Throughout my Squared Online journey, I came across the “Zero Moment of Truth”.

It is nice to study night and day, and discover that there will always be something you’ve never heard of.

That feeling is even better, if what you are hearing is something you somehow were already taking care of.

Discovering the Zero Moment of Truth has been an eye opener for me, so let us cut to the chase and start digging deeper into it.

Whether we’re shopping for corn flakes, concert tickets or a honeymoon in Paris, the Internet has changed how we decide what to buy. At Google, we call this online decision-making moment the Zero Moment of Truth – or simply ZMOT.

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The magnificence of smartphones is owed to the fact that they allow us to act on any impulse, at any time. Whenever we want or need, we can buy, learn, read, watch, do or find something.

The Mobile Marketing Association of Asia has found that out of the 6 billion people on the Earth, 4.8 billion (!) have a mobile phone, while only 4.2 billion own a toothbrush.

Hey, wait. What?!

Yes, you read that right. On our planet there are more mobilephones than toothbrushes.

What has changed in our lives since the mobile revolution?

I wouldn’t be exaggerating by replying “almost everything”, both in our life as a customer and in our life as a marketer.

A great deal of research has already been done. Let us take this typical purchasing-decision process as an example:

  • You’re watching your favourite late night TV program. During commercials, you see an up-to-date action camera (Stimulus);
  • You realise that you will actually have a lot of occasions to shoot outstanding photos during one of your favourite activities. So, you decide to check the camera out on the Internet (Zero Moment of Truth, ZMOT);
  • You decide the camera must be yours. Instead of purchasing it on the Internet, the day after you go to the store and buy it (First Moment of Truth, FMOT);
  • You unbox it, and it is great! You are fully satisfied, and decide to review it on the Internet (Second Moment of Truth, SMOT).

Engagement with the customer today isn’t just pouring a message down on their head and hoping they get wet. It really is understanding that you must be present in a conversation when they want to have it, not when you want to. Pre-shopping before buying has become a huge, huge part of customer behaviour. In the past, it was pretty much confined to big-tickets items like cars, or expensive electronics or homes. Now people engage in discovery before shopping on very small things. It’s crossed all categories of shopping behaviour. It’s just the way people buy today.

  • Bob Thacker, Gravitytank Strategic Advisor and former CMO of OfficeMax

In 2005, A.G. Leaflet Chairman, President & CEO of Procter & Gamble coined two Moments of Truth, i.e. first and second. They represent the moment when a customer/user interacts with a brand, product or service.

However, we will focus on the ZMOT.

In 2011, Google coined the term “Zero Moment of Truth”. The ZMOT represents that range of time in which prospects recognise a need and go online to gather information regarding what brand provides the best value for their money.

According to data that has been gathered in 2011, it is easy to see how purchasing decisions are greatly influenced by the ZMOT. Over the next few years, the number of smartphone users worldwide will increase greatly.

This is going to have a direct impact on customers’ purchasing patterns: smartphones are the customer’s best friend when it comes to shopping. Apart from scouring the Internet to look for the best product with the best price, smartphones act as a useful shopping aid – we need only to think of instant coupons campaigns, product barcode scanning, but also price scanning and recording.

Furthermore, consider the potential of Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. Brands which are beginning to rely and invest in social media campaigns, are dominating the marketplace.

For instance, take a look at Oreo (Oreo’s content marketing) and GoPro (GoPro’s content marketing).

It is interesting to notice that they do not only share outstanding content, but also tend to engage with their customers often.

Scrolling your Facebook account’s home, you will see a lot of sponsored posts. These posts are converting thousands of customers every day, which get interested in the items and in the brand. But is it enough to sponsor a few posts to dominate the marketplace?

The short answer is “no, not at all”.

Today, every brand has to be consistently present in social media and invest an important slice of its budget in producing valuable content, and engaging with customers.

In a few years, customers will require more and more personalised offers, and we are going to discover at least one more Moment of Truth.

The new Moment of Truth will coincide with direct and private conversations between brands and customers.

Actually, they are already chatting through chatbots (How should smart brand be using Artificial Intelligence?), yet customers tend to dislike prepackaged answers.

When brands will recognise the importance to make customers feel important on social media as much as in real life, they will begin to in invest in it and to formulate special offers based on the amount of likes and views.

Another good idea may be formulating instant offers, which are only dedicated to special customers and expire in a few hours.

This conclusion is just my own prevision. The only certain thing is that the first brand which will achieve to provide this sort of service, is going to dominate the marketplace for ages.

We will see

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