I recently caught a great post from Amy Taylor at the Brains on Fire Blog on the changing dynamics of consumers and retailers. Amy comments in her post,
After my iPhone shattered, I went on the hunt for an indestructible case by throwing a question out to my Twitter followers. The name “Otterbox” was quickly Tweeted back by many. When I decided to invest in iPhone insurance, my social network (and their glowing recommendations) directed me to a company called SquareTrade. In these instances, my social network wasn’t just influential in my purchase, it was integral.
This may sound like a familiar experience but have you really thought about what’s happening here? This trend might not be new to you but is dramatically changing the way you should market your solutions.
Think Insights with Google has gone as far as coining this new step of the buying process the Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT) and defines it as the following:
ZMOT is that moment when you grab your laptop, mobile phone or some other wired device and start learning about a product or service (or potential boyfriend) you’re thinking about trying or buying. I’m sure you know what I mean — you probably do web searches like this every day.
To prove that this isn’t just impacting a small niche of the marketplace, they did some some extensive research (download the Google ZMOT research report here) and found that:
70% of Americans now say they look at product reviews before making a purchase
79% of consumers now say they use a smartphone to help with shopping
83% of moms say they do online research after seeing TV commercials for products that interest them
And most tellingly, the data revealed that the average shopper used 10.4 sources of information to make a decision in 2011, up from 5.3 sources in 2010.
This is a gigantic shift and should very clearly signify that the sales process is no longer managed by the seller. By the time a prospect wants to talk with you they will not only know your story but those of all your competitors. If you hope to be considered, not to mention win, during the ZMOT, you are going to have find ways to be part of the early conversation.
So, are preparing to win the Zero Moment of Truth?