Google’s not always right. Google’s booklet on the ZMOT, or Zero Moment of Truth, raises some eye opening questions on how consumers consume and marketers market. Clearly, connectivity has changed buying habits and marketers must take note. In the Google booklet, author Jim Lecinski defines a ZMOT as “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.”
For the local marketer, the words “start learning” are the critical juncture in that definition. Learning is most often not the sought after outcome. In contrast, a stimulus response action with limited thought engagement is the objective. Consumers need a LMOT, Local Moment of Truth – a fast, local resolution to their needs – not a Zero moment or a first moment, where they are staring at and deciding between multiple options. Consumers want the power of their location and/or the emotional attachment they have to a brand to displace any notion they might have of entering a ZMOT.
Now that we have established the need for a Local Moment Of Truth, we must outline local marketing strategies for keeping consumers out of a Zero Moment.
All marketers realize the importance and value of having customer data. One of the added benefits for local marketers is that they can directly apply what they learn through data collection and analysis to targeted customer outreach. Knowing customer habits, preferences, likes and dislikes, helps build a connection with local market consumers, which then leads to the establishment of a loyalty network. Don’t be afraid to get to know your customers. Familiarity leads to deeper understanding, which leads to the formation of habits, which lend to a sense of trust.
For local marketers, three factors come into play when discussing consumer preference. They must have an understanding of what consumers needs/wants are, what the competition is doing, and what their brand can do to position themselves in the best light. First and foremost, it’s all about the consumer. Their perceived needs and wants dictate the path a brand takes. Also, it’s important to know what the competitive landscape looks like and where individual brand fits into it. If you can provide a solution to consumer needs/wants and differentiate your brand from the competition – whether it’s by aggressive market exposure or simply offering a more competitive price – you can position your brand as the preferred brand.
Part of customer loyalty is an understanding that when consumers purchase a product or service they know what they are getting – no surprises. Customers rely on past experience which tells them whether or not a specific brand can be trusted. Consistency across multiple platforms, from television commercials, to flyers and promotional emails, to the in-store experience, is key to ensuring that consumers receive, understand and retain the message a brand is trying to convey. If you can offer consistency to consumers, they will become brand advocates, directly contributing to the expansion of your network of loyal customer.
The evolution of consumer trends has forced marketers to think creatively and “outside the box” of their local market. While the end goal is to drive consumers to the local business, those consumers may not necessarily be in the local market. By developing targeted marketing campaigns to reach specific segments of non-local consumers, marketers build a consumer-brand relationship that satisfies the needs of both parties. This specific segment of non-local consumers won’t be frequent repeat consumers and their brand loyalty will be limited to the time they spend in your local market, but your targeted marketing efforts will establish familiarity and preference between the consumer and your brand.
The traditional marketing model of creating a stimulus to drive awareness of a product or service, which then drives consumers to the point of sale where consumers buy the product or service, stands true today. And consumer behavior has not changed, rather evolved in how consumers gather information. It’s clear that connectivity has affected buying behavior, but that does not mean a ZMOT occurs with every purchase pursuit. In many cases, a LMOT occurs. This is where local marketers need to be. By successfully achieving familiarity, preference, consistency, and aggressive, creative consumer outreach, local marketers can rely on the fact that there is no need for consumers to “start learning” about alternative products or services. The choice is instantaneous. The consumer’s location and/or emotional attachment to the brand displace any notion of a Zero Moment Of Truth.
About the Author
John Thomson is president and CEO of Saepio,a leading provider of marketing technology for corporations with distributed marketing networks.