Are you winning the Zero Moment of Truth?

If you're a frequent visitor at LinkedIn, you may have noticed some very brightly colored ads yesterday pointing to a newly published e-book by Google's Jim Lecinski (LinkedIn, Twitter). An engagement threshold must have been reached because the ads aren't displaying anymore.

ZMOT is "the moment where marketing happens", according to Jim, "where consumers make choices that affect the successes and failure of nearly every brand in the world."

[ Visualize a funky diagram of arrows pointing every which way to indicate how there is a multistream of messages from everyone to form a conversation that feeds into how a ZMOT is achieved ]

In a nutshell, it's the a-ha moment that predicates whether or not a consumer takes the next step towards a purchase decision. It is nothing new, really. This buyer behavior has gone on since the beginning of commerce. It is perhaps only in the past decade where data visualization and business intelligence has enabled marketers and business owners to see trends in purchase behavior and adapt to those changes with the various marketing media, ad display tools, or streaming content in newer, faster ways than in previously allowed by earlier generations of software and technology.

The research methodology consisted of a comissioned study of 5,000 shoppers across 12 subcategories (automotive, consumer electronics, voters, travel, OTC health, CPG Grocery, CPG health/beauty/personal care, quick serve restaurants, banking, insurance, credit card, and investments) to see which sources influenced shopper buying decisions.

I disagree about his supposition into the buying decision journey. It has not changed. How you get there has only changed by the tools that are now available to make better purchase decisions. Largely, this is because the collective knowledge of the Internet is available in the palm of your handheld device.

The e-book suggests a few things that are largely geared to get you revved up with Google products and services:
  • Increase your media ad budget online since online decision making is skyrocketing
  • "The average shopper used 10.4 sources of information to make a decision in 2011, up from 5.3 sources in 2010." What this really means is that the more sources of information that are provided to consumers about your products/services the more likely they are to make a purchase decision. Examples of info sources include tv commercials, magazine articles, reccs from friends/family, websites, ratings, online blogs, etc.
  • Be ready for the new digital shelf when a consumer searches online for your product(s).
  • Have a stimulus plan (where ad impressions get made), shelf plan (where people do their buying), and product plan (self explanatory).
  • You aren't going to have a ZMOT experience if you aren't searching for content online through a mobile device or desktop pc. (Hint: use Google search)
  • Have the appropriate ad targeting strategy in place for specific product categories. The figure below shows how long consumers dwell on researching a product before making a purchase. (figure3-2)
  • Be open to product reviews, the good and the bad. Check out business reviews on Google Places.
  • Like any self-serving infomercial, this e-book is cleverly designed to get you thinking about how to use more of Google services like +1, search, and GooglePlus. Especially on the search part, you really can't get into those top results without a dedicated white hat SEO strategy; the alternative is to pay most of your ad media budget to Google to appear in those top keyword searches for your company and/or products.
The e-book is a free download, and rather than spill the rest of the beans about it. You could fast-forward through much of it and get to the juicy details which starts at around page 44 (How to win at ZMOT), where the section on "Seven smart ways to start winning at ZMOT right now) is included.

Noted but not linked in this chapter are the following Google services:

You can read more about this book on the author's website, and download a copy to your favorite e-book device.
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