Get With ZMOT or Forever Be Forgotten

The business world is constantly adapting and evolving. Just five years ago, cell phones were used simply to make calls and tablet devices were nothing more than an idea. So, what does this mean for businesses and the men and women that run them? It means that the consumer is constantly adapting and evolving, as well. In order to run a successful business, one must not only understand the consumer, but also the process that the consumer goes through in completing a purchase. Traditionally, the consumer purchase model, according to P&G;, begins with the first moment of truth (FMOT). A consumer is first exposed to a stimulus (ad, commercial, etc.), then reaches the FMOT or point of sale and finally he/she uses or experiences the product (the second moment of truth).

Although this model still generally describes a consumer’s purchase decision, it skips over a very important step. In his book, Winning the Zero Moment of Truth, Google’s Jim Lecinski introduces something known as the zero moment of truth (ZMOT): a step that happens after a consumer has responded to the stimulus but before the point of sale (FMOT). The zero moment of truth is a step in which today’s consumer begins to evaluate alternative options before completing a purchase. From blogs and product reviews to videos and in-store demonstrations, the modern consumer has access to many forms of consumer insights that can help him/her make the best purchase and alleviate the possibility of buyer’s remorse. The explosion of digital and mobile purchasing tools has provided even the simple, local grocery story shopper with an artillery of consumer insights.

Consumers of every generation have embraced the ease and accessibility in which they can now evaluate alternative options. For example, when my dad started looking to buy my mom a new car, he began by searching for small luxury SUVs on his computer. The first thing he saw after submitting his search, and before ever clicking on a webpage, were a number of ads that highlighted sites related to the best small luxury SUVs: Mercedes-Benz and Audi. When my dad clicked on his first site, it had a long list of just what he was looking for. Guess which cars he chose from the list? The Mercedes-Benz, Audi and BMW.

Now that he had narrowed down his selection to a limited number of brands, he began to do a little research. He read a number of reviews and blogs and then checked out the various company websites. He wanted to make sure he was going to get the “best bang for the buck,” one of his many ‘old’ sayings. After evaluating all of the research, both he and my mom decided the Mercedes GLK was perfect car. In the past, my dad had only purchased Lexus, Toyota, BMW, Lincoln, and Ford vehicles, never a Mercedes. To me, this shows that Mercedes has done an excellent job of understanding the zero moment of truth and made sure that they have not only placed advertisements in the best spots, but also provided potential consumers with a plethora of information confirming the brand’s superiority.

I experienced ZMOT myself the other day when buying toothpaste. In the past, I may have just walked into the store and selected the most appealing looking tube, but now I was able to quickly access a few product reviews and blogs on my phone before making the purchase.

Companies must embrace the importance of the zero moment of truth if they want to succeed in the future. Consumers are smart, they have and will continue to take notice of which companies and brands have incorporated ZMOT into their business models. Blogs and product reviews are nothing for companies to fear, in fact, more often than not, even negative product reviews are good for a company. Consumers tend not to trust products or companies with nothing but positive reviews, they don’t seem authentic. An effective understanding and implementation of ZMOT will help a company reach potential consumers and stand apart from their competition.

This is a brief overview of ZMOT and the role it has in today’s consumer purchase model. Do yourself and your company a favor, read up on this important new step and start using it your advantage. Please post tweets or comments on Facebook that relate to how you are using this in your everyday life.

Posted by Zach Stevens on 07/27