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Understanding the ‘zero moment of truth’ with our intern, Hannah!

My name is Hannah Lohmar and I am currently doing my master’s degree in Marketing at Nottingham Trent University. As part of my master’s thesis I will be doing an internship at the Dairy for the next two months. Originally from Cologne in Germany, I am guilty of some of the German stereotypes that you might have heard about ( I can even plan my birthday in a GANTT chart and I am almost always punctual) and I am madly in love with animals. If somebody asked me where I see myself in 10 years I have an impressive portfolio of cat and dog lady memes I can show. But seriously, I would like to work in a non-government organisation (NGO) that specialises in environmental or animal welfare in the future. I am one of these individuals who can surprisingly survive without coffee. Hence, making coffee is still the most experimental part at the Dairy for me!

 

In my first blog post I would like to introduce you to the zero moment of truth (ZMOT).

 

How ZMOT has changed customer behaviour and marketing understanding

When I was walking the streets in Lisbon I passed by an advertisement about a black toothpaste that was supposed to whiten the teeth tremendously after the first usages. My attention was caught not just because the image was somehow contradicting, but because I was wondering whether this toothpaste really works. So when I was at home I found myself in a serious Google search to find out more about the product and to evaluate user ratings and reviews. And I am just talking about a toothpaste here.

 

This behaviour should not be strange to anyone. The “mobile movement study” of Google (2011) found out that 79% of consumers consult their smartphone or laptop prior to shopping and make decisions based on their search results. Google refers to this phenomenon as the zero point of truth (ZMOT), following the first, second and third moments of truth that were discovered by Procter & Gamble.

 

In 2005, the concept of the  first, second and third moment of truth disrupted the marketing industry. The first moment of truth occurs at the store shelf, when a consumer needs to decide whether to purchase a product or not and the second takes place at home, when a product is used for the first time and causes satisfaction or dissatisfaction. Finally, the third moment of truth ideally should result in brand advocacy and brand loyalty.

 

Although these moments of truth are still important for marketing understanding, the ZMOT is a real game changer. It has divided the customer journey in various zero moments that for example comprise browsing the website, looking on social media channels or searching for product reviews – and all of them shape the customer decision making process.


Be successful with ZMOT

Businesses that make it easy for customers to find the information they are searching for are likely to stay ahead of the game. In particular, this means that companies need to display the right content on different digital touch points at the right time. And this is not just the case for big companies, but also for local businesses. The secret here is to find out about the zero moments of truth of your individual business by getting to grips with the most popular search terms, keywords and current trends in search engines. In a second step, you need to ensure you answer the questions that occur. For example, reviewing the bounce rate of your websites can be one strong indicator of where different or additional information might be needed. For those seeking to be more ambitious and going the extra mile it is time to think creatively. In a lot of cases, shared content that is not directly linked to your business can still be valuable to be associated with your brand. What matters the most here is to be fast – trends pop up and disappear very quickly, so instead of hesitating and thinking about the final touch, act quickly and be prepared to be flexible. And last but not least, in terms of Instagram and Snapchat, video is one of the most favourable content formats for many consumers. Without spending too much money on video production you can, for example, keep it simple and authentic by filming a short clip on your phone that displays the content mentioned before.


To wrap it up

ZMOT has definitely changed the way customers purchase products or services today and it also offers a lot of new opportunities for marketers to start off a relationship with customers on the right foot. However, the previously mentioned moments of truth also need to be taken into account to form a consistent customer journey. By the way, I did buy the toothpaste in the end. ZMOT won.

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