“The best brands consistently win two moments of truth,” said A.G. Lafley, CEO of Procter & Gamble, in 2005. “The first moment occurs at the store shelf, when a consumer decides whether to buy one brand or another. The second occurs at home, when she uses the brand – and is delighted, or isn’t.”

That “first moment of truth,” or FMOT, became a huge focus for marketers, and still is today. But the minds at Google have introduced a new moment of truth: the “zero moment of truth,” or ZMOT. At ZMOT, shoppers are “pre-shopping” online – researching products and brands, reading reviews, watching videos, asking questions.

Download ZMOT For most consumers, pre-shopping involves discovering what others think – their friends, people with shared interests, actual product owners, etc. Seventy percent of Americans look at product reviews before a purchase. User-generated content like reviews and community Q&A helps shoppers find the right products for their individual needs – allowing many shoppers (and more every day) to make purchase decisions at ZMOT, before they ever visit the aisle. In his ebook out today, Jim Lecinski, Managing Director, U.S. Sales & Service at Google, urges marketers to shift their focus to ZMOT with a simple and compelling argument: consumers already have.

We’re excited to be featured in Google’s “Winning the Zero Moment of Truth,” which is available to read and discuss here (the Twitter hashtag is #ZMOT). Here are a few big ideas from the ebook, with quotes from featured executives.

Embrace pre-shopping as part of buying.

“Pre-shopping before buying has become a huge, huge part of customer behavior. In the past, it was pretty much confined to big-ticket 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 behavior. It’s just the way people buy today.”
– Bob Thacker, SVP, Advertising, OfficeMax

Your brand is what customers say it is.

“The days of controlling the message are absolutely over. At best you’ll be invited in and you’ll get to co-create and participate with consumers.”
– Wendy Clark, Senior Vice President, Integrated Marketing Communications and Capabilities, Coca-Cola

Conversation is a real-time focus group.

“ZMOT is an incredible source of insight for brands to really understand how satisfied their customers are on a real-time basis… An observant product manager can find out precisely why they’ve been getting a high return rate or why they’ve been getting high sales.”
– Brett Hurt, Founder & CEO, Bazaarvoice

Stop interrupting; be there when shoppers need you.

“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.”
– Bob Thacker, SVP, Advertising, OfficeMax

Serve shoppers, or your competitors will.

“You’d never set up a corporate 1-800 number with nobody to answer the phone… The Internet is that 1-800 number, and it’s been set up for you even though you didn’t ask for it. People are ‘calling’ you with their web searches every minute of every day. Grandma doesn’t just phone 1-800-Butterball now – she searches online for, ‘How do I know when the turkey’s done?’ If turkey is your business, you’d better be there with a helpful answer (and maybe a demonstration, or a coupon, or a stuffing recipe). If people search for your product and you don’t answer that search, who do you think will answer?”
– Jim Lecinski, Managing Director U.S. Sales & Service, Google

Successful marketing at ZMOT will deliver relevant information to shoppers, when the shopper wants it, to help them make purchase decisions and buy confidently. As Jim notes in this video before his interview with Brett, Google searches for customer reviews have risen over the past two years. As more consumers engage in pre-shopping, opinions from real product owners and “people like me” will play an increasingly important role in winning the zero moment of truth.

To read our latest blog post on Google, click here.

Note: Procter & Gamble and OfficeMax are Bazaarvoice clients.

6 Responses to “5 big ideas from Google’s “Winning the Zero Moment of Truth””

  1. Hi Josh, thanks for pointing out that missed citation! I’ve fixed it now. Thank you for reading!

  2. Josh Bernoff

    It was A.G. Lafley who was the CEO of Procter & Gamble and said those things about moments of truth. He said it in the foreward to Robert’s book. Roberts was not the CEO of Procter & Gamble.

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