What is Google’s Zero Moment of Truth?

By Madison Taylor
July 15, 2014

In the world of marketing, we’re always on the lookout for the next big trend or, at the very least, the next big marketing technique. That’s what can set apart the successful businesses from the also-rans. These days, the new, exciting strategy that’s on everyone’s minds involves understanding and implementing Google’s Zero Moment of Truth. Today, we’ll discuss the Zero Moment of Truth and why it could spell success for your business.

The Original 3-Step Process

Before Google decided to take it upon themselves to redefine this specific element of marketing, there was a 3-step process involved. It all began with the Stimulus, the moment at which a person realized a need for a certain product or service. This could be because of a problem that presented itself at home, a recommendation by a friend or family member, a television ad that sparked a need or desire, etc. Then came the First Moment of Truth — the shelf. This was the point at which a consumer hunts down the product or service and finds it on a shelf (whether physical or virtual). And finally, there’s the Second Moment of Truth — experience. This represents the actual use of the product or service. This 3-step process was quite useful, but thanks to Google, it’s become a bit “old school.”

The Zero Moment of Truth

What Google has done is create a model that improves upon the 3-step process by adding a fourth steps, situated between the Stimulus and First Moment of Truth. For this part of the process, they coined the term ZMOT, or  Zero Moment of Truth.  This is the timeframe involved between the time at which you are first curious about a product or service and the point at which you actually locate it. The Zero Moment of Truth is typically accomplished online these days, whether it’s a student sitting in a Starbucks checking ratings about a popular eatery he had heard about or a busy soccer mom sitting in her car looking up different types of medications while waiting for her son to come out of practice. These events are the times when you grab your laptop, smart phone, or other such device to discover more information about a product or service that’s been planted in your head. The possibilities are nearly endless, and these types of searches — and opportunities — occur millions of times every day.

What This Means to Your Business

These days, information is everything. Whenever you or a colleague have a question about any subject, what do you do? Call up your friends to find out the answer? Ask people on the street? Send an e-mail to someone and ask them about it? More than likely, you fire up some piece of electronic equipment and use a search engine such as Google to discover the answer. This is how the world works now and it’s not going to change any time soon. Information is at our fingertips nearly everywhere we turn. Even our phones can be used to access an insane amount of information. All of this means that, as a business, you have a huge amount of opportunity to attract potential customers. By keeping in mind the Zero Moment of Truth, you can construct your marketing materials to capture those moments when a person is on the Internet searching for a product or service that is either exact or similar to what you offer. This is the moment when a potential customer will choose your product over another, so it’s important that you take advantage of it by making your product or service accessible to those who may be searching.

Although the Zero Moment of Truth isn’t an exact science, knowing it exists provides you with yet another opportunity to make a connection with a potential customer. If you can design your marketing of a product or service to catch the attention of a person within that moment, you’ve already won half the battle.