MRM’s summary and guide to evaluating your brand’s health at
“The shopping experience is in the consumer’s hands and you can’t fight where they’re going.”
– Gihad Jawhar, VP, Lowes.com
Digital technology provides consumers with the power to be smarter and more informed shoppers than ever before. Product and brand information has never been more accessible and accessed then it is right now. This gives consumers an undeniable advantage in the marketplace. No longer do consumers have to trust advertiser claims and/or retail sales pitches; with a few simple keystrokes or screen taps, shoppers can find a wealth of information about the products and services they are interested in. And ultimately, Google has defined this process of instant online product research as the Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT).
Introduction to ZMOT:
In November of 2011, Google published a study with Shopper Sciences, IPG Mediabrands’ research and shopper marketing consultancy, called Winning the Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT). The Google/Shopper Sciences Macro Research Study introduces marketers to a new mental paradigm that shoppers have adopted thanks to the evolution of Web accessible devices, social media, and user-generated content.
How Does ZMOT Change The Game?
The Old Paradigm:
Traditionally, there have been three critical junctures within a customer’s purchase process where brands must be successful: stimulus, shelf, experience
- The stimulus: This is the moment when an advertisement connects with a consumer in such a way that pushes him or her to visit a store (online or off).
- The First Moment of Truth (Shelf): The consumer, driven by an advertisement, visits a store and the combination of product packaging and salesperson claims, results in a purchase.
- The Second Moment of Truth (Experience): Once home with the product, the consumer uses it and forms an opinion of his or her purchase.
The New Paradigm:
The ZMOT introduces a “new” moment of truth to the traditional paradigm of the consumer purchase process. A moment in which the social and collaborative nature of the Web becomes the determining factor in a shopper’s decision making.
According to the Google/Shopper Sciences Macro Research Study, the ZMOT is now a more important factor to driving a consumer to purchase than both the initial stimulus a shopper receives from an advertisement and the shelf experience a customer has in-store. Ultimately, this means that shoppers care more about what other shoppers are saying than they do about advertiser and retailer claims.
Furthermore, one person’s purchase experience becomes the next person’s ZMOT. The more shoppers write helpful product reviews, provide product ratings, and/or mention your product online, the more information the next shopper has to consider in their own purchase process.
The Numbers Can’t Be Ignored:
According to the Google/Shopper Sciences Macro Research Study, before a purchase decision was made:
- 50% of consumers used a search engine to find out information
- 49% of consumers talked with friends/family about the product
- 38% of consumers comparison shopped online
- 36% of consumers sought information for a product brand/manufacturer Website
- 31% of consumers read product reviews or endorsements online
- 22% of consumers sought information from a retailer/store Website
- 22% of consumers read comments following an article/opinion piece online
- 18% of consumers became a friend, follower, “liked” a brand
How Do Brands And Advertisers Win The Zero Moment of Truth?
In order to win at the Zero Moment of Truth, brands and advertisers must synergize online, offline and in-store messaging. Furthermore, brands must center on optimizing the World Wide Web for the information their customers are looking for. Finally, it’s vital to track and trend as much of your analytics data as possible to ensure you understand how shoppers are using your Web properties and digital assets. Consider the following questions below as a guide to measuring your health at the zero moment of truth (ZMOT).
- Are your traditional advertisements (e.g., TV, radio, print, etc…) stimulating shoppers to seek your products out in the ZMOT?
- Do you understand the language that your shoppers are using to find you online?
- Does your online content change to reflect changes in consumer language?
- Are you studying trends in consumer language and prioritizing content accordingly?
- Are you hosting product comparison information on your site?
Search Engine Marketing:
- Are all of your Web properties and digital assets optimized for organic search?
- When people search for your products and services, are you findable?
- Are you encouraging click-through from search results?
- Do your product’s organic search results stand out from your competitors?
- Are your paid search ads visible when customers are searching for your products?
- Have you synergized your organic search and paid search strategy?
Comparison Shopping Engines:
- Is your product information available on comparison search engines?
- Are you leveraging the technology necessary to ensure that comparison shopping engines consider your products?
- Are you using Google as a comparison shopping engine?
- Are you leveraging Facebook, Twitter, Yelp and other social networks to be digital advocates for your brand’s products and services?
- Are you nurturing your social communities?
- Do your social networks return in organic search results?
- Are you listening to what consumers are saying about your products?
- Are you responding to what consumers are saying about your products?
- Are you proactive or reactive to social conversation?
- Are social influencers advocating on your behalf?
Web Design and Development:
- Is your Website mobile friendly?
- Can customers easily find product information on your Website?
- Are you monitoring analytics to ensure you understand who your customers are and where they are coming from? And what they want?
- Are you synergizing your social networks with your brand Websites and digital assets?
- Do you utilize a CRM tool on your Website?
- Are your Websites and digital assets scalable?
- Does your creative encourage engagement?
Aggregators and Affiliates:
- Are you listing your products on popular aggregator sites?
- Do you have an affiliate program that encourages Web entrepreneurs to list your products?
Reviews and Ratings:
- Are you utilizing product reviews and ratings on your Web site?
- Are you leveraging product reviews and ratings across all of your owned Web properties?
- Are your product reviews and ratings visible on search engine results?
- Are you using your CRM tools to foster and encourage customers to leave product feedback?
- How do you respond to your customers’ product feedback?
- Are you developing synergized Web strategies with your retailers and manufacturers?
- Are your retailers and manufacturers providing you with product feedback?
- Are your Web properties and digital assets easily usable on mobile devices?
- Are you leveraging mobile friendly social communities and networks to market your products?
- Are your emails mobile friendly?
- Is your content easily shareable via mobile device?
How Do You Stand-Up To ZMOT?
If you believe that you could be doing more to win at the ZMOT, when shoppers are making their purchase decisions online, MRM New York can help. We offer a ZMOT Score, which provides:
- A baseline of your brand/product’s ZMOT health
- Solutions geared towards improving your ZMOT score and increased ROI from your digital assets
Download the MRM ZMOT Summation and Guide here.