ZMOT which stands for “Zero Moment of Truth” is more than just a buzzword, it is a theory coined by Google which has been around for a few years. In marketing world, there are a lot of theories and concepts, some of the common ones are those like SMART Goals, SWOT Analysis, the 5Ps and 5Ms. Now, if you as a digital marketer is not familiar with ZMOT, perhaps it’s time to brush up on some digital marketing theories and concepts.
Let’s start from the very beginning…….
In 2005, A.G. Lafley, the CEO of Procter & Gamble brought about the “First Moment of Truth” (FMOT) which supposedly occurs at store shelves, when consumers contemplate between two brands; which to buy over the other. This marked the beginning of studies on what influences buyer’s decisions. So is the ZMOT theory the online counterpart of FMOT? Somewhat. Let’s see how.
In 2011, Shopper Sciences did some research for Google to find out how shoppers are influenced into making specific choices. Results of the study were profoundly insightful. First and foremost, the study found that 31% of consumers read online reviews and endorsements before making a purchase, 36 % checks the brand’s website, 38% made comparisons online and 50% use search engines to get more information about the product or brand.
Jim Lecinski, who was Google’s Managing Director of U.S. Sales & Services at that time, explains the ZMOT customer journey in his e-book which is summarized as follows:
According to Lecinski, ZMOT occurs during steps 3-5. He also further explains people do not tend to make purchases based on the opinion of strangers but value recommendations by people who are similar to themselves (Influencers). Lecinski made claims that ZMOT is a bold move away from the traditional sales funnel; however in practice, many businesses happens offline, hence ZMOT is more of branch off, specifically for digital marketers.
ZMOT is not a concept that is absolute in nature to pertain only to the online arena. It’s is a broader concept that takes into account the entire ecosystem. For instance, it might be students checking Amazon reviews at the library before buying some books, a colleague checking hotel reviews while discussing where to go for the next company trip in the meeting room, a dad checking movie reviews while queuing up to get tickets for the family. All of these activities happen online, yet they are not completely online.
It takes more than just this one article to fully grasp the entire ZMOT concept. But for a quick take away? Here are some things to keep in mind when marketing your online channels:
The Zero Moment of Truth Video: