According to Procter & Gamble, shoppers make up their minds about a product in 3 to 7 seconds, just the time it takes to note a product on a store shelf (Proctor & Gamble, 2006). P&G calls this time the First Moment of Truth (FMOT), and it’s considered the most important marketing opportunity for a brand at the time (WSJ, 2005). The First Moment of Trust occurs at the “shelf” or buying area. The stimulus represents advertising, which influences the decision to purchase and occurs before the consumer reaches the shelf to make a purchasing decision.
Proctor and Gamble’s View of Marketing
Google came up with the Zero Moment of Truth or ZMOT (Lecinski) . This occurs before the First Moment Of Truth and influences the decision making process before the time of purchase. The Second Moment Of Truth (SMOT) occurs after you take the product home and use it. If the SMOT is shared, the SMOT becomes the next person’s ZMOT, providing a constantly evolving influencing cycle. You can see how experiences can go viral rapidly through social sharing.
Why is the ZMOT important? It was found that the ZMOT is a major influencer in making purchasing decisions; even more so than the point of stimulus. It is also important because most of us use it and we are not even aware of it.
Would it surprise you to know that:
- 70% of Americans now say they look at product reviews before making a purchase? (Google Z. M., 2011).
- 79% of consumers now say they use a smartphone to help with shopping? (MediaCT, 2011)
- 83% of moms say they do online research after seeing TV commercials for products that interest them? (Google O. , 2009).
Shoppers today use twice as many sources to arrive at a decision than they did in 2010. This is almost 100% growth in four years. In health care, about 11 sources are used in ZMOT (Sciences, The Zero Moment of Truth page 9, 2011).
The following diagram uses data from a study asking the question, “When you were considering purchasing, what sources of information did you seek out to help with your decision?”
Number of Sources Used in Decision-Making
The real power of social media and social channels is this is where the influencers are connecting with consumers. It is where the influencing is done and where consumers learn. Decision makers seek out influencers in order to make decisions. Decision makers want to be advised, so targeted messaging needs to occur from the influencers. This is the reason why content is so important in the new rules of marketing since relevancy matters.
Content becomes the basis for teaching influencers. In the health management space, members will make health decisions based on what others say and the content supporting it. Content is the fuel and social is the conduit. Mobility is the accelerator.
The following diagram uses data from a Google study asking the question, “When you were considering purchasing, what sources of information did you seek out to help with your decision?” (Google/Shopper Sciences, 2011).
Sources of Information Used in Purchasing Decisions
Google (Sciences, The Zero Moment of Truth page 12, 2011)
It was found that the ZMOT was more influential in making decisions than the FMOT or Stimulus stages. Many companies are shifting advertising budgets from advertising to social areas to gain greater impact in the consumer’s decision-making process. The role of social media is very important since it acts as a platform for the ZMOT to occur, thus replacing Stimulus as the predominate influencer.
Companies no longer create brands; they are now created by consumers and companies during the moments of truth and based on experienced emotions and perceived value.
- Companies can earn relevance through moments of insight from consumer interactions or see brand deterioration when negative experiences goes viral
- Post-commerce experiences contribute to the customer relationship through moments of emotions
The value of engagement must be determined if a great experience is to be realized. The value, if not measured alone, is what it does or fixes; it must have an emotional satisfaction component with it. An experience can be disrupted in any MOT so thought must be taken during experience development since it affects all MOTs.
The value is impacted by the customer’s experiences and those experiences are shared and can influence other people’s experiences. A shared experience can be “owned” once embraced, even those it was not realized personally (perceived reality). The relationship can be altered through an indirect interaction – someone else’s experience.
Brian Solis developed a concept called the Ultimate Moment of Truth (UMOT) in his book, “What’s The Future of Business” (Solis, 2013). The UMOT occurs long after the date of purchase and after consumers have experienced the use of the product or the company’s customer service.
ZMOT and Healthcare
I observed similar behaviors between buying products and in decision making for health care, since decisions made for your health are similar to purchasing a product or service.
Engagement is about adopting and deciding to manage one’s health. So a process and system for coaxing buyers down the funnel to a buy decision is basically the same as a process to engage members in health management – engaging them in small steps through awareness/informing/education using content. Marketing automation calls this lead nurturing. In the health engagement space, I call it health nurturing.
Moment of Truths in Healthcare
It is important to understand why the ZMOT and customer experiences are important for Payers and Providers.
Reasons why the ZMOT and the UMOT are important
- Influencers in health plan purchasing choices, plan use, and customer service.
- The brand is ever more important in a B2C world and the brand is crafted in the ZMOT and social media by consumers.
- Relationship building can increase in the UMOT to support consumers’ use of health benefits.
- Good customer service and engaging consumers both happen in the ZMOT.
- You need to understand the ZMOT in building experiences for consumers. Generating useful experiences will impact organization alignment to be more consumer-centric.
- Managing social network interactions directly influences the ZMOT.
- The ZMOT occurs in real time and anywhere through mobile enablement.
- Information captured in the ZMOT is used to enhance processes, products, and services.
As the industry shifts and business strategy changes, making changes requires communicating those changes and listening in the ZMOT.
Excerpted from my book titled, “Commercializing Consumer Engagement.”