A new ebook from Google confirms what I have believed for some time now: The success of any business is dependent upon online activities, whether or not they believe it, like it or participate in it. Consumers are using a wide range of online services to make their buying decisions about all types of products and services, seemingly without exception.
The book’s title, Winning the Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT, for acronym lovers), comes from the pre-Internet days of marketing, when there were two “moments of truth”. The first occurred when the consumer stood in a store, facing a shelf with a selection of products from which to choose. The second moment of truth was when they got the product home and decided if they liked it or not. Today, there’s a third moment of truth that happens before either of these, the Zero Moment. This moment takes place online and it has an enormous impact on the next two. Activities that take place in the Zero Moment include search, reading reviews, visiting manufacturer websites, conversations on social media, watching videos on YouTube and many others.
Winning the Zero Moment of Truth was written by Jim Lecinski, Google’s Managing Director of US Sales & Service and while his conclusions may be somewhat self-serving, they are also backed up by data. Google commissioned Shopper Sciences to survey 5,000 shoppers about the sources that influence their buying decisions. Some of the results were startling:
- The average shopper used 10.4 sources of information (both online and offline) to make a buying decision in 2011, up from 5.3 in 2010. Yes, that number nearly doubled in one year.
- 84% of decision makers used online sources to guide them.
- 62% of shoppers say they search for deals online before at least half of their real-world shopping trips.
- When 3M Corporation opened their site up to comments, more than 3,000 people had something to say about about Scotch Tape.
Not only does the book include lots of statistics, charts and graphs, it also provides examples of things that businesses of all sizes can do to play a part in the Zero Moment of Truth. It convincingly makes the point that a shift has taken place in the buying process and that businesses must adapt or be left behind.
Winning the Zero Moment of Truth is available for free in a variety of electronic formats. Consider it required reading.