Earlier, I wrote a blog discussing change and SEO. What does this have to do with ZMOT? Plenty. I argued the tactical error of companies, aiming for a position of strength in SERP, relying solely on the identification of popular keywords at the expense of identifying rising search terms. Paying attention to search terms experiencing significant growth puts forward-thinking companies in a position of strength. ZMOT, much like keyword trends, is an emerging marketing tool that businesses interested in a position of strength need to take seriously.
ZMOT, unlike the convention of keywords, focuses on the psychology of shopping in the information age. The reigning description of shopper behavior focused on three key stages: stimulus (advertising that peaks the consumer’s interest), shelf (first moment of truth when standing before the product), and experience (second moment of truth when the product is used at home). Enter ZMOT. Concurrent with the expansion and accessibility of digital information emerges what Jim Lecinski coins the zero moment of truth. This is that moment where the potential customer turns to the internet in search of reviews, descriptions, ratings, comparison sites, social media talk, etc. ZMOT takes place after the stimulus awakens the consumer to the possibility of this service or product adding value to that individual’s life and that moment where the consumer is ready to convert stimulus into a sale. This period of research becomes the make or break time for businesses to win over the confidence of the consumer.
More and more, consumers are engaging in the zero moment process. Jim Lecinski, in his book entitled “ZMOT – Winning the Zero Moment of Truth,” puts forth these noteworthy statistics:
• 70% of Americans look at product reviews before making a purchase.
• 79% of consumers now say they use a smart¬phone to help with shopping.
• 83% of moms say they do online research after seeing TV commercials for products that interest them.
I would describe these people as discriminating shoppers. I would know – I am one. At a recent stop at Best Buy, where my son wanted to buy a video game, I asked the salesman if he could show me reviews on a the games that my son was considering purchasing. At an in-store computer, my son and I read reviews and chose the one that had the best reviews. That was our zero moment of truth.
The makers of the game had no control over that information that played a role in our ultimate choice. We relied on the feedback given by those who had no stake in whether we purchased the game or not. Consumers like me are turning to consumers to make these decisions.
Does this mean that businesses lose their customers to a black hole where their marketing efforts have no influence? No. Businesses need to get into the black hole and see what is going on, hear what is being said, and join the dialogue.
Some businesses may fear that their inability to control the world of ZMOT means that they should just ignore it. That would be akin to someone refusing to open bills because if they pretend like they aren’t there then it won’t affect them. Understandably, businesses fear the potential for negative feedback damaging their efforts to succeed. However, ZMOT actually helps businesses accurately position, improve, and shape their products or services to the satisfaction of consumers. If consumers have found an additional use for product, promote it. If consumers have a common complaint about an aspect of your service, fix it. If consumers don’t like the name of your product, rename it.
Rather than ignore the reality of ZMOT, dive in and let people know that you listen and want to respond. After all, success is built on customer satisfaction and effective incorporation of the zero of moment truth principles puts you in a position to satisfy.
If your marketing team has yet to build ZMOT into its marketing strategy then read up on it and get in front of this psychology of shopping movement. If you don’t have the time or workforce to both learn about and incorporate ZMOT, look for content providers who can help you. When vetting those candidates seeking to become your ZMOT expert, use Jean Bansemer’s Ten Content Tips for ZMOT Zero Moment of Truth Experts to determine their qualifications. Your ZMOT experts should not only know where the consumers are but how to get you where you need to be.