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 buying behavior brought about by the internet and activities/tools such as search/search engines, social channels and networks, user reviews, other consumer generated content and “always on” smart phones.
In reality, the “internet of things” arrived a bit earlier than anticipated. It came in the form of the Internet of US and emerged due to 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. This concept was made popular by Procter & Gamble and 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 stood in front of the product at the retail shelf and weighed the decision to put the brand in their shopping cart. The marketing model was 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 there is now a huge critical moment between stimulus and shelf in every product or service category. Consumers still watch your TV spots or see you magazine ad. But then they grab their laptop or smart phone and search for reviews to see what others are saying about your product. They go to Twitter or Facebook and ask their friends if anyone has used the product and what they think. They may go to YouTube and look for a vedeo of someone using the product. And, before they’ve even been able to go to the store, they’ve made up their mind.
The Zero Moment of Truth describes the dominant role these connections, community and content are now playing in how we research, learn, search and ultimately find and buy products and services. It’s not just about business-to-consumer brands or considered goods. The behavior is remarkably consistent for business-to-business marketers and it’s just a relevant for makers of $40,000 automobiles as it is for manufacturers of $3.50 bottles of toothpaste.
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
We’ve been tracking these behavioral changes for a while ourselves. That’s why we started to incorporate digital content and social connectivity components in our promotions, events, experiences, sponsorship activations and shopper programs. The idea is to take what happens in the real world, reaching thousands of people, and amplify it with the conversations, content, connections and community so that the offline activities ripple online to impact and reach millions.
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 our now reality, filled with zero moments of truth? Something to think about.