For those who haven’t heard of the First Moment of Truth (FMOT), essentially it’s the moment in which a consumer is in a store deciding between your brand and the next guy’s. For years this has been a profound moment for businesses and marketers – a final fight to the death between two gladiators. Who will win? Lucky Charms or Cap’n Crunch? All of your branding and marketing efforts have led up to this moment. If your efforts were good enough, you’d close the sale and bask in the glory of the crowd’s roar in the Coliseum. But if you failed, you’d lose the sale to your competitor and fall to your death.

Although FMOT is still significant, it is yet another victim affected by digital technology’s wrath. Recently there has been a lot of hype around our office about a new book called ZMOT: Winning the Zero Moment of Truth  by Jim Lecinski.

Now that you know about FMOT, the term Zero Moment of Truth refers to the moment of competition before the consumer reaches FMOT, and it takes place online rather than in the store. For example, if you were thinking about buying a new TV, whether you plan to buy it online or in-store, would you first conduct a little research online to learn about your options? You may compare brands and prices, read customer reviews about the potential candidates, or even consult your Twitter followers for suggestions. If you’re behind the times like me and still have a cathode-ray tube television, you may even do a little research to learn about HDTV’s in general before moving on to comparing brands, specs and prices. The instance in which you are conducting all of this research, from learning about the product category to the brand options, is the Zero Moment of Truth. And it’s becoming increasingly important for brands and businesses to be present at this moment and to take advantage of the opportunity, especially in today’s digital retail environment where some consumers may not even leave the couch when purchasing your product. And if they do, there’s a good chance that they’ve done some online research before coming to your store. And this is why your business needs to be there during that decision process.

I’ll give you an example from the book. It’s not enough for businesses to only be present when their brand name or product category is typed into a search engine; there are more innovative ways to be present as well. To illustrate this strategy, the author points out a popular Google search phrase – “What’s in dog food?” Now if you were a dog food company, wouldn’t you want to be present when a consumer has a question like this? Who better to answer it than you? Maybe you could start a “What’s in dog food” campaign and educate your consumers. Plus, it’d be a great way to stand out among your competitors.

And that’s the kind of stuff you’ll find in this book. It’s a short and simple read, but incredibly insightful. The author presents numerous case examples and offers tools, tips and ideas on how you can apply and implement ZMOT in your business. The Zero Moment of Truth concept is no doubt a monumental, game-changing notion for the field of marketing. Although this book is a great way to get acquainted with ZMOT, I have a hunch that it is a subject that will only receive deeper analysis in the future as it becomes even more important and more relevant to business and advertising.

The book is available in about every format you can imagine (I downloaded the app on my iPod touch). And the best part is – it’s free! Again, it’s a painless read, nothing compared to the pain of being struck down by a gladiator. So check it out, before the caged lions get you.

– Andrew

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