The Zero Moment of Truth: A New Marketing Strategy

Tuesday, June 28, 2011 | 9:52 AM

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Once upon a time, marketers believed that shoppers made up their mind about a product in about the time it takes to read this sentence.

The three to seven seconds a shopper considered a product on a store shelf, it was claimed, was a critical moment -- what P&G termed the “First Moment of Truth,” or FMOT ("eff-mot") -- the moment when all the advertising a consumer has seen for a brand will either pay off with a purchase, or not.

Since then, FMOT has become one of those ideas, like “tipping point” and “purple cow,” that we all know (at least by name). It’s one of three widely-accepted “moments of truth” for a product -- the other two being when the consumer sees an ad for the product (the stimulus) and when she uses it for the first time (the experience).

These concepts still hold true today; they may be even more relevant given the continued emergence of strong store brands. But thanks to the web, we’re seeing the rise of an additional class of critical brand interactions -- a new “MOT” -- the Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT), which occurs after the consumer sees an ad for a product but before a purchase is made in store. Precisely, it occurs at the moment when a shopper goes online to research a product and decides whether to make a purchase.

Growth in everything from review queries and coupon redemption to mobile usage strongly indicate that this phenomenon is real. But what we wondered is, what does this phenomenon mean for marketers? To find out, we spent a lot of time talking to industry experts and leading-edge marketers, and conducting primary market research, to learn as much as we can about ZMOT ("zee-mot").

Now we’re excited to drive industry discussion and pass our findings to marketers in a new free ebook, Winning the Zero Moment of Truth.

We explore:
  • Typical ZMOT moments that happen every day across any industry
  • Why marketers should consider ZMOT as important as “the ad” and “the shelf”
  • Seven steps to winning at ZMOT, including exercises to identify relevant moments for your brand
If you’re interested in learning more about the consumer behavior that’s changing the way marketers think about branding and online commerce, you can download Google’s free marketing strategy ebook Winning the Zero Moment of Truth. We encourage you to join the conversation, and check out the enhanced video version of the book, at (#zmot). We hope you enjoy our work, and that it can help you navigate your own moments of truth.

Posted by Jim Lecinski, Author and Chief ZMOT Evangelist, Google