The Zero Moment of Truth is a term coined by Google that refers to online research performed by a consumer before they purchase a product or service.
According Google, 88% of customers in the U.S. do online research on a product before they buy. This Zero Moment, or ZMOT, is changing the way marketers think about branding and online commerce.
Marketing used to revolve around the 3 to 5 seconds a consumer would spend deciding on a product while at the store shelf. It was the moment where all of a brand’s incessant advertising would payoff, in what Proctor & Gamble called the “First Moment of Truth”, or FMOT.
But technology has completely altered the way consumers decide on a product to buy.
Today, FMOT isn’t the only brand interaction that counts. Marketers have to consider ZMOT as much as they do traditional advertising. Consumers have infinite means available to research products: comparison-shopping websites, user-generated ratings & reviews, social media posts, and the list goes on. More importantly, they can perform their research anywhere — at home, at work, or while waiting in line at Starbucks — and it can be done in real-time.
No longer are consumers at the mercy of messages being pushed to them. The consumer is now largely in control, seeking out the information they need to decide on the product that will satisfy their specific wants and desires.
ZMOT poses new challenges for brands, but there are ways to optimize for these news interactions.
- Start by thinking about the customer’s journey, especially the specific customer that you’re trying to reach. Research the types of questions they may ask at the start of their journey. This should lend insights into what content and messaging a brand should be communicating across ads, websites, and other touch points.
- Consumers are using more than just a desktop computer. They’re also increasingly on the go and highly mobile, so brands need to make sure they have mobile-friendly content that consumers can consume on any device. Responsive design and other mobile-centric marketing are now essential.
- It’s also important to understand that consumers are not waiting for a single advertisement to tell them what to do. They’re empowered and ready to do their research, so help them out by developing high-quality content around a product, such as blog posts, buying guides, comparison charts, and videos — not just ads. Remember that engaging content is critical for establishing an emotional connection with consumers, and that emotional bond is fundamentally what ZMOT is all about.
- Provide good customer service. Reviews matter at ZMOT. So, make sure your customers are happy, especially after the sale is complete. Find ways to encourage reviews and place positive ones front and center whenever possible.
Don’t forget to target people who have already shown interest in your brand. With remarketing, you can help establish brand loyalty and retention.
These are just some of the high-level ways that brands can optimize for ZMOT.