Why Understanding The Zero Moment of Truth Can Earn You More Money
by Jo Shaer, on July 4, 2012
In 2011, the average shopper used 10.4 sources of information before buying - almost twice as many as the previous year and this has led to a whole new way of thinking about the traditional marketing model.
In the past, pieces of stimulus like tv and radio commercials would drive awareness of the need for a product which in turn would direct people to the point of sale (known as the first moment of truth), where they would choose your product or service and then take it home and have a great experience (the second moment of truth).
How traditional marketing has changed
But now the ability to get information from a multitude of sources and the choice to buy from more than one provider means that the Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT) comes between the stimulus and point of sale. It's what turns purchasers from undecided to decided.
The shopping journey begins with search and 70% of all transactions start with some form of product research because the biggest change is that shoppers who are smarter and more informed make better choices and save money
It is now a four moment model not three because, these days, people seeking a product can use tens of thousands of ways to find the best source for the product or service that will satisfy their need.
How advertising has changed
However, just as the purchasing process has changed, so has the method of advertising. There are now tools which allow you to be hyper-targeted. So, if there are 80 people in London looking for wedding rings on the web, you have the ability to get in front of just those 80 people and to use language which allows you to convince them that you are the brand for them.
It is vital that advertisers leverage these tools so they can show up at the right moment in front of the right person with the right message. Social Media allows businesses to get closer to their customers and to be there as trusted resources when they are looking for information about the products and services being offered.
How a customer makes a purchasing decision
Marketing is meeting customer requirements. People are humans so you have to understand what they say and do but also what they feel.
If you line up a series of similar products and ask them to talk about what they like and which ones they like best, they are using the most advanced part of their brains to explain.
However, if you then tell them that they can only choose one, the advanced part of the brain goes dark and the central part takes over - fight or flight, yes or no, risk vs reward. This is where the purchasing decision is actually made. It's an emotional process and if you get them at the ZMOT, you can track those emotional decisions all the way to the shopping cart so it's vital that the words on your website or in your advertisement are designed to influence that emotional response.
The importance of online reviews
Online reviews and testimonials are growing fast and they are starting to dominate the search engine results pages, showing in the Google Plus Local (formerly Places) Pages, in third party directory citations and even in the Adwords/PPC ads in some countries. So, if you want to truly capture the Zero Moment of Truth, you have to make sure that you have a good selection of reviews that reflect your strengths and sometimes your weaknesses. So that you look like a bona fide company.
Google Plus have even announced that they will be allowing Adwords customers to show the +1s of friends of those logged into their social media platform. People buy from businesses that they know, like and trust but also from those that their friends know, like and trust.
57% of people say they talk more online than in real life whether in social media or email and 1 in 4 search results across the world's top 20 largest brands are links to user generated content - not things that are officially controlled by the brand so that includes reviews and status updates on social media.
The critical factor in the ZMOT
But the ZMOT doesn't always happen in front of the PC at home, sometimes that decision to purchase takes place in the aisles of the shop itself as the customer scans a QR code with a mobile phone to find out more information and then posts it onto Facebook to get the views of friends. It is vital that great customer service has influenced some of those reviews for a positive outcome.
As I said at the beginning, in 2011, the average US shopper consulted 10.4 sources prior to making a purchase, you need to be sure that the sources they are consulting are the ones which will compel them to choose your product or service at the Zero Moment of Truth.