Content Marketing

5 Ways to Win the Patient Micro-Moments that Matter

Popularized by Google, the micro-moments marketing meme continues to gain momentum. For those of you not familiar with the concept,  “Micro-moments occur when people reflexively turn to a device—increasingly a smartphone—to act on a need to learn something, do something, discover something, watch something, or buy something. They are intent-rich moments when decisions are made and preferences shaped. In these moments, consumers’ expectations are higher than ever. The powerful computers we carry in our pockets have trained us to expect brands to immediately deliver exactly what we are looking for when we are looking. We want things right, and we want things right away.”


For healthcare marketers, these crucial micro-moments at the intersection of specific intent and high expectations increasingly take place on a mobile device. Patients leave the doctor’s office, sit in the car and Google their new diagnosis on the phone.  Patients sit in the waiting room and Google phrases that the doctor mentioned but didn’t take time to explain. Patients stand in the OTC section of the pharmacy and look up information about alternate products. In short, smartphones are cultivating an expectation among patients of being able to take immediate action and of finding precisely relevant medical information.

It’s important to understand that not every single micro-moment matters for brand success. In fact, author and marketing consultant Daryl Travis, in his book Little Things Big Returns, points out that successful brands such as Apple “boil their marketing down to a handful of peak moments on which they focus all of their energy. These moments become the few things that people remember.”

In this marketing environment, where just a handful of key micro-moments matter more than ever, here are five steps for pharma marketers to seize the patient micro-moment:

1. Make a map of key patient moments
Look at the overall patient journey and identify those precise moments that will result in lasting emotional impact. Examine all phases of the patient journey to understand the micro-moments during which they will interact with your product—from diagnosis, to script, to pharmacy, to long-term compliance.

2. Understand patient needs in the moment
Be sure to empathize with the patient at each step of the journey. For each critical micro-moment, put yourself in the patient’s shoes. Ask “What would make this moment easier to understand, or more comforting? What content and community support could be most helpful for this particular micro-moment?”

3. Craft meaningful experiences based on context
Contextual signals like location and time of day can help tailor the patient experience. For example, if patients are searching late at night for a particular disease condition, they may be experiencing symptoms, and are probably looking for clear, concise information.

4. Plan for a multi-screen experience
Today’s patients move seamlessly across screens and channels. Does your brand deliver a seamless experience at every micro-moment? Make sure that regardless of how patients interact with the brand, you are providing the necessary information for a great micro-moment.

5. Measure the micro-moments that matter
Once you have identified the key micro-moments that will shape your overall patient experience, be sure to create a platform for measuring whether or not you are, in fact, reaching patients in those small, but critical moments.

Patients’ expectations are being shaped by the larger consumer transformation we are all experiencing in an increasingly mobile culture. We want and expect to take immediate action and find relevant information. Furthermore, it has become increasingly clear that our emotional connection to a brand is shaped by just a handful of these key micro-moments. Brands that take the time to identify these key micro-moments in the patient journey will be able to craft a patient experience that is meaningful, supportive, and lasting.

The following two tabs change content below.
Jim Walker

Jim Walker

Jim Walker is Director, Marketing Strategy at Cadient, a Cognizant Company. Jim provides innovative marketing insights for a wide range of clients, as well as leading Cadient’s content marketing strategy. He is particularly interested in helping brand teams effectively leverage their digital content. He can be reached at
Jim Walker

Latest posts by Jim Walker (see all)

Most Popular

To Top