What is Your Brand’s Zero Moment of Truth?

Everyone acknowledges that marketing has changed since the advent of social media, and I ran across a free eBook from Google this week that really hammered the message home.  The eBook is called “Winning the Zero Moment of Truth” by Jim Lecinski, Google’s Managing Director of US Sales & Service and Chief ZMOT Evangelist, and was originally discussed in a Google blog post in March 2010.

Essentially, the Zero Moment of Truth (also known as ZMOT)  is an update on the First Moment of Truth (FMOT) coined by Proctor & Gamble in 1995 to define the first interaction between a consumer and a product on a store’s shelf.  At the time, P&G considered this the most important marketing opportunities for a brand.

With the rise of social media, the FMOT is still important but most interactions take place before a consumer ever sees a product on a shelf.  Consumers are now using the Internet to search for products, review product websites, compare products and prices, read reviews and comments, see what their friends recommend, check out technical specs…and the list goes on.

ZMOT Graphic from Google's eBook

The key for all brands and companies is that “the conversation is already going on” whether you as a company are participating or not.  Companies cannot really start or stop it, but can choose to engage or not to engage.  As an example of the growth of ZMOT phenomena from the book noted that 37% of shoppers surveyed in 2011 found online social sources to be an influential driver when making decisions compared to 19% in 2010.   ZMOT is not limited to consumer or retail goods, but applies in B2B situations as well.

The top online social sources include:

  • Getting an online referral from a friend
  • Becoming a friend or follower of a brand
  • Reading blogs where the product was discussed
  • Seeing the brand mentioned on social networking sites
Personally, I am a big user of Yelp when I am in a new neighborhood or city and looking for a restaurant.  I definitely pay attention to the ratings and reviews – and reinforced this practice on a recent trip to Boston and Maine this year when we found two hidden off-the-beaten-path ‘gems’.
The book is well-organized and includes these chapters:
  1. Changing the Rulebook
  2. The New Mental Model
  3. ZMOT All Around Us
  4. Ratings and Reviews: Word of MOT
  5. Equal Thought, Not Afterthought
  6. How to Win at ZMOT
  7. MOT’s Next
This is the author’s final advice:
All you need to do now is get your business into the conversation. Take risks. Say yes. Ask your team the question “Are you ready to win at the Zero Moment of Truth?”

You can download the ZMOT eBook from the Zero Moment of Truth website you can view the PDF below.  You can also get the book on Kindle, Nook, iBook and at the Google eBookstore.