Is Your Online Marketing Failing at the Zero Moment Of Truth?

4 mins read

Back in 2005, the Wall Street Journal authored a big story about a controversial marketing approach first pioneered by consumer brand giant Procter and Gamble. This story discussed P&G’s new strategy called “First Moment of Truth”, since being shortened to the acronym FMOT.

The FMOT refers to a very short time window, around three to seven seconds, wherein someone encounters a product when shopping on a store shelf. P&G contends that all of the billions spent on consumer branding and marketing comes down to the impact on that incredibly short time frame when a shopper converts the sum of their senses, values, emotions, biases, experiences, etc… into a behavioral decision to pick up the product and buy it.

But that’s not where it stops. In fact, P&G’s CEO at the time, A. G. Lafley, describes a further position in the customer acquisition process called the “Second Moment of Truth”, or SMOT.

This is when the customer actually engages with the product, and decides right then and there whether or not the experience meets the expectations set in the FMOT when buying.

They’re either happy with their purchase, or they aren’t.

Later on, in 2011, Google released an ebook by Jim Lecinscki, which takes a deep dive into these key moments. Google defined a model for marketing that starts with stimulus, goes into the FMOT, and then the SMOT.

The book also defined the ZMOT, or Zero Moment of Truth, which is the impression has been formed and the path towards buying actually begins.

In this information-connected era, the Zero Moment of Truth is when someone grabs their mobile phone, tablet, or any other device and starts looking up information about the product.

Customers will, in that critical, zero moment of truth moment, be influenced to buy or to walk away, depending largely upon what they find when they conduct that investigation and search.

The statistics are pretty solid. Seventy-nine percent (79%) of surveyed consumers state they use a smart phone to assist with shopping. Over 2/3’s of Americans will read product reviews online before buying.

Now, if you’ve got something to sell, this is extremely important:

What you say about yourself online matters far less than what others are saying about you.

How are you identifying the conversations taking place about your brand or your company?

Are there conversations taking place about you and your products or services?

How might you be able to tap into other influencers in the online community focused on your vertical or niche to leverage their followers and networks?

Do you have a social influencer marketing strategy tied to your middle-of-the-funnel platforms (inbound marketing) to help overcome resistance at the zero moment of truth?

How are you leveraging the zero moment of truth seconds before someone decides to buy from you?

Or not?


Michael Hiles

CEO 10XTS, INTJ, chaotic good, PDP/11 in '79 (THAT kid), info architect, Milton Friedman, data science, semantics, epistemology, coffee snob, OG hip hop

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