L'Oréal is a great example. Using search data, L'Oréal identified a need among its audience—the desire for an ombré hair style. Based on a spike in search for the ombré hair trend, L'Oréal created an at-home ombré hair kit.

The way I see it, the multitude of micro-moments is actually a good problem to have, providing more marketing opportunities than ever for brands to be there for customers as a reliable and useful resource.

This approach to marketing starts with a true understanding of your consumer base and their wants, needs, and intentions. It also requires a reminder that consumers are not always (and probably rarely) ready to purchase in those moments, so a focus on becoming a resource to educate and lead the consumer is vital.

My advice: find your consumer's micro-moments, and be there to provide any relevant information they could need so that they consider using, continue to use, or decide to start using your product or service.

More Resources on Micro-Moment Marketing Opportunities

The Business Case for Behavior-Changing Content: Five Rules of Engagement

A Guide to Contextual Marketing

Mobile Web vs. Apps vs. Native SMS: Tips for Mobile Engagement Success

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image of Jessica Neville

Jessica Neville is a senior strategist at Dagger, a strategic content agency. She leads content and channel strategies across digital platforms for clients, including work for brands such as Wells Fargo, Nike, UPS, and Cisco Systems.

LinkedIn: Jessica Neville