Jim Lecinski, managing director of U.S. Sales and Service for Google and all around good guy, has kindly given us permission to distribute his phenomenal report entitled Winning at the Zero Moment of Truth. The 73-page e-book documents the startling changes in consumer researching and buying behavior occurring as the internet, social networks and channels, content like user reviews, ratings and other consumer-generated content, search engines and “always on” smart phones and other mobile devices converge to create a new kind of world where your brand is not what you say it is but what the consumer says it is.
In reality, the “internet of things” arrived a bit earlier than anticipated. It came in form of the Internet of US! It came about because of our iPhones, iPads, Androids and other smart, mobile devices, perpetually connected to the internet, broadcasting our likes and dislikes…our sharing, creating, commenting, reviewing and recommending. The hard cold truth for most brands is not that the technology is ahead of their marketing efforts…their customers are ahead of their marketing efforts!
In order to understand the Zero Moment, you have to understand the First Moment of Truth concept popularized by Procter & Gamble. It referred to the first place a brand had to win…when the consumer, stimulated by some kind of marketing communication or advertising like a TV spot, a coupon or a magazine ad stands in front of the product at the retail shelf and decides to put the brand in their shopping cart. The marketing model that goes along with this concept is simple: run creative advertising to get the consumer to be aware, to have interest, to go to a retail location and buy your product. A tremendous amount of time, money and effort has gone into perfecting this system.
What’s changed is huge critical moment now occurs between stimulus and shelf. It impacts every product or service category, whether it’s a considered good like a $40,000 automobile, a $2,500 HDTV or a $3 bottle of body wash. It has implications for both business-to-business and business-to-consumer marketers.
Consumers still may watch your TV spots or see you magazine ad. But they now immediately grab their laptop or smart phone and search for reviews to see what others are saying about your product. They go to Facebook or Twitter and ask their friends if anyone has used the product and if so, what they think. They may go to YouTube and look for a vedeo of someone demoing the product…or making fun of it. Before they’ve even been able to go to the store, they have all the information they need and they’ve already made up their mind.
The Zero Moment of Truth describes this dominant role these connections, community and content are now playing in how we research, learn, search and ultimately find and buy products and services.
Jim sites several examples of zeros moments of truth in his report:
- A busy mom in a minivan is looking up decongestants on her mobile phone as she waits to pick up her son from school.
- An office manager at her desk, comparing laser printer prices and toner cartridge costs to determine which office supply store has the best price
- A student in a cafe, scanning user ratings and reviews while looking up a cheap hotel in Barcelona.
- A winter sports fan in a ski store, pulling out a mobile phone to watch video reviews of the latest snowboards
- A young woman in a condo, searching the web for juicy details about a guy with whom she’s been set up on a blind date
Kim Kadlec, worldwide vice president of Global Marketing at Johnson & Johnson puts it this way in the report:
We’re entering an era of reciprocity. We now have to engage people in a way that’s useful or helpful to their lives. The consumers is looking to satisfy their needs, and we have to be there to help them with that. To put it another say: How can we exchange value instead of just sending a message?
That’s the question every marketer should be exploring and using to examine every piece of traditional advertising and marketing. Is it delivering value? Is it helping to answer the consumers need for information. Is is designed to engage and amplify across this environment filled with zero moments of truth. Something to think about.