Therapists, gurus and counselors often speak about mindfulness – the practice of maintaining an awareness of one’s own feelings, thoughts, bodily sensations and surroundings. The basic idea is to “live in the moment.” Good advice to those who want to experience life in an appreciative and authentic way.
But great advice for retail marketers. (My sessions with Dr. Tenacton finally pay off!)
In our current always-on, always-about-me retail environment, shoppers are seeking more than experiences. They are hungry for moments. So that’s where marketers must now live.
A step beyond experiential marketing, in-the-moment marketing speaks not to the size of the shopper interaction, but to its depth and reach. A retail marketing moment might be tiny (an alert on a smartphone) or grand (a pop-up VIP fashion show); size doesn’t matter. What matters is the genuine connection between the shopper and the brand.
A moment is not a “jiffy.” Nor is it a “blink of the eye.” (Yes, the moment was once a medieval unit of time that corresponds to our 90 seconds, but unless Lorenzo de Medici is hitting the mall, let’s not worry about that either.) Shopper moments are measured not by duration, but by impact. Micro or macro, the moment must enhance the life of the shopper.
At first glance, that’s a tall order. Some retailers may wonder when they got into the life enhancement business. (BTW, those retailers might not be around much longer.) Other, smarter marketers recognize and embrace the recent seismic shift in the world of retail, and understand the power they have. (Yes, even though the shopper is “calling the shots.”)
Ultimately, retail marketing today comes down to making shoppers feel something so that they want to purchase something. It’s not about tricks or subterfuge or apps. It’s about emotion.
That’s why “moment” resonates. The word conveys uniqueness, fragility, romance, intimacy; a moment carries emotional weight. And before I’m called out for being poetically overwrought, think about how the creative mind responds to subtext. “Building an experience” can seem cold, administrative and mechanical. “Creating a moment” feels more shopper-centric, inspiring boldness, magic and heat.
That heat is non-negotiable; all moments must evoke emotion. Marketers do have a bit more flexibility, however, when it comes to the architecture of those moments. Take a look at these shopper moment formats:
Just the shopper and the brand learning more about one another
Sharing the emotion (and the news, deals and access) among like-minded friends
Beyond one-on-one, marketers ask what the shopper wants – and gives it to her
Shoppers choose their own retail adventures
Going beyond Likes and making real emotional connections in a virtual world
Shopper-surrounding, multi-device, in-store interaction
Shopper driven / crowdsourced
Shoppers help determine the parameters of the engagement; everyone contributes
Capturing the tension, breathlessness and energy that is “real-time”
A moment that declares to shoppers, “you have arrived” (and will probably want to stay a while)