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Understanding Marketing’s Micro-Moments

By Stewart Gandolf, Chief Executive Officer

[A continuing education series in healthcare marketing – First of a two-part article] Micro-Moment Marketing travels at the speed of thought. Today’s consumer—which is virtually all of us—is constantly, and instantly, exposed to “nearly everything.” Thus, marketing is changing to connect with consumers in micro-moments, and at precisely the moment of need.

Person standing outside holding up smartphone displaying Google homepageMarketing buzzwords tend to make the rounds while they’re hot and popular. Typically, these are fashionable business terms and temporary shorthand of sorts. But the term Micro-Moments isn’t just a trendy term. It presents a significant concept that’s redefining and reshaping contemporary marketing in the mobile world.

High-speed broadband, WiFi connections, and faster, smarter devices are now the universal standards. A small-screen computer is within constant reach, and mobile users—over 220 million in the US alone—are the leading target.

The nation’s largest demographic slice (Millennials) are digital natives. Never having been without a computer, better than 90 percent are smartphone users. Simply, this group has always had computer connectivity and an expectation of immediate answers. You may not realize this, but US consumers spend more than five hours each day on their mobile device.

Many industry buzzwords are simply cute or convenient. They quickly become overused and fall out of conversational favor. Solid, meaningful terms are more than a clever catchphrase; they present serious or significant new meaning.

Google defines a micro-moment as an “intent-rich moment when a person

turns to a device to act on a need—to know, go, do or buy.”

It represents the elements of a compact, rapid-fire purchase decision process. Consumers reflexively turn to an omnipresent mobile device and process through “what they want, when they want it, and they’re drawn to brands that deliver on their needs.”

Breaking it down, the basics of micro-moments point to the four game-changing moments—decision points—that really matter, according to Google. These are:

  • I-want-to-know moments: When someone is exploring or researching but is not necessarily in purchase mode.
  • I-want-to-go moments: When someone is looking for a local business or is considering buying a product at a nearby store.
  • I-want-to-do moments: When someone wants help completing a task or trying something new.
  • I-want-to-buy moments: When someone is ready to make a purchase and may need help deciding what to buy and how to buy it.

With slight allowances for healthcare - micro-moments vs. retail…

A small caveat: The vernacular, terms and descriptions attached to Google’s micro-moments are largely oriented to the retail business world. But these ideas also relate strongly to healthcare services. Allow that references to customers or clients also include patients or prospective patients.

In every sector, consumer behavior has changed. “Today's battle for hearts, minds, and dollars is won (or lost) in micro-moments” Google stresses. Online marketing and advertising travel at computer speed, with “decision-making and preference-shaping throughout the entire consumer journey.”

Moreover, the “mobile first” redirection of online marketing is a critical, high-speed, adjustment in the challenge to meet the customer where and when they decide to buy—particularly in healthcare delivery. So the Think with Google payoff steps bring successful marketing together with:

  • Be there: Anticipate the micro-moments for your target audience, and commit to being there to help when those moments occur.
  • Be useful: Provide a digital experience that’s relevant to consumers’ needs in the moment, and quickly connect people to the answers they’re looking for.
  • Be accountable: Create a seamless customer experience across all screens and channels, and measure the collective impact of them, too.

The second part of this article titled: When Consumers Want Right Answers, Right Now leads off our editorial lineup next week.


Healthcare Success is a Google Certified Partner that meets the “highest standards for qualification, training and customer service.” Our Google-certified digital marketing experts offer advanced online marketing strategies for getting your practice, hospital or healthcare organization discovered online.

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