This continues my series of articles discussing the synergies and differences between marketing and learning. Both marketing and learning are having to adapt to today’s interconnected, always-on, social world. Here we examine the need to be involved with micro-moments throughout the whole customer or learner journey.
Historically there have been three main “moments of truth” (MOT) where marketing and sales are involved in the customer journey. The first moment of truth (FMOT) is where the customer first saw or looked at the product or service, after they had decided they were interested in buying. The second (SMOT) where they purchased and started to use it. Finally the third moment (TMOT), where they gave feedback on their experience. This is shown in the first diagram below.
In 2011 Google introduced idea of ZMOT (Zero Moment of Truth). This reflects how customers now react when they first think about something new – either to address a pressing need or with the dream of something better or more exciting. More and more often people will go online to ask “How can I …?” or “What is available to…?”. Marketers must be ready with answers at this zero moment of truth. And they must then accompany the customers on their journey, providing the appropriate content for the micro-moments when additional questions crop up (“Will it work in my situation?”, “Is it compatible with…?”).
The second diagram shows the new marketing involvement – from the very beginning of the journey through the decision process all the way to the aimed-for loyalty at the end. Companies that do not engage with potential customers right from the beginning find that by the decision point they are probably already out of consideration. Those who have engaged have already demonstrated their value to the customer.
The journey of a learner has different stages. Traditionally L&D and training companies were called in to provide training in support of some change. The change might have affected an individual such as the induction of a new hire or a change of job or responsibility; or there might have been a change effecting a large group or the whole company e.g. the launch of a new product, introduction of new software, or enhanced compliance requirements. With the focus on training courses, learning after the event was often left unstructured and supported only by some generalised user guides. This journey is shown below:
Marketing has to adapt to users finding out for themselves online and via social media. Similarly L&D and learning providers have to help learners who expect to be able to find out answers at the point of need and whose go-to resource are the mobile phone and internet. Happily, this learner demand fits in with the increased use of learning methods such as 70:20:10 and the emphasis on performance support.
So as users are demanding more support at the point of need, learning providers are putting in place learning tools that are available as tasks are being done. They are also providing bite-sized learning modules that can be consumed when the learner has some time.
Micro-moments for learners occur when they come across a problem in their everyday work. Learners want to consult a support community or find help that is specific to their situation – and they expect a rapid answer. They also want to use spare moments, maybe while commuting, to learn something to help them for tasks that are coming up.
Learning resources need to be provided to help coach people who are putting new skills into practice. Then at the point of need, they need support for their situation, from guides or from communities of use. Providing these learning resources will allow them to gain expertise more quickly. The added benefit is that they will then be able to share their expertise with the community and so help others on their learning journey. The final diagram shows the constant involvement in the learner journey.
Google has identified key elements for being involved in the customer journey. Two of them apply just as strongly for learning:
- Be present in the moments that matter
- Have something relevant or engaging to say
This is the challenge for marketing and learning. The rewards, however, are great, in being able to understand and satisfy customer and learner needs. This allows solutions to be tailored to their needs – building loyalty in customers and expertise in learners.