The Less than Zero Moment of Truth

First of all, let’s start with a little marketing 101. Here is a fairly standard Marketing Automation graphic showing the steps in moving a customer from being a prospect through to being a delighted advocate.

In 1986 Jan Carlzon, the former President of Scandinavian Airlines, wrote a book titled Moments of Truth.  The core principle presented in the book was that every decision for a purchase is a process consisting of ‘moments’ where your product must be judged as a better option than the competition.

Further, Carlzon noted that not all moments are created equal. There are a few moments you absolutely need to win or your product will be eliminated from consideration.  These ‘moments of truth’ are the moments you must identify and focus on winning.

This idea was later picked up in 2005 by A.G. Lafley CEO Procter & Gamble and made famous by them, especially the First Moment of Truth (FMOT).

From these insights, and with input from many others, 4 moments of truth have been derived and are talked about in marketing circles.

They are as follows:

Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT). Introduced by Google, this is when prospects, after encountering some stimulus (an Event), recognise a need and gather information regarding a potential purchase.

First Moment of Truth (FMOT). Introduced by Proctor & Gamble, This represents the light bulb moment when, confronted with the product and related alternatives, the customer decides to buy (from you).

Second Moment of Truth (2MOT). Furthering P&G’s thinking, it’s what people feel, think, see, hear, touch, smell and (even) taste as they experience your product over time. It’s also how your company supports them in their efforts throughout the relationship.

Third Moment of Truth (3MOT). The third moment is that powerful inflection point where the product experience catalyses an emotion, curiosity, passion (or even anger) to talk about the brand. At this point, the customer has potentially become a walking endorsement for your business.

OK. Enough with the marketing lesson. What has this got to do with Event Driven Marketing?

Well, if we map these moments onto our Customer Event timeline, we can see Google’s ZMOT. This is the point where the Customer is Actively Looking and in effect tells everybody what they are looking for. If you learn about this need now, so has every one of your competitors.

After the ZMOT the Customer is now doing research. They are checking on-line, with friends, Word of Mouth, reputation, etc. It is ONLY after they have amassed this information that they actually contact you (if they ever do). Your chances of winning business are about 10-15%.

Notice that there is a period of time between when an Event/Stimulus happens and the ZMOT. This we call the ‘Window of Opportunity’. I respectfully propose that this is a ‘Less than Zero Moment of Truth’ and understanding this is key to the success of Event Driven Marketing.

Let’s look at the way things used to be 5 years BG (Before Google).

Here we can see our Marketing Automation steps and funnel. At 5BG, the customer would have an ‘Event’, think about it a little and then contact you for advice. Now 5AG (After Google) they go on-line to look for answers to their questions, and only then do they contact you (if you made the shortlist).

Of course, the interesting thing (for us) is that, if you are using Event Driven Marketing to monitor and detect a Customer’s Events,, you can actually know that something has happened within a few hours (or even seconds) of the fact.

EDM finds and tells you about the  ‘Less than Zero Moment of Truth’. EDM tells you when a Customer has a (potential) need, is open to suggestion and discussion, and fully understands why you might contact them.  The key is that the only people that know about this are you and the customer. They haven’t told anybody else – yet.

Depending upon the Event, the Window of Opportunity may be as short as an hour or two, or as long as a couple of days.

This time is yours to show the customer that you are there, that you understand and that you care. Use it. Because if you don’t tell them today, then everybody else will tomorrow (when Google tells them).

In today’s on-line, information driven world, Event Driven Marketing is perhaps your only, slim chance of recognising an opportunity and getting to the customer before the rest of the world.




Wall Street Journal 2005 Proctor & Gamble’s approach to consumer experience
Google’s 2012 ebook ZMOT: Winning the Zero Moment of Truth.

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