A university student in a cafe sips a mocha, opens her laptop and checks user reviews of single-speed bicycles. A mom looks up organic shampoos on her mobile phone while waiting to pick up her son at school. An office manager compares laser printer and ink cartridge costs online before heading to the office supply store.
Many would call this “surfing” or “casual consumer research.” Google takes a loftier approach, calling it the Zero Moment of Truth.
Essentially, it refers to the numerous ways a potential buyer can study a product online. More essentially, ZMOT (say Zee-mot; or, to use the colloquial, Zed-mot) is Google’s rather slick effort to market itself — if you really want to connect with customers in the Digital Age, you need us.
ZMOT is an extension of marketing phrases dreamed up by Procter & Gamble a few years ago. First Moment of Truth is the potential buyer’s initial contact with the product in a store. The Second Moment of Truth is the buyer’s experience using the product. The Zero Moment of Truth occurs before both (note that if the buyer posts a review online based on SMOT, it can can become someone else’s ZMOT).
An ebook attributed to a Google executive (available as a PDF or on various tablet platforms) describes how businesses should and can develop post product-based online content that will pop up when consumers start hunting around (examples: video reviews of skateboards; customer ratings of adhesive tape; tortilla chip recipes).
To Internet-savvy mavens some (or much) of the ebook may be old, repackaged news. To most, we bet it will, at the least, have some ideas you can steal.