How the ZMOT Has Transformed Marketing
By Cristiane Namiuti
Today, the ubiquitous presence of the Internet and the massive adoption of mobile technologies are changing the way we relate with the world around us and redefining how we consume (anything and everything): brands, products, services, information, entertainment etc. Today we have immediate access to all types of information. This is a new paradigm that has transformed, and still continues to reshape, what once was the “Traditional Marketing”.
When we, consumers, are interested in a product or service it is just natural to go online, usually on our mobile devices, and do some research about it. This way of researching before shopping is so common for us that we can hardly remember that not that long ago, when there was no Internet, consumers had different shopping habits. For a very long time the mental model of marketing was based on three critical moments: stimulus, first moment of truth and second moment of truth. Today; however, the ZMOT – Zero Moment of Truth – has transformed that mental model.
Three-Step Mental Model of Marketing
For a very long time the mental model of marketing was based on three critical moments:
1) Stimulus: advertising that a consumer would watch at home, generating awareness about the product and an interest in trying it
2) First moment of Truth: the moment when the consumer goes to the store, finds the product on the shelf and decides to buy it
3) Second Moment of Truth: when the consumer uses the product and experiences its benefits
Consumer goods companies like Procter and Gamble and Unilever used this three step mental model to plan and execute their marketing and communications campaigns for decades. These companies used to build demand for their brands/products by investing mostly on traditional advertising and trade marketing activities in order to influence their consumers during the “stimulus” and “first moment of truth” steps:
Advertising, mainly TV and print media – to build awareness and stimulate interest during the “stimulus” step, ideally stimulating this consumer to go look for their product at the store
Trade marketing or point-of-purchase activities such as in-store promotions and shelf materials (ads, coupons etc.) – to attract attention and persuade the consumer to buy their product during the “first moment of truth” step.
However, over the last decade, technology has transformed the way people shop. With the advent of the Internet, consumers adopted new habits, and the mental model of marketing had to be adjusted accordingly.
Today, after watching a commercial – instead of going directly to the store, like it used to happen in the past with the three step model – consumers use their computers or mobile phones to search for all the available information about the product. This new habit changed consumers’ decision process, and was added to the mental model of marketing. This new step is called ZMOT: Zero Moment of Truth, because it happens after the stimulus from advertising, and before the first moment of truth at the store. The ZMOT empowers consumers by giving them invaluable information they can use to make better buying decisions, even before entering a store or talking to any sales person. Companies need to make sure they consider the ZMOT when they launch new brands and products. So they can create and distribute relevant content to answer their customers’ questions while presenting their brands in the best possible light.
Providing potential customers with great ZMOT experiences is crucial to positively influence and stimulate them to move to the next step: go look for the product at the store.
ZMOT is a concept largely promoted by Google. You can download the ZMOT e-book here. Click here to watch a video from Google about ZMOT.
Ilustration by freepik.com