These moments represent opportunities for brands to connect with users when they turn to their devices for quick answers, inspiration, or to make decisions. To shed light on the intricacies of leveraging micro-moments for marketing success, Ibarra Villaseran, Client Service Director of Truelogic, engages in a dynamic conversation in a podcast with Yoj Vestudio, a seasoned professional with over two decades of experience in the digital realm. Yoj currently serves as the senior manager for Web & Digital UX at a leading banking and finance organization in the Philippines.
A Journey Through 20 Years in the Digital Space
Yoj Vestudio’s journey through the digital landscape spans two decades. A graduate in Broadcast Communication from the University of the Philippines, Yoj’s career began in the government sector, working with pioneering digital teams. She reminisces about a time when the internet was gaining prominence, leading the government to form these pioneering teams to manage websites and digital content. Her experience later led her to join media outfits like Pinoy Central, where she managed online communities and facilitated interactions between fans and their celebrity idols.
The evolution of digital media has been a constant in Yoj’s career. She notes how the internet initially served as a digital brochure for companies but transformed into a platform for user-generated content, including blogs and forums. Yoj emphasizes the central role of technology in shaping digital experiences, stating, “There’s always that expectation from the user to be digital means to be real-time. And the more advanced technology gets, the higher the expectation from the ones who could shoot these channels, these content.”
Understanding Micro-moments and Customer Journeys
Micro-moments are pivotal instances when users reach for their devices to fulfill an immediate need. Yoj delves into the concept of micro-moments, breaking them down into episodes within a broader customer journey. She highlights the challenges brands face in capturing user attention amidst the constant stream of stimuli, emphasizing that users’ attention spans are diminishing due to information overload.
In the context of micro-moments, Yoj draws attention to the importance of understanding user context. She references Berlo’s SMCR Model of Communication, emphasizing the need for marketers and UX experts to grasp where users are coming from and the specific conditions that trigger their interactions with digital platforms.
“You need to understand at what point in their journey, in their day-to-day lives, do they tend to go to a website or a mobile app? What are the specific conditions that will get them to where you want them to be? At what point in their journey or in, again, in their day-to-day existence would they have that certain appetite to know about or to know more about your product? You need to be able to understand that. And the only way to do that is by crafting that customer journey. The only way to do that as well is by understanding your users better,” she said.
“In one of the previous jobs that I had,” Yoj Vestudio begins, sharing a practical example that vividly illustrates the power of understanding user context in the world of micro-moments. She recounts the experience of designing a mobile app, particularly focusing on how they presented mobile data to users.
“At the time, the way that we displayed mobile data is by simply displaying how much data you have already spent,” she explains. It was a common approach: users were informed about how much of their data allocation they had used up, such as “2MB out of 20MB.” However, Yoj and her team decided to take a closer look at user preferences through interviews and feedback from actual customers.
What they discovered was enlightening. Yoj elaborates, “So they would, especially during that time when mobile data was relatively expensive, tend to want to know how much is left.” In a world where Filipinos were avid users of social media platforms like Facebook and various data-hungry applications, knowing how much data remained was of paramount importance. This insight led to a critical decision to revamp their approach to displaying mobile data.
By understanding the context and needs of their users, they redesigned the app to prominently feature how much data was left. This simple yet significant change transformed the user experience. Yoj explains, “And that simple move changes their perception of the app from ‘okay’ to ‘it’s useful.’ Now it’s contextual. Now, to the user, it’s much more useful.” In essence, this adjustment allowed the app to connect better with users, turning a potentially mundane interaction into a valuable micro-moment.
The Digital State in the Philippines
In discussing the digital state in the Philippines, Yoj Vestudio sheds light on the nation’s immense appetite for all things digital. She acknowledges the enthusiasm and eagerness of Filipinos to embrace the digital era. However, she also highlights the existing challenges and the persistent digital divide that need attention.
“In fairness naman to the Filipinos, we have a huge appetite for anything digital. It’s just that I guess in terms of the tools that are available and the means for us to connect to the internet is something that we still have yet to improve on. It’s like the digital divide is still ever-expanding,” she says.
Yoj’s insights take us to her work with an e-learning company focused on K-12 students. She explains how, before the pandemic, many schools were hesitant to adopt e-learning platforms because a significant portion of families lacked internet access. This created a double challenge for educators, who not only had to cater to digitally connected students but also provide traditional, print-based materials for those without access.
Despite these challenges, Yoj remains hopeful and suggests that the pandemic has, in some ways, accelerated digital adoption in the Philippines by several years. The newfound urgency pushed both individuals and institutions to embrace digital solutions and technologies at a faster pace.
“We always have that appetite for anything digital. Well, I guess social media plays a huge role there for most of us. But I’ve read somewhere that I think we are among the countries that are very well, highly interested in generative AI. That says a lot,” she adds.
Advice for Marketers Venturing into Digital
As digital becomes an integral part of our lives, Yoj offers valuable advice to marketers looking to navigate this dynamic space.
“Well, digital isn’t the future anymore. It’s here. It’s now. And there are exciting capabilities in the past two years that perhaps have advanced quite well AI for one, as we all know. It could be the way that we search for searching content. It’s already here. If the question is, is it a matter of a yes or a no, of course it should be a yes,” she underscores.
Understanding and engaging with younger generations, the digital natives, is crucial for long-term success. “The younger generations in about a few years, they’re going to be the main customers in the market. So you would want to be able to connect to them. And these generations happen to be the ones that the digital natives that say, even the millennials, the Gen Zs, these are going to be your future customers, if not the present customers, right? So they are living in the digital space,” she says.
Yoj advises marketers to focus on fundamentals, maintaining a human touch in their digital efforts.
“So the growing pains must begin now. Before they become your main market, you better start getting into it now and then figuring things out. It’s still about fundamentals. So don’t get worried about the technology or whatever platform. It’s still about communication and message, and I’m going to add something there, which is that there’s the message and the message and there’s also the noise. There’s that noise. And then it’s still about that. It’s still about fundamentals and it’s about communicating if you want to reach out to your, more than just selling, but even just engaging with them if you want to be relevant because this is where they are.
“Never lose the human side. The technology is a good tool to have. It’s a good vehicle for you to put across your message. So going back to the slide, it’s a good vehicle to have for you to put forward your message and reach out to your intended customers or users. You should always take into consideration how exactly at the fundamental level, you are connecting to your intended customers, to your users. And for you to be able to indeed do that, it’s not enough that you tap into anything digital or you tap into the technology,” she emphasizes.
In closing, Yoj leaves us with a reminder that while technology and digital tools are essential, they should serve as vehicles for authentic human connection. In the world of micro-moments and fast-paced digital interactions, never losing sight of the human side of marketing is the key to creating lasting impressions and forging meaningful relationships with customers in this digital age.
“You will always need to find time and effort to know your customers better. So being a UX expert, wearing my UX hat, that is actually what I champion. In that sense, you will not be able to lose the human side of providing content, providing products and services through digital,” she finally says.
The Digital Primer Podcast continues to provide valuable insights and practical strategies for marketers and digital enthusiasts. Listeners can gain inspiration and actionable advice from industry leaders like Yoj Vestudio. To access the full podcast episode and learn more about Jayme’s journey, tune in and subscribe.
About Yoj Vestudio
Yoj Vestudio is a seasoned digital professional with a wealth of experience in the field of User Experience (UX) and digital product management. Currently serving as the Senior Portal and Digital UX Officer in one of the largest banks in the Philippines, she shows a consistent commitment to enhancing user experiences and driving innovation throughout their career.
Her early career highlights include the role of Producer for PinoyCentral Email at ABS-CBN Interactive, where she managed content and visual experiences for the PinoyCentral Email website, collaborating with technical teams to maintain and enhance service functionality.
She also served as a Senior Product Manager at Quipper, where she developed a strategic roadmap tailored to the Philippine market, aligning it with the Department of Education’s reform plan. Before her time at Quipper, Yoj spent an impressive 14 years with Globe Telecom, where she held the position of Lead for Experience Design and Research.
Throughout her career, Yoj Vestudio has consistently demonstrated a passion for enhancing user experiences, embracing design thinking, and driving innovation in the digital landscape.