ZMOT Marketing - Everywhere, Anytime, Anyhow (Google's Perspective)
posted by Stuart Cumming ~ 27/01/14
Category: Marketing
In an age where there are new acronyms coined every week I don't feel compelled to disseminate all of them. Unless, of course it makes sense. And, having discussed this with a number of other marketers over the last few months or so, the ZMOT ("Zero Moment Of Truth") is a concept which has resonated increasingly.

The concept was first discussed in Jim Lecinski's book "Winning The Zero Moment of Truth":
"No longer do they (buyers) see your advertisement and then show up at the store wanting to learn more. Now, after consumers hear about you, their next step is to learn more (and look for the best price) at the Zero Moment of Truth, that moment when they open their laptops, pick up their smartphones or grab their tablets, and search to see if you meet their needs. They may read a review, look for a coupon, or read a blog or a social network discussion of your brand."

The takeout is that you have to be there for your consumers, where they want you, when they want you and, importantly, HOW they want you. Or your competitors will be.

Practical applications of the concept are discussed at length in Google's "Ways to Win Shoppers At The Zero Moment of Truth". They discovered in their research that this is all about the breakdown of the traditional sales "funnel" into what they described as more like a multi-journey "flight map" between Bricks & Mortar, TV, Friends & Family, Print Media and Online.

Having found up to 3,000 different flight maps across a variety of products, however, they ascertained that no matter where a consumer started they touched down on Search at least once, but sometimes on multiple occasions.

And, for the first time, Search exceeded "Friends and Family" as the most popular source of information.

To win at ZMOT, though, Google found there were 5 key challenges for retailers and marketers:
  • Each shopper is unique and follows their own "flight path" to purchase.
  • It's never been easier to walk out of a store
  • Shopping cart abandonment is at an all-time high
  • Push advertising alone isn't enough anymore
  • Cross-channel shopping is snowballing
Amongst the tactics Google recommends are:

1. Go multi-screen - 77% of TV viewers are on another device. And 46% of consumers researched on smartphone and went in-store to purchase.

2. Adopt a "mobile is local" approach and drive customers direct to the store - mobile users are 20 times more likely to click on a map.

3. Tablet Commerce (T-Commerce) will be the next explosion - 72% of owners make purchases from their tablets on a weekly basis. Tablet users have their own, different "flight paths" with 8pm to midnight being the peak usage time.

4. Almost 70% of US shopping carts are abandoned (Baymard Institute average of 24 studies December 2013). To win these customers back consider using affiliate marketers, which is a popular US practise involving coupons, rewards and comparison shopping (Marketing Magazine January 2013 found the local Australian take-up low with only 1 of the top 15 retailers using this tactic).

5. Generic keywords may deliver more than branded keyword with 53% of "last clicks" being generic, that is the final click the consumer made was from a search term that was generic rather than brand-specific.

6. Loyalty, convenience & speed will help differentiate. With the average consumer doubling their information sources between 2010 and 2011, price alone won't win it for retailers.

7. Clicks on their own don't matter - it's the lifetime value of the customer that drives return on investment rather than just their last action. Once you gained a customer you can remarket to them relevantly based on their behaviour and preferences.

8. A picture is worth a thousand words - "video is an essential part of the research flight path" with 68% of US consumers using Youtube to research retail companies; not only that, website images add credibility to the brand and the product.

9. Build trust when consumers get to the site with tools like live chat and social annotations.

10. Measure the micro-conversions not just the sales; that is, all the other engagements that occur on your website - such as downloading pdfs, watching videos - because they add business value and drive future sales by creating greater engagement with your brand.

11. Attribution is essential and it's often not just the last click; it's all the other actions that lead up to that final move.

While this is Google's take on ZMOT and comes at the issue from their perspective of "search" we still found it a useful discussion. We trust this concise summary has likewise been useful and recommend you download the full 62 page report for further detail.
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