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The Marketing Moments that Matter

woman laughing

In performing arts, the first and most important principle taught is ‘timing is everything'.  

In a nutshell

  1. The rise of customer journey mapping has helped marketers communicate the right message at the right time, on the right platform.
  2. But contemporary moments marketing goes wider and deeper: there are cultural, category and consumer layers to understand.
  3. Moments are not just the ones you create as a brand but more than often than not are the ones happening around your brand.

Landing the figure skating jump spin at the peak of the crescendo, the ‘pause for dramatic effect’ in the theatre or the comedian who somehow times every gag to feel natural, improvised and relevant. 

In the dance of marketing, the same principle of timing applies. Any lifecycle marketer knows this, it the basis for all campaign development.

The birthday email from your local gym, timing the upsell comms at the specific moment customers feel they are needing more, or the retention offers in the team toolbox for when a customer is on the brink of leaving. 

Constructing a marketing programme around the ‘moments that matter’ is a no brainer, it works but only if you know the right moments to turn up. After all, messaging is one thing but if you don’t time that message at the right moment, everything becomes irrelevant.  

The growth of customer journey mapping over the past decade has been a reflection of adding more science into the principles of timely marketing. We are now swimming with detailed maps pinpointing customers every move with the message we want to land, which is great – more personalised, relevant and even helpful! 

However, contemporary moments marketing goes wider and deeper.    

From CMO to CCO 

The role of the Chief Marketing Officer is no longer confined to a specialist function called ‘marketing’, instead, they are expected to take ownership of the ‘customer’ – a much broader remit. This means we must consider the broader context of a customer – their macro context of their lives, their experiences and ultimately, their behaviour.

Diagram showing our emotional inner compass

Moments marketing

When it comes to moments marketing, successful brands leverage moments in a much more holistic sense. After all, humans are complicated creatures living in a complicated world. How each person thinks, feels, and acts depends on more than just their customer status in our CRM systems.

There are several moments layers to consider:

1. Cultural layer

2. Category layer

3. Customer layer

1. The cultural layer of moments marketing

The cultural layer is the macro trends and shifts influencing our behaviour, society and brands today. The brands who leverage these cultural shifts, play on the strengths of their brand to fit into these moments. Heineken’s masterful connection to a cultural moment of bringing together different perspectives was pure brilliance. And even with this powerful and emotional topic, the use of the Heineken product felt natural and right. 

However, brands must be careful and consider the authenticity and social context of their message.

Pepsi’s global case study on how to get a message completely wrong is a case in point. The 2017 ad featuring Kendall Jenner sharing a Pepsi in a protest makes it look like protesting is a hip thing young people do for fun. People protest because they disagree with something. They are outraged, worried, or even scared. No one in the Pepsi ad looks like this and making light of this topic in the way Pepsi was trying to do was trying to leverage the moment which they had no place to be.

2. The category moments layer

Category moments are those that happen within the wider context of your category. They are the moments such as seasonal events, milestones, community connections and brand initiated occasions. Leveraging key calendar events throughout the year helps with brand building by association. Brands that have the permissibility to create their own category moments can result in a powerful emotive connection with customers.

Nike run club ads

Nike+ Run Club is a great example of a brand leveraging these category moments. Nike invite their customers (and non-customers) to join in for a free weekly running event. They draw hundreds of people, all passionate about running, all wearing the latest Nike shoes. But this is not a sales moment for Nike, it is about supporting something they believe in, something their community is passionate about and something bigger than them. The outcome; brand exposure, relevant product placement and customer loyalty. But even more than this, creating a moment of ‘running club’ they can own and leverage.

3. The customer moments layer

Customer Lifecycle

The lifecycle a customer goes through both personally (birthdays) as well as with the brand (e.g. onboarding through to churn) are very important touchpoints for brands. This is the most common layer of ‘moments marketing’ marketers are investing in right now.

The trick with this layer is creating a brand story between each interaction, evolving the relationship rather than sharing transactional standalone messages in disparate moments.

The trick with this layer is creating a brand story between each interaction, evolving the relationship rather than sharing transactional standalone messages in disparate moments.

Using customer data is key to this, acknowledging a customer visit in your next piece of comms, customising your creative to reflect purchase behaviour or even making customers feel like they are ‘first to know’ about an upcoming product launch because they bought the last one, helps create the emotional connections to the brand, to the moment, and importantly, to the message.

Timing is key in the dance of marketing

As we choreograph our next marketing dance, consider the layers required to complete the show. Moments are not just the ones you create as a brand but more than often than not are the ones happening around your brand. You must listen and identify the moments you want to (and can) be part of. If you can time these perfectly with the right message you have the opportunity to accelerate the emotional connection you have with customers.

Our next issue of Frame magazine is all about time.

The balance between timeless marketing principles and timely moments. Want a copy? Sign up here.

Shaun Fitzgibbon
Partner at TRA

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