In 2005 Procter & Gamble introduced the marketing world to the ‘First Moment of Truth’, the critical instant when the shopper stands in front of the shelf and makes a purchasing decision. Recognising that everything hangs on that moment, P&G reverse engineers its campaigns from the shelf back, focusing on winning when it matters most. The Second Moment of Truth follows post purchase, when a consumer, who may not be the shopper, gets home and tries the product for the first time (as in “when she buys and when he tries”).

Following in P&G’s formidable footsteps, Google added the ‘Zero Moment of Truth’. ZMOT captures the idea that the shopper now goes some way towards making up her mind about what she’s going to buy well before she reaches the shelf (if she reaches it at all). She forages through blogs and reviews, sounds out her social networks, and finally goes shopping empowered, influenced and informed.

Google’s latest thinking in this space is captured in a colorful free e-book by its MD of US Sales & Services Jim Lecinski, with a foreword by shopper marketing pioneer and expert Dina Howell, Global CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi X. The first and second moments of truth are as important as ever, but as Dina says, ZMOT is pivotal to what brands make the list for the shopping trip. Dina makes the point that the pre-purchase adventure is about much more than pulling together the facts – it’s also emotional and relational:

Shoppers today want to explore and think about how products can improve their lives. They do reconnaissance to gain the insights they need, and they’re driven to bond with others and enrich relationships as they learn. They are motivated by a desire to take charge of their own identities and the wellbeing of their families and homes. These are universal truths, regardless of culture or circimstances.
All of these moments of truth – ZMOT, FMOT, SMOT – are reflections of the ultimate marketing truth: the shopper is in control, or as P&G’s former CEO AG Lafley said, “she’s the boss.” It’s no longer enough to enter her world in a passing moment; you have to become a part of it, coming along for the whole journey from contemplating and making a purchase, to using the product and buying again.

Here are seven nuggets from Lecinski, crunched down, on how to win at ZMOT:

1. Put Someone in Charge. If it’s nobody’s job, it’s not going to get done. You need a ZMOT evangelist, in on every meeting and empowered to do the job.

2. Find Your Zero Moments: Find out exactly how people search for your product. Where do they go? Who do they trust to give them information?

3. Answer the Questions People Are Asking: There’s no point meeting people at ZMOT if you’re not giving them the kind of information they want, as and when they want it.

4. Optimize for ZMOT: Show up more when it counts by making your content super-relevant, and being where you need to be (Lecinski makes the point that having a great mobile presence is a big part of this).

5. Be Fast: Know when something’s making people search for your product, and do something quick to capitalise on it. Speed beats perfection.

6. Don’t Forget Video: SISOMO rules. Do it.

7. Jump In! Emotion leads to action. Make something happen!

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Kevin Roberts

Kevin Roberts is founder of Red Rose Consulting; business leader and educator; author and speaker; adviser on marketing, creative thinking and leadership.


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