Sunday 20 December 2015

The ZMOT & The Moments That Matter

After reading Jim Lecinski's book. "Winning The Zero Moment Of Truth" several times over, I have come to realize that true and long lasting success in digital marketing will not likely come from carrying out arbitrary activities using digital tools.

This post should guide you away from following the crowd in wasting their time dumping links on social media, and basically constituting a nuisance to those who actual use social media for "social" reasons. 

It should also guide you away from overestimating what you can achieve with SEO; and also wasting money buying pay per click ads that send you a whole bunch of curious window shoppers and no actual buyers.  

This post should actually guide you into understanding how real life people truly use the Web, and how you can truly begin to know these people.

The Zero Moment Of Truth 

And All Those Micro Moments

Now please don't get me wrong; I think SEO is great, Pay Per Click Advertising is awesome, and Social media marketing truly builds brands. In fact I employ all of these activities and more, and I suggest you do so as well.

However, what I am saying here is that all these activities need to be done in a such a way that it is must be about meeting your customers at the very point of their need. Not yours.

And there is more and more technology springing up to help you do this with scary levels of accuracy these days.
Think about it seriously...Would it not matter to you if you could distinguish between a young lady who Googled your product, "Shea Radiance Brightening Cream" while standing in the isle of a store, from someone else who Googled it from a desktop at the office?

Understanding shoppers' Intent is a big deal in modern marketing. And you should be getting comfortable in that kind of business process before your competitors catch wind of it. 
And lucky for you, most of them (your competitors - at least those in Nigeria) are still asleep.

The "rules" are changing dramatically: Shoppers are like military authorities dictating these new rules for you and your competitors. Google search, YouTube, Facebook, Reviews on Google plus and reviews on blogs, even Whatsapp are some of the tools they are using to dictate these new rules of engagement. And Learn how to engage, you must!

Shoppers are looking for your products. Their technological sophistication does not stop them from having needs. 
It only makes them more tactical and confident at finding exactly what they want.
Many of these clever shoppers are seeking answers before they step into the store. They are asking questions; seeking a special experience. An experience, they are convinced that THEY have total control of. And this control they feel is psychologically empowering!

We Must Now THINK In Moments

Believe me; This is all about thinking. Theirs and yours!

Let me let you in on a "secret"......that moment when shoppers want an answer to one of those questions of theirs' has been very well understood by Google.
They call it the Zero Moment Of Truth.
I am not going to go into definitions here.
The likes of Jim Lecinski and Brian Solis have written plenty on this topic, so serious business leaders need to seek these out.

I have also written so much about it already. And I think you can find perhaps my easiest definitions ►here or maybe ► here. My article about the FMOT (First Moment Of Truth) should also help you get a clearer psychology of what I am trying to do here.

But if you are one of the few wise ones, who need a more detailed, step by step guide on how to implement ZMOT campaigns, then ensure to add Jim Lecinski's free e-book to that reading list.

So anyway, what I want to talk about here today is the fact that Google have again recognized that this concept of the Zero Moment Of Truth can now be further broken up into billions of micro moments. Yes! Everyday they see billions of searches from people around the world.

And these are the moments that really matter to any smart marketer. And trust me, it is all about thinking.

The Magic is in Mobile.

The increasing use of smartphones is what is causing the explosion of these countless micro moments. The ease at which an internet connected phone can fit into our pockets has changed everything: phones can be everywhere we are. Even the bathroom. So we are virtually taking the world with us everywhere we go.

Never have we known such....."ridiculousness". Yet most of today's marketers think about this thoroughly when we are planning, doing research, or writing our ad copy.

Computers and the Web brought consumers online, mostly because of the ease of shopping without having to drive down to the store and join thse long checkout queues.

But today's clear and present reality is that consumers now just simply live online? Thanks to their mobile phones, they don't come and go any longer. They are always long as their is WiFi or data from their network provider. 

So for the thinking marketer, these billions of moments can be arranged into the following four categories; plus an additional one I added:

  • Want To Do Moments
  • Want To Know Moments
  • Want To Buy Moments
  • Want To Go Moments
  • Want To Express Moments
Now, I do not want to simply regurgitate stuff I read from Google. And I also believe that you will learn better by doing your own research. So I will very briefly just guide you through these groups of moments, and we can both go and do something else.

1. Want To Know Moments

The most prominent of the moments on Google.
People are always trying to find out stuff. We are always seeking information. And most especially because we now realize that we can get informed any moment of the day. Whether it is stuff they want to buy, or just stuff that they are curious about.

Helping people know more about stuff can put you in very good standing with them whenever they want to buy that stuff in the future. 
So there an opportunity there?

e.g. There is a sudden hike in Nigerian women's searches for information about baby food (even though most will still buy their baby's food from the shop next door).
Your company sells baby food.
What to do?

2. Want To Do Moments

Very similar to want to know moments because it is also about learning. But these are "Show Me How" searches that people are making to learn how to do things.

These searches are much more frequently done on YouTube, which is a video (long and short) streaming website that bears some of the qualities of a search engine as well as some qualities of a social network. 

I personally learned how to navigate the user interface of the Google Analytics tool by watching a YouTube video. Today I am a practicing Certified Google Analytics professional. 

Other people are using YouTube videos to learn how to prepare Gbegiri Soup, or how to snap a screenshot with a Samsung Galaxy S4, and so on.

Again, imagine a company that sells instant Amala powder or Poundo Yam should be taking advantage of promoting videos such as this. 

3. Want To Buy Moments

I would say this type are the only moments that the few digital marketers in Nigeria are paying attention to right now. 
Funny thing is that these are among the fewest comparatively among the shoppers moments of intent.
Shoppers searchers here are usually more specific.
"Cheap men's loafers". "3.5 KvA generator with delivery". "Pizza in Wuye area Abuja".

It would be funny if you sold men's loafers, generators or Pizza, and were not thinking of how to make yourself visible for such queries.

4. Want To Go Moments

Are simple. They want to go somewhere. Sometimes they are already driving, or already walking. And they ask Google questions like "Suya Spot near me" or "Good restaurants in Lekki". This usually works best when the searcher uses geo-locating services on their mobile devices by the way.

I remember a friend of mine once searching for "Drycleaners and Laundromats close to 1004", but none of these dudes offering this service was smart enough.

Extra. Want To Express Moments

This is mostly observable on social media. You may call it the new selfie craze.
Like it or not, people all over the world are crazy about their selfies. It seems to be instinctive human behavior. 

And here in Africa, it seems to me that we are even more selfie crazy. But it is not just about selfies; it appears that people want to be showing off their food, their trophies, their medals, their badges, etc.

There could be opportunities here as well. But I prefer you think (that magic word again) of a clever way to spot and respond to this opportunities and tell me in the comments. 
Or better still, come and ask me in private via any of my social channels using this unique hashtag = #OrimsThinkExpress


So there you have it!
These are the moments that matter!
But each industry has its own unique moments, and you should be learning how to master those moments.
Unless, of course, you want the future to rob your business of its position in that industry.
Thanks for reading.

If my writing has any positive impact on your marketing, or if you have more questions, please connect with me and let me know. I would love to discuss more with you. 
You can find me on Google Plus, Twitter and LinkedIn. 
Also come and ask broader questions about the Web as it related to Africa in the Digital Community where I am one of the moderators.  

See you there.
You may get further reading on the ZMOT in my other post which has Nigerian examples.


Tuesday 11 August 2015

The First Moment Of Truth

What Is The FMOT?

The First Moment Of Truth is the 3 to 7 seconds that it takes for a shopper browsing a store shelf to make up her/his mind on whether they are going to go home with your product or one of the competitors' versions that are close to it on the shelf. 

It was coined by Procter & Gamble in 2003, when they understood that a shopper's eyes typically swept through a store shelf full of products - theirs and their competitions'.
The brevity of the period of attention for each item meant that gaining the advantage for their own products was critical. 

Activities usually related with FMOT are in-store advertising, branded shelves, product packaging, interactive kiosks, digital store signage and even coupons.
And yet FMOT marketing is not so much about those examples as it is about the thinking behind them. 

Which is why I should add that point-of-sale promotions had been in existence before the FMOT was coined (eventhough the traditional advertising world hadn't paid quite as much attention to it). 
So I am not actually giving absolute provenance to P&G here.
What they accomplished was to fashion a concept and mental model out of it. They separated it from the stimulus stage of advertising (i.e. TV, cable, radio, magazines, billboards, etc), trimmed their spending on those while allocating the freed-up funds to it; and even set up a department for it - run by a Director of FMOT.

Stimulus(where psychology meets advertising) stimulus is exposure to advertising messages however insignificant such exposure might be.
For an advert to be consciously processed by a would-be customer, their attention is essential. 
Hence, P&G felt a lot still needed to be done after this stage.

So I submit to you that it is less about the activities and more about the cultivated mindset - i.e. the discipline you put into research, planning and implementation of your FMOT campaigns.

Let me illustrate:

Imagine that you recently got ₦2 million loan from your uncle to start that wonderful t-shirt printing business you've always wanted.
After striking  a deal with the likes of Mega Plaza and Spar, you realized you had to be careful how you promoted your wares since you had spent a reasonable amount of your cash on store space.

Hence you opted for a FMOT strategy instead of the unnecessarily expensive form of mainstream advertising. (i.e. those earlier mentioned above - tv, magazines, etc). You had learned from me that it was a disciplined, customer-oriented way of thinking about the store - as a type of battle ground. Therefore you came up with ideas that you could afford:

You hired 3 store agents. You had some simple standing signs made, and printed some cool flyers, because let's face it, you are indeed a very creative person.

The whole idea here was that, just like P&G, you had now understood that shoppers did not come to the store with their minds already made up about what they came to buy. They may come for one item but leave with four more. Or they could come in for one product and leave with another entirely. 

The thinking here is that if you can invest time, energy and resources into increasing the likelihood of shoppers choosing your product, then you are likely going to win at the First Moment Of Truth. 

So anyway mid-way into the first day you call your 3 sales agents and they all report tremendous sales. You then start to wonder, "Are my t-shirts that pretty? Or is my FMOT strategy working much better than I expected?"
You decided to try something else; you switched your best performing sales agent with the least performing one. 
And since you couldn't afford to print in-store coupons, you decided to do something similar: You gave every customer the privilege to come back wearing their t-shirts and get a 20% discount for their next purchase 

This has the added benefit of using your customers as live models to advertise your t-shirts right there in the store - the first moment of truth - for other customers.

And the best part of this is that you did not get this idea from me. You came up with it that you are developing the mindset. You can keep observing (or gathering information) the process as you implement and reiterate. As your profits increase and your business grows you will also consider adding the ZMOT strategy and even traditional advertising or guerilla marketing techniques if need be. Read more about ZMOT here.

Now the funny thing is that since P&G came up with this many marketers in Africa (or in Nigeria at least) have still not caught on as much as they have abroad. 
Yes, a few businesses are giving out coupons to help make sales, they even create large indoor signs and have them strategically located in your line of sight as you approach their product's isle. 

But to be honest, they only do some of these things only because they see others do them. Hopefully, after reading this, a marketer in the retail sector would be better equipped to do battle at the FMOT.
I will not likely be writing about the Second Moment Of Truth (SMOT) because that is the experience stage of the product. It occurs with the consumer's use of the product, and it mainly boils down to the actual quality of that product. Marketing does play a role there as well, but one that is out of the scope of this article.

I am expecting your comments or questions.
Let me know what your experience is at the popular stores around Africa. What are marketers doing to grab your attention on the isles?
Do you know that FMOT principles could be applied to online stores as well? Even airports, cinema halls, hospitals. In fact, almost anywhere you can find a cashier. ☺

Saturday 18 July 2015

Hello Africa! Meet The Semantic Web

Or you may call it Smart or Open Data!

Hello Africa! How are you doing?

My dear sisters and brothers, please allow me to introduce you to the Semantic Web and to Linked Open Data.

The Semantic Web was developed primarily out of Linked Open Data and other similar technologies, but it has now evolved and impacts many different fields, including Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Predictive Analysis, Big Data, etc.

These are things that I strongly believe you should embrace with all seriousness and diligence in order to achieve that desperately needed change for yourself, your family, your community, your country, and our entire continent.

I am talking about the type of change that starts within the mind, and then spreads to affect most aspects of one’s life; and yes, even your financial welfare.

The Irony In Saying All You Need Is Money

When I tell most people how exciting the Semantic Web and linked Open Data can be, and that we would be more or less teaching computers and other machines to understand us, they are typically unimpressed.

Most times people ask me, "How does that put money in my pocket right now?" Or, “What  Machines are learning is not my priority. I just need to make money!”

And while it is indeed a pressing reality that we have serious welfare issues in most parts of Africa, I find it quite sad that many of us seem to be under the impression, that by merely talking about how important money is, this would somehow grab it and fling it into our pockets.

Anyway, let me share with you what I usually say to some of my young Nigerian friends that engage me in this frequently recurring discussion:

Here is my own argument:

"Try to remember 5 years ago: Were you not as aware then, as you are now, of how important money was?" 
You probably dismissed discussions of this kind back then as well, am I right?


"So how rich have you gotten now? I mean from keeping your realization about money undefiled by such "unprofitable thoughts" of future technologies or of even simpler things like blogging - about your own interests and passions?

But the more important question is, “will this exclusive regard for money and your exclusion of matters of the Web ensure that you have lots of money 5 years from now???

Think about it......"

At this point I usually just get blank stares.

But here's my suggested alternative:

(and I am now talking to YOU, the reader, and anyone you care to share this information with)

If you start to pay active attention to the Semantic Web, or Linked Open Data or Machine Learning and so forth, from right now; in 5 years time, you would have most likely mastered at least one of these Semantic Web or Smart Data related skills.
And while, I cannot promise that you'll be as rich as those few Africans that are mentioned in Fortune Magazine by then, I can assure you that you would be much better off than you are today; Regardless of whether African rulers remain corrupt and vision-less kleptomaniacs or not.
But most of all, you would possess skills that will get increasingly significant as time goes on, and as Africa continues to develop at these current amazing rates of growth.
This is irreversible wealth, in my humble opinion; more reliable than hoping for some miraculous contract from some government official that happens to know your cousin's mother-in-law.

What Is The Semantic Web?

Mind you, these days, the Semantic Web and its surrounding technologies are often referred to as Smart Data – perhaps mainly because it has transcended The Web. 

But since they say life started from the sea, I might as well help you to begin your journey from there......where it all started:
(the Web is the sea in this context, just in case)

The Semantic Web was the vision of Tim Berners-Lee, the man who invented the World Wide Web. It grew out of Berners-Lee’s inspired Linked Open Data community (World Wide Web Consortium or the W3C) which developed and maintains the standards behind most of the technologies of the Semantic Web.

Before this movement, there was a lot of data published on the web (both quantitative and qualitative data). But most of it was only understandable to people. The open data community was motivated to encourage people to publish their data in a way that machines can understand and consume them. 
The idea is that machines can do much more with data than humans.

So the W3C also encouraged linking data to data with clearly defined relationships. When these links are authoritative and trustworthy (as David Amerland loves to say - more on him later) then this is where the magic of the Semantic Web truly begins. Because there is no point with machines doing wonderful stuff with data that are lies now is there? That only means that the lies would be more believable and more widely accepted. And we don't want that!

Anyway, these data are essentially linked to other data to produce a gigantic graph of facts and relationships, so that software applications can follow these links, consume the data, “grow smarter” and serve us humans much more effectively as a result. 
This is expected to lead to unprecedented levels of knowledge and power for the human race in general.

Trust is the final by-product of all this. 
Here's the thing, all of this which we can calculate in microseconds in most given situations, are also machine-calculable in an algorithmic trust score that can determine the trustworthiness of a source of data and, by inference, the veracity of the data itself.
David Amerland

Not A Replacement

One common misconception that could kill an average person’s interest in the Semantic Web is the notion that it is going to be an advanced replacement for the present World Wide Web.

The problem is, many of you are confused enough about the present World Wide Web as it is. You don't need a more “advanced” replacement!
I would imagine that you even secretly wish that this current Web you are used to would become more simple.
And that is exactly what the Semantic Web or Smart Data will do for the average user: Make things SIMPLE.

So the reality is that the Semantic Web is NOT “going to be” anything. It is already here now, and it already is this amazing technology that does not replace the current Web; it rather integrates with it and improves your experience of it remarkably.

Think of it as the same Web, only grown up; and is now influencing other areas of life beyond The Web (i.e. The Internet of Things, cognitive computing, image/object recognition, etc).   

You see, the billions of documents, apps and media that are currently linked to each other on the Web in its traditional form would still all be here, only that they can now be understood by computers and (potentially) other machines, as they are understood by humans.

This means greatly improved collaboration between humans and machines in the future

Kingsley Idehen speaks on RDF as the Linked Open Data essential

But You Don't Want To Be Like A Machine!!!

I understand!
And the truth is that the adjective “Semantic” has to do with the divergences between the meanings of words or symbols.
This is
not about you or anyone else being compelled to understand the technical nuances of the World Wide Web; Nor are you expected to know code. (even though this will not hurt you one bit!)

It is about the Semantic networks and the machines that are designed to work within this framework effectively learning what is published on the Web, through the meanings of the facts and data published. 

This is why you have been coming across the term “machine learning” so frequently of recent. You see, it is the MACHINES that are doing most of the learning here, NOT necessarily YOU. 

So even if you are never going to go into the technical aspects of these things, learning as much as you can as it relates to the industry you are in, will give you an edge in future. Trust me.

How Can Africa Benefit From The Semantic Web

I am personally of the opinion that the 6 most significant problems that plague the Continent are in the areas of:

1. Good Governance (i.e. we have many corrupt and visionless rulers) 

2. Knowledge/Skill Acquisition (terribly and widely underrated)

3. Food Production & Distribution (much hunger persists)

4. Basic Health Care (is lacking)

5. Clean Water (I’ve written about this before – see here)

6. Electricity (as the mother of all basic infrastructure)

2 of these problems have immediate solutions from the Semantic Web, numbers 1 and 2.

Good governance thrives in an atmosphere of accountability and transparency. Not that it can solve corruption, or stop kleptomaniacs from stealing. I mean that Open Data projects have brought in a greater sense of accountability in many parts of the world, and can surely do it here as well.
Kenya even has some interesting stories on this.

As for skill acquisition, think of Google’s Semantic technologies (i.e. the Knowledge Graph and Semantic Search) and how they are enhancing people’s ability to find the most relevant learning material to them. And Google are not the only ones that are improving at this: Think of LinkedIn published posts, Medium, Quora, and the millions of instructional videos posted all over the web. To say that my rate of learning has increased phenomenally along the Web would be an understatement. 
And yet, this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Africa must take advantage of the openness and “freeness” of these things. 
We would go out of our ways to invest lots of our parents money on many years of traditional education, but we are too lazy to learn online for free.

Here is a video I love to share, that gives a glimpse of what The traditional Web could do. Then consider what the evolved Web would be able to do as it gets smarter!

Meanwhile, there is enough evidence to believe that the solutions to the other 4 problems will come from the first 2, and that the growth of the Semantic Web and related technologies like Artificial Intelligence and the Internet Of Things will speed up this process.

Fear Not And Share This

Another thing I feel I must mention is that I have met many people who are afraid of The Web as a whole. American movies like The Terminator series and The Matrix sometimes get people worked up and they feel that these things are dangerous.

Now, i can't tell you that machine learning and all that stuff isn't dangerous. But look at it this way, if we decide not to get involved in the Open Data future, would that stop it from going on?

And by the way, let me just say now that if you are an African reading this post, and you have gotten this far in the text, then chances are you are already in the frame of mind that I am trying to project here.

This document is actually then intended for your younger sister, who just finished from University; and insists that she will not touch another book or read another piece of text again. 

It is for your 22 year old cousin, who does nothing but sits around with his friends all day long, arguing about European football players’ salaries.

You need to tailor or repackage this message for them. You need to convince them to read this post.  You need to make them develop a 5 year plan for their future. Even if it is not Open Data, they must acquire skills that would be relevant to these!

Finally, I am going to ask you to turn to the twin article I have written together with this one. It contains a few technical terms and a few explanations just to get you to wrap your head around the basics, to get you started on this amazing journey.

In it, you'll find the 3 pillars of the Semantic Web, which are…





I tried my best to simplify them for a non-tech audience in that post, because I remember how tedious it felt the first time I heard terms like Ontologies and Taxonomies.

And now I wish to introduce you to a few of the people that I count to be very important if you decided to follow along on this journey. 

They are:

Sir, Ammon Johns – was the first Google search result for the search phrase, “Internet Marketing Consultant”. That should say a lot about many things. 
He does not purposefully teach about the Semantic Web, but I included him because his deep knowledge of the web in general is incredible. That's why I always include him. :-) (Sir Johns is on Google Plus)
When you read his posts and hear his comments about The Web and about marketing, you would understand.

Aaron Bradley – like Sir Johns above, is more of an internet marketing consultant with SEO specialization. He is also a Semantic Web developer who has been of muich help to me on my journey so far. On Google Plus

David Amerland – Fantastic communicator, thought leader and a fountain of knowledge in this area and others. He focuses more on Semantic Search (don’t forget the machines are the ones doing the understanding); usually from a Google Search approach. Think about it this way, Google is perhaps 95% search share holder in Africa, so obviously this is important.

Bill Slawski – has a law degree which he uses together with his scientific mind to break down Google patents and extract extremely valuable knowledge that never ceases to amaze. Keeping up with Mr Slawski will take you ahead of the game, because many of Google’s recent patents are related to these Semantic Web technologies.

Barbara Starr – Another top notch expert in the Semantic Web space. She is beauty and brains, and she even knows the brains of computers (i.e. she knows artificial intelligence). 
Barbara Star is from South Africa by the way.  :-)

Brian Sletten – A multi-talented scientist with an incredibly easy-to-follow style of explaining this Semantic Web stuff. (Well perhaps that could depend on what you already know about the Semantic Web).
Follow him today to keep up with his 5-part series on some rich linked data instruction.

Teodora Petkova – Content writer (freelance) and thing finder, and Semantic Web super enthusiast like myself. Her blog was were my Semantic Web journey started. Her posts on Google+ are also true to her title of “thing finder”.
Unlike the experienced experts on this list, one valuable thing you can learn from Teodora and me is how to remain interested and not get weary of keeping up with all of the technical jargon that could discourage the average person. I suggest you follow her on Google+ as well.

Kingsley Uyi Idehen (those of you from Edo State in Nigeria are familiar with this name.) who, along with Teodora, has played the biggest role in my journey so far. 
Let me just say that you need to circle him on Google+ as well. Right now! 
As I leave you with his quote on Linked Data and its technologies
(the one that really got me to sit up):

VERY IMPORTANT: If this article interested you, even just a little bit, then please do not waste anymore time. Knowledge is extremely valuable. Get in touch with me right now. God knows that we Africans need to take advantage of this opportunity as quickly as possible, while it is not yet so widespread even in most of the Developed world.

Finally, if you are an artist or social scientist like myself, and you are wondering why you should be taking this journey, then please take my advice:
......the computer jargon and the code noise will quickly wear-off, and you will soon begin to see how much more of our world is in here.  

When I first joined Google Plus, and started following math and computer science experts, I felt like an "English-man in New York". 
But these days, I honestly feel as if these computer science guys are mere intruders in my home. 
Hahaha! :-D 

I would be glad to help you make this journey much easier and even enjoyable for you. I am sincerely here to help.  I am mostly active on GooglePlus, and then Facebook, then LinkedIn and Twitter. But you can still find me on Pinterest as well.

Have a great week, and hope to hear from you soon!