What is the Zero Moment of Tuth?
Whether it’s buying a new cell phone, a car, or simply deciding where to go out to eat tonight, in a time when consumers have access to a wide variety of products and product information around the world, the question of at what moment they decide to buy a product is more important than ever. So far, the literature has focused on the ‘First Moment of Truth’, the moment when the consumer buys the product.
Changing buying behavior through the Zero Moment of Truth?
But in an era where mobile browsing dominates search behavior, the question of the exact moment a consumer decides to buy a product before actually buying it is becoming increasingly important. A study by Google shows that 84% of all consumers conduct a comprehensive information search on the Internet to find out more about the product before making a purchase. Increasing numbers of clicks on review channels on YouTube suggest that consumers are massively incorporating previous user experiences into their own purchasing decisions before making a purchase.
The question that must now be asked is how can a seller take advantage of this Zero Moment of Truth and win over the customer?
When does the Zero Moment of Truth occur?
First of all, it must be identified when the Zero Moment of Truth takes place with the consumer. The Google study shows that this moment can occur at different times depending on the product category. For example, consumers gather information about potential vacation destinations about 3 months before booking, while information searches for groceries peak up to a few moments before making a purchase.
Generally speaking, the greater a consumer’s investment, the earlier the Zero Moment of Truth takes place. Investment in this sense should not only be understood as a financial investment, but also as a temporal and emotional investment of the customer in the product.
As a food retailer or food manufacturer, for example, you can use this moment so that advertisements are placed moments before the peak hours of the retail trade and you thus get the widest reach.
Also, the timing of the ZMOT gives many clues as to the type of marketing. It stands to reason that information searches for products with a low investment by the customer will be different than information searches with a high investment. Customers react more emotionally for low-investment products, while for high-investment products they decide more rationally and want to choose the best of all alternatives. In this context, for example, it would be more appropriate to present an advertisement with logical and concise product features.
So what is the significance of the Zero Moment of Truth?
This brief insight shows that the Zero Moment of Truth has an immense influence on the customer’s buying behavior and should be seen by the seller as the initial point of his marketing activity. Other areas that should be analyzed in the future are the difference between active and passive search intention of the customer, influence of mobile browsing on the ZMOT, a quantitative measurement of the influence the ZMOT has on the actual purchase decision and the influence of different media on the ZMOT.
Adnan, V. (2015), ‘Effects of Zero Moment of Truth on consumer buying decision: An exploratory research in Turkey’, International Journal of Social Sciences and Education Research, 1 (2), 526-536.
The Zero Moment of Truth: Automotive Study (2011), Google/Shopper Sciences.