The Zero Moment of Truth

We didn’t realise it back-when, but a decade or two ago the world of marketing was so much simpler. The internet has changed all that.

But it’s not just the new plethora of marketing communications channels which has changed the world, it’s also about how consumer behaviour has been revolutionised.

In the old days marketing theorists used to talk about the first and second moments of truth in consumer behaviour. The First Moment of Truth (or FMOT) was when they stood at the supermarket or bookshop shelf and decided whether or not to reach for your product. The second moment of truth was when they actually used, ate or read that product. That would determine future purchasing patterns.

Google has released some fascinating research that takes a step back, referring to the Zero Moment of Truth (ZeeMOT in the States, ZedMOT in Australia). This insight is worth thinking about.

The point of the ZMOT is that contemporary consumer behaviour has shifted substantially now that we can access all the information in the world via the phone in our pocket, the iPad on the couch or the computer on the desk. We make our decisions differently by searching our meaningful information before we commit to the purchase. Allow me to quote from Google’s excellent eBook on the subject: “Winning the Moment of Truth“:

A Zero Moment of Truth is:

A BUSY MOM IN A MINIVAN, looking up decongestants on her mobile phone as she waits to pick up her son at school.

AN OFFICE MANAGER AT HER DESK, comparing laser printer prices and ink cartridge costs before heading to the office supply store.

A STUDENT IN A CAFE, scanning user ratings and reviews while looking for a cheap hotel in Barcelona.

A WINTER SPORTS FAN IN A SKI STORE, pulling out a mobile phone to look at video reviews of the latest snowboards.

A YOUNG WOMAN IN HER CONDO, searching the web for juicy details about a new guy before a blind date.

I’d like to add a couple more ZMOTS which are particularly relevant to my Professional Services clients:

A Zero Moment of Truth is:

A fellow CEO checking out a peer’s profile on LinkedIn before a scheduled luncheon meeting.

A prospective client hearing that a friend’s experience at the dentist was surprisingly pleasant before Googling the dentist to check out their website.

If you’d like to learn more about these Moments of Truth I can heartily recommend a visit to to download the free eBook.

2012-05-03T15:23:37+00:00 By |

About the Author:

Mark Gibbs has broad experience as a marketing manager and graphic designer. He holds an MBA with a marketing specialisation. Mark runs a consultancy called MadLab: The Marketing And Design Laboratory. Based in Adelaide, he operates around Australia.