B2B Articles - December 22, 2015

What Is the Zero Moment of Truth?

Marketers have traditionally focused on three steps in the buying process, but with the advent of the web, a forth stage has emerged as a significant influencer on the buying process.

In the first step, known as "stimulus," potential customers are prompted to seek out a product, usually by advertisements. They then head to the shelf, whether physical or virtual, to purchase the product that looks best; this second step is called the "first moment of truth." Finally, in the third step, the consumer experiences the product, fulfilling the "second moment of truth."

The Zero Moment of Truth

Like many other things in the digital age, the internet has changed this model of the way consumers shop. In recent years, a fourth step has come out of the woodwork: the "zero moment of truth."

ZMOT - What Is the Zero Moment of Truth

A New Step in the Buying Process

With easy access to a myriad of products, most consumers now conduct preliminary research before purchasing anything. A study funded by Google showed that the majority of consumers head to the web to make an informed decision when it's time to buy, whether they want a new car or just a new book [1]. In addition to looking at specific models of the product they're interested in, people conduct more general research, asking questions such as:

  • What features are important or useful in this product?
  • How does a specific product compare to similar ones?
  • What are other people saying about the product?
  • Where is the cheapest place to purchase the product I want?

This research process is referred to as the "zero moment of truth," or ZMOT ("zee-mot").

What Does the ZMOT Mean for Me?

The ZMOT is a huge factor in determining a product's success. Nowadays, products must hold up not only to industry standards but also to the reviews of any customers who have ever used the product. Digital analyst Brian Solis posits that, in the internet era, the customer experience is usually a shared one because consumers trust each other more than businesses and can easily share their experiences online [2]. Unsurprisingly, Google announced that the ZMOT is now the most important step in the consumer process [1]. So what can you do as a business to ensure your product survives the zero moment of truth?

  • Make information about your product readily available so shoppers can compare
  • Solicit reviews about your product--good or bad, they'll help you improve
  • Get your product listed in buyer's guides
  • Be prepared for rigorous comparison versus similar products

Marketing with the ZMOT in mind can be a scary leap for traditional marketers, but you should embrace it! The advent of the ZMOT represents not an obstacle but a leap forward in giving consumers what they really need and want.

Related:  What is Agile Marketing?


[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g40rrWBx2ok

[2] https://www.briansolis.com/2014/09/new-era-seo-zero-moment-truth-defined-shared-customer-experiences/

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