Marketing has always played an important role in the success of businesses. It is one of the essential processes and is the major driver of future sales and profitability.
But what does marketing really mean?
Marketing is the process where businesses – whether for products or services – promote and position their goods in the market so that consumers will choose them over all the existing and similar products or services available.
Originally, marketing is best described in a 3-step model – stimulus, shelf and experience; where:
1. Stimulus refers to the point when a consumer gets stimulated or persuaded to buy a product because of an ad or a TV commercial;
2. Shelf, which is also known as the First Moment of Truth (FMOT) refers to the point when a consumer goes to his favorite store and selects the product with the help of visuals such as ads, displays and/or a salesperson, and;
3. Experience or the Second Moment of Truth (SMOT) is when the consumer actually uses the product, usually at home, after buying – it is the after-purchase experience with the product.
This model explains the basic steps in marketing until now. But ever since the internet, smartphones and other mobile devices have become part of our daily lives, a new step in the marketing process has been introduced.
This new step is called the Zero Moment of Truth or simply ZMOT (“zedMOT” in Australia!). It has been studied and presented by Google’s Managing Director of US Sales & Services and Chief ZMOT Evangelist – Jim Lucenski. He says “ZMOT is the critical new moment between Stimulus and the First Moment Of Truth.”
What is ZMOT?
As Dina Howell, CEO of Saatchi and Saatchi X puts it – ZMOT is the future of marketing. And in today’s internet-able world, it happens every day. It is that moment when after being stimulated or encouraged to purchase by an ad or a TV commercial, a consumer grabs a smartphone or a laptop and searches for information, reads about reviews and opinions about the product he or she is wanting to buy.
The days for using the traditional 3-step mental model for marketing are no more. Today’s model now consists of 4 equally important steps – stimulus, ZMOT, FMOT and SMOT.
ZMOT happens online and in real time. For most people today it is the defining moment in the buying process. Consumers of all products and services are now doing their online research prior to calling or dropping into your business. This means that business owners need to be doing the basics well.
How You Can Use ZMOT in Business
Businesses can benefit from taking advantage of ZMOT in a lot of ways. But first, it is crucial for them to make themselves present in the virtual world. How?
One option is to put up a quality Website with good rankings for keywords in Google. With the popularity of free tools like WordPress and cheap hosting (Hostica.com) there is no reason why every business can’t have a simple website presence. This is a MUST have.
However, as consumers become more digitally adept they expect to see more information about you online. They want to see more than your self-generated content (website and traditional marketing).
They want to see how you interact with others and what other people have to say about you.
This is where Social Media becomes important. It’s not important which tool you use: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Youtube, etc. It’s important that you select one that resonates with your target market and begin to use it regularly.
Take the time or invest some cash with a good professional (I recommend David Ligtenberg from Itag Media – www.itagmedia.com) to ensure that your presence fits with your target and the image you wish to present.
Consumers nowadays are smart and want to be well-informed before actually buying. ZMOT helps them become the consumer they want to be. Where are you when your consumers or clients have their ZMOTs? Are you there?
If you haven’t integrated ZMOT into your marketing strategies yet, then now is the time to do so. Start reaping the benefits of ZMOT by following Jim’s seven smart ways.
1. Put someone in charge
2. Find your Zero Moment
3. Answer the questions people are asking
4. Optimize for ZMOT
5. Be fast
6. Don’t forget Video
7. Jump In
To find out more about this amazing new step in marketing, I suggest you download and read Jim’s ebook -ZMOT. It’s free! I learned a lot from it and I know you will too.