Home Articles ZMOT or, how to make friends and influence consumers

ZMOT or, how to make friends and influence consumers


ZMOT – whether you’ve heard this or not, you’re probably thinking; not another term to add to the tedious marketing literature!

Fond of acronyms or not, ZMOT stands to serve what is without argument, the most important change to marketing in the past decade.

Just a quick Google search for mobile and web usage, will show you that they’re on the rise so fast that it is predicted by 2015 there will be more mobile phones than people on the planet.

We know net access is changing too; by 2014, more people will open a website for the first time on a mobile device than a desktop computer.

So what is ZMOT then and why is it relevant?

ZMOT stands for the “Zero Moment Of Truth”, coined by Google it describes the ‘new’ first step that is now occurring in the consumer decision making process. Sound familiar?

Procter and Gamble coined the First Moment of Truth (FMOT) describing the first point of interaction a customer was when they pick it up a product from the shelf and, decide whether to purchase it.

Smart devices have seen consumer’s connection with the ZMOT flourish. Access to rich, comparative product information anywhere, anytime, means many of us have significant interaction with a brand or product well before we decide to purchase, and that’s if we arrive in-store at all.

Think of the last time you thought of buying a high involvement item, a laptop for example. You probably went online, checked out what other consumers who had purchased this product had to say, and compared prices and specs at many different stores and platforms like GetPrice, MyShopping, Google Merchant and eBay.

This blast of information influenced your decision well before you chose to buy; this is ZMOT in action.

A Google moments of truth study showed that the average number of sources consulted before making a decision nearly doubled from 5.3 in 2010 to 10.4 in 2011.

This is further backed by statistics that show that 54% of people comparison shop for products before buying and 37% of people saying that online reviews are a key driver when making purchase decisions.

So, if you want to succeed in the marketplace, recognizing your customer’s zero moments of truth and optimising for them is crucial.

Here are the top five tips we recommend to increase your chance at winning at the ZMOT:

1. Think mobile influence: Make sure your website is mobile compatible and the user experience provides a low barrier to key information, pricing, specifications and even purchasing. This is crucial if you don’t want your customers to leave your store for another, online or offline.
2. Equivalent in-store information: Ever seen a customer on his or her mobile inside a store? Guess what they are doing, shopping elsewhere. Ensure you list all logical product information clearly so they will only go mobile to shop for price. Consider including a QR code next to the product so customers who want more information are directed to your website.
3. Old world customer service: I own the digital agency AndMine, http://www.andmine.com/, and I know there are only two things offline does better than online. Hands down everything else is better online. Firstly, you can touch and feel the item, pretty obvious. Second and this is often overlooked, service and care for your customers. This is they key point of differentiation with an online store. ‘Show the love’ to your customers and care about the outcomes of their purchases. Make sure all customers feel like the in-store experience is a truly worthwhile one.
4. Engage with these zero of truth moments: Answer the questions people are asking online with honest Videos and Feedback. Follow up any negative comments on review websites/social media and search engine optimise these moments of truth questions.
5. Personal follow ups: Go the extra mile and personally follow up customers after purchase to see if they are satisfied and if there is anything else you can do for them. This could be a phone call if they purchased in store, a personalised email or a little upgrade/offer in their package if they purchased online. This little bit of extra effort will make you memorable, show you care and buy you that all-important positive sentiment most companies want online.

A study by The International Telecommunications Union has estimated that 56.5% of people in developed nations have mobile broadband subscriptions, with some nations above 80% including Australia.

No wonder I’ve noticed so many people zero-truthing on their phones in-store lately.

By now, you can hopefully see why ZMOT is regarded as the newest indicator of success or failure for nearly every product in the world. By following the tips above you should be well on your way to keeping, if not improving, your current market position. Good Luck!

Michael Simonetti is the founder of digital agency AndMine.com which delivers online and offline success for companies including some of Australia’s largest organisations. He holds degrees in Computer Science, Engineering and a Masters from the University of Melbourne where he started his first business in the early 90s.