Earlier this year Google released a free eBook that every business or website owner that sells any sort of product or service online – even if that is just selling Ad-sense impressions from site visitors – should read titled ZMOT: Winning the Zero Moment of Truth.
Written by Jim Lecinski, Google’s managing director of US Sales & Service and chief ZMOT evangelist,ZMOT: Winning the Zero Moment of Truth takes a fresh look at what consumer goods manufacturer Proctor & Gamble (P&G) termed the First moment of truth” (FMOT) in 2005 – a concept that became so integral to the way P&G does business that it hired a dedicated FMOT officer.
The “First moment of truth” (FMOT) was coined to describe the moment of decision when a consumer is in a store and reaches for a product on the shelf and was examined in a Wall Street Journal article on September 21, 2005.
The growth of the internet, social networking and mobile computing has seen the FMOT evolve to the ZMOT, with P&Gs former director of FMOT, Dina Howell, now chief executive officer at Satchi & Satchi X, claiming the ZMOT occurs well before consumers stand in front of a shelf looking at a range of competing products.
The Zero Moment of Truth
According to Ms. Howell, “today’s consumers know so much more before they reach the shelf. They find incredible detail online, from every possible source, about the brands and products that matter to them. They browse, dig, explore, dream and master, and then they’re ready to buy with confidence. And what they learn, they share with others”.
“The Zero Moment of Truth influences which brands make the shopping list, where shoppers choose to buy and with whom they share the results. It’s up to us to join the conversation at this new moment where decisions are being made, and to provide the information that shoppers naturally crave, in all the ways that they crave it”, she adds.
Rishad Tobaccowala, chief strategy & innovation officer at digital specialist agency VivaKi, says, “when consumers hear about a product today, their first reaction is ‘Let me search online for it'”.
Remembering that Google is the largest and most frequently used online search engine with the capability to gather inordinate amounts of information about the actions of people online and it’s fair to presume that the conclusions reached in ZMOT: Winning the Zero Moment of Truth are based on lots of real-world data.
According to ZMOT: Winning the Zero Moment of Truth, 70 percent of Americans say they look at product reviews before making a purchase, while 83 percent of mothers say they research products online after seeing TV commercials for items that interest them.
ZMOT: Winning the Zero Moment of Truth covers how the buying decision journey has changed: how what was once a message, is now a conversation; why word of mouth is stronger than ever; why no MOT is too small; where the MOTs are meeting (mobile devices are MOT machines) and more.
ZMOT – Change in the marketing – sales process
Put simply, ZMOT: Winning the Zero Moment of Truth is a book about transformation and change and includes interesting data on purchasing habits, the influence of reviews, and the online searching habits of consumers.
Whereas in the past the traditional purchasing process comprised three steps –
Stimulus – becoming aware of a product
the First Moment of Truth FMOT – viewing the product on a store shelf, and
the Second Moment of Truth (SMOT) of truth – the purchasers feelings after using the product – the shopping process in the 21st century now comprises the extra step of the ZMOT when a consumer reaches for their PC, laptop or PC-tablet and starts searching for information on a product that has piqued their interest.
With American consumers now spending as much time online as watching television, capturing that ZMOT is a vital part of the sales process that can’t be ignored, however, according to Forrester Research, only about 15 percent of media advertising budget was spent on online marketing in 2010.
Consumers accessing 10.4 sources of information prior to ZMOT
According to ZMOT: Winning the Zero Moment of Truth, changing the marketing model from the traditional three-step approach of the past to the new four-step process incorporating the ZMOT will deliver in a significant advantage by putting sellers in contact with millions of shoppers who are making purchasing decisions before they enter the store.
ZMOT: Winning the Zero Moment of Truth cites a study conducted by Shopper Sciences on behalf of Google that examined the shopping habits of 5,000 people across 12 different product categories finding that the average shopper used 10.4 sources of information to make a purchasing decision in 2011 – a 96 percent increase in the number of reference sources tapped prior to a purchase being made.
While the 10.4 sources comprised traditional sources such as television and radio advertising, catalogs and print publication reviews, an increasing number of people said they were turning to blogs, websites and social networks for their information, with 84 percent of purchasers saying the ZMOT shaped their purchasing decision, compared to 77 percent who made their decision at the FMOT.
The concept behind ZMOT: Winning the Zero Moment of Truth is really no different to what humans have been doing since the earliest days of mankind – sharing information.