BusinessInternet MarketingMarketing

Winning the Zero Moment of Truth

A few weeks ago, my wife saw a commercial for a Bowflex TreadClimber and asked me to find out how much one cost. After discovering they were a few thousand dollars more than I was willing to pay, I went looking for a basic elliptical trainer (something I’ve wanted for some time).

I did a search for “best elliptical machines” and found a number within my price range, then read some reviews and did some preliminary price investigation.

The next day, I ran an errand after work. On a whim, as I was about to leave the Lowe’s parking lot, I decided to search for a local sporting good store on my mobile phone. Finding two within a few miles, I drove to each to see what they had.

The first store carried about seven machines within my price range, some of which had turned up in my “best elliptical machines” research. After test driving a couple of them, I headed over to the second store, but found their machines were too expensive. So I returned to the first store with my wife and bought a machine from them.

Long before shoppers find products on a store shelf, they search for the best options online.

By the time they make a purchase, they have read reviews, compared prices and fully evaluated their options, whether they are buying a pillow or a Porsche.

Google calls this the Zero Moment of Truth:

… that moment when you grab your laptop or mobile phone and start learning about a product/service you’re thinking about buying.

The Original “Moment of Truth”

Proctor & Gamble coined the term “First Moment of Truth” in 2005, meaning shoppers make up their mind about a product within three to seven seconds. Their point was to emphasize the importance of product placement on retail store shelves. At the time, it was considered “the most important marketing opportunity for a brand.”

Today, it’s all about winning the Zero Moment of Truth, and it’s the toughest marketing challenge small businesses face.

The Internet has changed a lot of things and turned many industries on its head. But the good news is your customer hasn’t changed. When they have a need, they still seek out local merchants to make a purchase. And when they find what they’re looking for, they buy. Just like I did.

The bad news is, the medium they use to seek you out and find you is changing. Dramatically, in some cases. Putting up a sign, taking out an ad, and generating some word-of-mouth used to be enough. Not any more.

Marketing has changed. Are you changing with it?

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