Inbound Marketing and ZMOT: Perfect Together?
Have you heard talk yet of "ZMOT"? It stands for 'zero moment of truth' and represents the moment between purchase stimulus and purchase decision [aka first moment of truth as identified by P&G] when buyers go through extensive research and learning about the purchase they are about to make. To me, ZMOT goes hand-in-hand with inbound marketing.
It also dovetails with what I've observed about the retail experience and needing to connect with (women) consumers sooner in the shopping process, with B2B businesses needing to build trust online with customers before they will agree to becoming clients, and with all of this happening online via distinctly relevant [aka remarkable] content on websites, blogs, and social media networks.
ZMOT comes from Google. The book ZMOT: Winning the Zero Moment of Truth, by Jim Lecinski, is free and includes research from Shopper Sciences of 5000 shoppers across 12 categories. I suggest downloading it.
After reading ZMOT, let me know what you've observed about your behavior as well as that of your customers. Aren't you finding that regardless of whether it's a B2B solution or a consumer ones, we're all are buying differently, using the web to conduct extensive research?
The Connection to Inbound Marketing
Here's how I see ZMOT supporting inbound marketing [I love this post by Jason Falls about inbound marketing] as opposed to traditional outbound or 'shout' marketing.
Inbound marketing focuses on creating content that speaks to your audiences in words that make sense to them, answering the questions they have about your product or service. It addresses your (potential) customers' ZMOT concerns.
This highly relevant, delicious, memorable content appears in search results, helping you get found, because you've taken the time to optimize it and share it via the social networks you appear in.
ZMOT represents gold for businesses. Since it happens online, we can 'listen' and mine data for insights to further refine and improve the relevance of our online content. How better to strengthen our marketing conversations.
An interesting observation about ZMOT: it's affected by the "moments of truth" of others further along in the purchase process, as you can see in the visual titled "The new mental model".
One thought came to mind as I read ZMOT. I remember conversation ~ 5-10 years ago around how many stores consumers shopped before making a purchase decision. This varied from category to category, but remained relatively steady. When price became more of a factor, the number of stores shopped would increase. When last I heard reference to this number, it had decreased.
Based on ZMOT, that decrease is not cause for celebration. Rather fewer businesses are 'physically' shopped and contacted because shoppers [both B2B and consumer] are doing their research online and eliminating options before businesses even have the opportunity to build a relationship, let alone interact.
Consider the implications for your business.
Knowledge at Wharton published Google's Jim Lecinski on What the 'Zero Moment of Truth' Means for Marketers
on August 5, 2011. I found these comments particularly relevant:
Wind: The ZMOT concept is not a change for consumers. The changes are with respect to corporations, as Jim mentioned, in terms of the need for marketers to try to [understand] the changes in consumer behavior.
Knowledge@Wharton: Jim, do you think ZMOT changes the buying decision?
Lecinski: No, ZMOT was an attempt to catalogue, characterize and give a sticky name to the behaviors that we are seeing from consumers. What is new on a consumer-behavior front is that consumers who used to use this Zero Moment research model to inform their buying decisions only around high-ticket or so-called high-involvement products -- white goods, cars or travel -- are now so comfortable with and reliant on that behavior that they are now applying it to what you would call everyday items.
ZMOT, then, applies to all purchase decisions; it takes place primarily online. If your business can't be found online, do you exist?
What is your reaction to Zero Moment of Truth or ZMOT? How are you seeing it affect your business? How are you integrating that into your online marketing or your inbound marketing?
Let me know in the comments.
Additional ZMOT Resources