When we 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, the ZMOT – Zero Moment of Truth – has transformed that mental model.Three-Step Mental Model of Marketing
The original three-step marketing model was composed by:
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 of marketing to plan and execute their marketing and communications campaigns for decades. These companies focused on building demand for their brands/products by investing mostly on:
– 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. Consumers are adopting new habits and the mental model of marketing has changed. With the advent of the Internet, before going to the store consumers started doing online research about the brands and products they’re interested in buying.
ZMOT – Zero Moment Of Truth
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 as well as reviews from product users. This is a new step in the mental model of marketing. It happens after the stimulus from advertising and before the first moment of truth at the store, that’s why it’s called the Zero Moment of Truth, or ZMOT.
The ZMOT empowers consumers by giving them invaluable information they can use to make better buying decisions, 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 provide all the necessary information that will answer their customers’ questions and present their brands and products in the best possible light. Creating a positive ZMOT is crucial to positively influence potential customers and stimulate them to move to the next step and go look for the product at the store.
ZMOT is a concept largely promoted by Google. You can download a ZMOT ebook from Google’s website and watch their video at the top of this post.