Marketing Book Review: Winning the Zero Moment of Truth

Do you remember the buying process you undertook the last time you made a large purchase? If you’re like most customers, your decision was made long before you hit the purchase button or walked into the retail space. Winning the Zero Moment of Truth, by Google’s Jim Lecinski, provides research and insights into this relatively new phenomenon.

Marketing history

Along with the 4Ps of marketing, business schools have taught the value of influencing decisions at the moment of purchase. Companies have invested billions in strategies designed to influence the customer at the moment they are staring at the options for buying a product within a category. That moment has traditionally been defined as the First Moment of Truth (FMOT).

In the history of marketing, sellers have focused a lot of attention on FMOT. Pricing strategies, packaging, shelf-positioning, product variety/mix, couponing, and many other tactics have been deployed to win the customer at that critical juncture. And while FMOT is still important, purchase behavior has shifted, providing marketers additional challenges to convert prospects into customers.

Zero Moment of Truth—ZMOT

The buying decision journey has changed. What was once a message is now a conversation. And for the first time in history, word of mouth is a digitally archived medium, available to everyone, all the time.

Between the awareness and purchase phase, people search on-line, read product reviews, use social media to ask opinions, and seek multiple pricing options. Americans now spend as much time online as they do watching TV.

This April, Google conducted a study of 5,003 customers across 12 categories of products and services. The goal was to show where influence takes place as shoppers move from undecided to decided. Here are a few highlights from that study:

·         Average shoppers used 10.4 sources of information, up from 5.3 in the previous year

·         84 percent  of shoppers report that ZMOT tactics shaped their purchase decisions

·         70 percent  of Americans look at product reviews before making a purchase

·         54 percent  comparison-shopped for products online

Given the audience for this publication, you’re probably thinking that this applies to DTC, but does not apply to a healthcare B2B scenario. Wrong: conversations about your product are already going on. Try this:  Google your product name and add “review” to the search query. Your ZMOT is happening on the first 3 pages of your search. Now type your product category and add “best” to your search query. How do you stack up?

Implications for Marketers

The good news is that you can immediately adapt ZMOT marketing strategies and incorporate them into your marketing plan.

7-steps to creating a ZMOT strategy:

1.       Put someone in charge—if no one is in charge, it won’t get done.

2.       Find your ZMOT—understand how people search for your product.

3.       Answer questions people are asking—use Insights for Search or Google Trends for discernment.

4.       Optimize for ZMOT—adjust your content for paid, owned, earned and shared media.

5.       Be fast—speed beats perfection.

6.       Don’t forget video—YouTube is the second-most-used search box in the world.

7.       Jump in—as you probably saw from your search, you’re already in ZMOT.

This complimentary e-book ( provides an excellent overview of an evolution in marketing. I believe this applies to any product or service. It even applies to companies and people.

Good marketing!

Interested in this topic?  Check out this video:

This book review was published in the November issue of PM360.