I finally got around to reading ZMOT: Winning The Zero Moment of Truth by Jim Lecinski, published by Google. If you haven’t read it yet, go grab a copy — it’s free.
It’s actually a brilliant example of content marketing by Google — a company not exactly renown for their own content marketing (despite enabling it for the rest of us!). As I mentioned in my Search Engine Land column earlier this month, 3 Dead Excuses for Badly Designed Landing Pages, Google has really been stepping up the creativity of its own marketing. But I digress…
Jim defines ZMOT as “that moment when you grab your laptop, mobile phone or some other wired device and start learning about a product or service (or potential boyfriend) you’re thinking about trying or buying.”
This is in contrast to the First Moment of Truth (FMOT) and Second Moment of Truth (SMOT), coined by Procter & Gamble’s A.G. Lafley this way, “The best brands consistently win two moments of truth. The first moment occurs at the store shelf, when a consumer decides whether to buy one brand or another. The second occurs at home, when she uses the brand — and is delighted, or isn’t.”
The book delves into some terrific research and insight into this new moment of truth, which consists of activities such as:
- Searching online, using search engines
- Talking with friends/family about a product
- Comparison shopping products online
- Seeking information from a product brand/manufacturer’s website
- Reading product reviews or endorsements online
- Reading comments following an article/opinion piece online
- Becoming a friend/follower/”liking” a brand
According to Google’s research, 84% of shoppers said that these ZMOT activities shape their decisions. Of course, all of this supports Google’s underlying value proposition around search and display advertising, Google-inspired SEO, and the new social mechanisms of Google+. But that doesn’t change that fact that it’s manifestly true.
It also underscore the importance of marketing technology.
Almost all of these ZMOT activities are taking place in digital environments that are directly powered by — or at least indirectly influenced by — the growing collection of marketing technologies for search and social PPC ad management, SEO management, web experience management, social media monitoring and management, customer relationship management, marketing automation, and — my favorite — post-click marketing management.
If you accept the ZMOT as the new battleground for marketing, then marketing technologies are your weapons of war. And marketing technologists, rising in popularity, are your artillery units, your fighter pilots, your aircraft carrier navigators.
At the risk of taking this analogy way too far, ask yourself: are you only standing in this maelstrom with a pocket knife and a stern grimace?