Micro-Moments for Higher Education
What are the three things a brand must to do to succeed in a micro-moment world?
I recently read a report from Google about micro-moments in the digital world. Of course this concept is not new; the business world has been talking about it for close to two years. But I have yet to see it applied to higher education.
Google’s report about micro-moments describes them in the following way:
“Thanks to mobile, micro-moments can happen anytime, anywhere. In those moments, consumers expect brands to address their needs with real-time relevance.”
Higher education is not known to be the most nimble of markets. To the contrary, we are often seen as moving at glacier-like speeds. So addressing our customers’ needs with real-time relevance is not second nature.
Google produced a series of videos, and one of them resonated with me as something that higher education can latch onto.
Our campuses are filled with moments. Moments for prospective students, moments for current students, parent moments, and alumni moments.
- How do I take a campus tour moments?
- It’s my first day of class moments.
- How do I buy the textbook I need moments?
- How does my son find an internship moments?
- What is the dining hall serving for dinner moments?
- How late is the library open moments?
- I can’t believe I am graduating moments.
- I am back for reunion and I need a college hat for the game moments.
Google’s primer is excellent and worth the read for you and your staff as well some of your colleagues in admissions, auxiliary services, college life, and development. The report talks about three things a brand needs to do to succeed in a micro-moment world. Be there. Be useful. Be quick. Let’s take those three tips and apply them to our work in higher education.
In order to meet needs in real time, we need to anticipate where users will be and what they will need. When moments occur, we need to dedicate the resources to listen and provide assistance immediately.
How does a prospect student sign up for a campus visit? Do a quick Google search on “visiting (insert your college’s name). See what comes up. How easy is it to find a date and sign up for a campus visit? Is the experience mobile? For higher ed this is a no-brainer and basic micro-moment.
According to Google, if a mobile experience does not satisfy a user’s needs only 9% of people will stick with the task. Some of the most visited pages on our website at Gettysburg are the dining menus each day. At a moment’s notice students (and faculty and staff), want to know what is on the menu at the dining hall, where the food truck is set up, and what the specials are at the snack bar. Are you providing the right information at the right time and in the right way?
Speed counts. A moment can come and go in, well, a moment. The mobile experience needs to be fast, immediate, and seamless. What is the mobile experience like for one of your largest institutional moments of the year, commencement? Are you able to answer questions on social in real time? If you have an alternate weather plan can you communicate it in a matter of seconds and minutes — not hours? You can lose a moment because the mobile experience takes too long to deliver. You don’t want to lose the I-can’t-believe-I-am-graduating moment, or the goodwill of supportive parents and families.
What will they need? Where will they look? How should it be presented? Your institution’s presence in the micro-moments is a reflection of your brand quality and service. Your staff can start by looking at the moments you have control over and taking advantage of them. Then, you can use that success to influence other moments. No matter what you do, make sure you don’t let this seize-the-day-moment pass you by.
Paul Redfern leads the communications and marketing team at Gettysburg College and is a frequent presenter on marketing and brand topics at national conferences.
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