What are Micro-Moments and How Do They Change How We Connect and Convert?

A few years ago (2011) Google released researched which demonstrated that the journey people take on the web has significantly changed driven largely by the central service Google provides: search. This research was (and still is) significant for anyone involved in digital business because it means we must think of customer journeys not as a continuous lateral path but in terms of having the right information and being findable at the right moment.

ZMOT: (Zero Moment of Truth) Google defines ZMOT as a ‘decision-making moment’ such as on a website when we’re deciding whether to buy. This can also be a decision-making moment which marketer often refer to as a ‘conversion’ such as filling out a form, registering, etc.

FMOT: (First Moment of Truth) Before Google defined ZMOT, Proctor & Gamble defined FMOT as the first interaction between a shopper and the item on a store’s shelf. In the digital world it is now also used to define the moment when an online shopper first interacts with a product online.

SMOT: (Second Moment of Truth) This is the moment that people are influenced by their perceptions, their emotions, ultimately what they experience once the interaction begins. There’s really nothing secondary about the moment – it’s the moment experience kicks in; what does the packaging feel like? Does the website convey trust?

UMOT: (Ultimate Moment of Truth) Brian Solis defines UMOT as the moment when a person decides they are going to stay engaged. He explains that this is why we can’t think about engagement in a haphazard way we have to design the Experience Architecture.

How Micro-Moments can help us design experiences:

We live in a world of business that is (often, perhaps usually) still wrapped up in silos. Imagine you are looking to create a new website to improve sales of your product. How do you design an experience (that’s better than the competition) that will generate more revenue through more sales, repeat sales, upsells, cross-sells and referrals?

Let’s look at an example of a product many of use but is still to some quite controversial: bottled water. As a young adult my Perrier and San Pellegrino habits were influenced by European friends and my non-sparkling water habit was influenced by adaptation to the heat in Southern California. But I was a bit baffled when I moved to France and found a brand of water marketed as a ‘slimming partner’. What makes us buy bottled water? What makes us loathe the thought? How could a type of water be an aid to weight loss?! The brands that make available the content that answers the consumer’s questions in the micro-moment will have an enormous competitive advantage.

Anticipating what people want is essential to delivering the experiences that win and keep customers. This is how marketing is transforming: people don’t want you to sell to them; they want you to make it easier for them to buy from you. How could you a bottled water brand better anticipate needs of consumers? Brainstorm and keep digging for ideas about what will influence decisions. Here are some ideas:

  • How is it better / different than tap water?
  • Do the mineral compositions matter?
  • Plastic bottles must contribute to waste in landfills, why would I use them?
  • Why do plastic water bottles indicate they should not be refilled?
  • Is bottled water okay for my infant?
  • Can the plastic affect hormones?
  • How do you recycle?
  • Why shouldn’t I just use a reusable hard plastic bottle?
  • Can heat from being in a car, in the sun affect the quality of the water?
  • How much bottled water should I store in case of a natural disaster like an earthquake?

Brainstorming ideas may inspire research too. Are other brands answering these questions? What are people asking about in forums? Is there a topic that nobody is talking about? (That might be a blue ocean!)

I moved to France and I found Slimming water…and I was intrigued and suspicious!

Zero Moment of Truth

In France I saw people buying a brand called “Contrex” - the tagline translated to English is “my slimming partner”. My ZMOT was entering the search term in Google and discovering several websites including Nestle Waters, Contrex and of course news websites – looking at the information I was intrigued to learn more but finding information wasn’t exactly a good experience: I found content which wasn’t what I expected. On the product page for Contrex to the left is link for “Taste of Water”. This wasn’t about the taste of Contrex but about the value of having expert water tasters (water sommeliers).

First Moment of Truth

I went to a supermarket to buy Contrex. There was little information about why the water was different.

Second Moment of Truth

The packaging was nice, albeit feminine (of course because it’s my slimming partner!) It was marginally more expensive than other brands. As I looked over the label, someone came along and added a few bottles. I took one and headed to the check-out.

Ultimate Moment of Truth

I tasted it. I wasn’t a fan. But I had several more UMOTs – I asked people! They told me that it was ‘doctor recommended’, and that they felt better when they regularly drank it. I did more research and found a lot of controversy of course. Could a brand of water with more calcium and magnesium and a bit of fizz be a ‘slimming partner’? Who knows, but I wasn’t sold on the idea. I never bought it again.

How could Contrex have better anticipated Moments of Truth?


Clearly this is a product which many people will question. While it is sold in 35 countries, it hasn’t succeeded in every market it’s attempted to enter. The way that people use search means that providing education or information is important. In this case I would expect to more rapidly find information justifying why the water is PROVEN to assist slimming.


In-store or on packaging it might be more effective to be able to find more information about how the composition of the water would assist in slimming, or at least a reference should be more visible.


Secondly, Contrex could better prepare me for the SMOT but explaining the taste which anyone would have to experience for a period of time before seeing any of the products results: slimming results! If you’re surprised by this negative sensation and can’t see the results for a while, how willing would you be to keep on spending your money on the product?


This is clearly a product that can win with influence from people who believe in the benefits. They may even be able to offer solutions for the taste issue. Clearly if a brand of water has become so well known in a country known for its slim population, empower the community is a way to win more consumers.

Creating the Experience that keeps the brand promise

At Oshyn we believe that Experience Design is important because what people experience in digital channels must server your brand promise. Brian Solis writes about this in his latest book, in his words the experience is:

  • how you use the products
  • how you find the products
  • how you interact at different touch points
  • all the little things that shape how you think and feel about the product


What do people expect? What do they need?

Perhaps it’s the combination of increased digital mobility combined with post-recession consumer skepticism that has contributed to us wanted to know and research so much. Whatever the case, the better you can answer the questions people want to know, while keeping them engaged the better off you’ll be. There are many cases, like in my case with Contrex, where the information available from the brand itself was so little, that I did most of my research elsewhere and found information which steered me away from the brand.

Related blog post: You Need to Think in Micro-Moments to Build Effective Customer Experiences

Follow us @Oshyn_Inc, we’ll be sharing more about Human-Centered Experience Architecture and related topics.

Photo courtesy of Ed Schipul via Flickr