Why Brands Often Fail at the Zero Moment of Truth

Digital DarwinismGoogle introduced this term to describe the impact of online information, i.e. social media reputation, on the intent of a potential customer to engage with a brand. According to the research that influence, and consumer dependence on it,  are growing very fast from year to year. Consumers checked 10.4 sources of information to make a decision in 2011. This is a dramatic increase from the 5.3 sources

This more recent study found that positive consumer reviews increase both intent to purchase, and product value, by about 7%.  An online share (customer review, Facebook share or tweet) has a value of between $0.33 for a brand or store recommended by a stranger, and $1.33 for brands recommended by friends or family.

ZMOT Influence

Online content sharing and recommendations now hold more sway over consumers’ buying decisions than brand, or even price.

Given the importance of the Zero Moment of Truth:

  1. Why is it so difficult for consumers to find a reasonable number of customer reviews for a specific product? Attention spans are very short and if consumers can’t easily satisfy their thirst for information within seconds, the opportunity to impact their selection is gone.
  2. Why is there an information gap?  Consumers are looking for factual information, but marketers insist on engaging them with the company’s message (fluff). At the Zero Moment of Truth the fluff repels potential buyers.
  3. Why is it so difficult for marketers to understand the ZMOT is a by-product of a customer experience?  The recommendations, referrals and other forms of social proof cannot exist without delivery of superior customer experience. The kind of experience that inspire customers to share with others. The term UMOT = Ultimate Moment of Truth holds the key to success:

It’s what happens after the buyer experiences…

  • your business (including you and your staff),
  • your sales and after-sales processes,
  • your product or service,
  • your customer service and support,
  • your guarantee or warranty claims, etc.

Form ZMOT to UMOT

For decades marketers were in control of the customer journey because they could out-shout the voices of consumers with big advertising budgets. The advent of social media changed that by arming customers with a much larger “soap box” to share their stories, and advertising budgets don’t buy as much influence as they used to. Unless you think this is just a fad, it is the time to let consumers “teach”­  you what is important to them. Fortunately, they are willing to do so, and the marketers who have learned to subjugate their ego to the reality of the markets, consistently experience remarkable successes.

Those marketers, who keep treating consumers as “marks”, are not likely to survive the onslaught of Digital Darwinism.

 

 

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2 Responses to Why Brands Often Fail at the Zero Moment of Truth

  1. Michael Lowenstein says:

    As online social media receives more and more attention, it’s important to keep in mind that the majority of decision-making influence, among all key demographic groups and in most industries, comes from informal offline in-person and electronic communication. For reference, let me suggest The Face-to-Face Book, by my colleagues Ed Keller and Brad Fay.

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