Tuesday 21 April 2015

What Is ZMOT To A Nigerian?

ZMOT is a four letter acronym for a marketing concept developed at Google by Jim Lecinski. It stands for the Zero Moment Of Truth

In digital marketing, a ZMOT is the most crucial stage in a shopper's decision making life cycle, and it presents tremendous opportunities for marketers who are serious about taking the lead in their industries in this new digital age.

However, to the average Nigerian business person, this may not mean much right now. But I am willing to bet that it would mean a great deal to many of you in the next 3 to 5 years. Especially if the country continues to grow and develop at this rate.


In a marketer's hypothesis of a customer's path to a purchase, the ZMOT is the stage that comes immediately after the potential shopper receives a stimulus (advertisement, or other form of initial proposition) and before a decision is made at the store.  

Before the dawn of the digital age, stimulus was believed to play a decent role in the customer's mind to get him to a store. Advertisements are expected to grab your attention and sell you an idea. This is called the stimulus stage, and it usually comes long before a decision is taken at the store shelf.  

This decision stage is called the First Moment Of Truth (or FMOT). A stage where wise marketers who realize they cannot rely completely on the message in the initial stimulus to get you to make the purchase.  So by doing some additional promotion in this Shelf stage (the packaging of the product, in-store advertising, etc) marketers want to influence your decision at the point of purchase (like a store).
If this is done right, marketers could even "steal" the customer that was brought in by a competitor's stimulus. 

After check out at the counter the customer takes the product or service (after a deal or contract has been made), and uses it. This is the Experience Stage and the amount of satisfaction (or dissatisfaction) that the customer gets with the product is aptly called the Second Moment Of Truth.



Meanwhile, the Zero Moment Of Truth comes after the Stimulus stage, but before the First Moment Of Truth. It became a recognizable phenomenon as the world got more and more transformed by the internet and mobile phones. 
And there is more than enough evidence to show that it is playing an increasing role on how modern day shoppers make their final decision at the counter. The most crucial role in many cases.

Consider someone who enters a shop to ask for Product XYZ, with serial number 123, with accessories ABC. 
Such a case is that of someone who did his homework well before going to the store, right? That is how to understand the ZMOT.

To make it simple:
The ZMOT phenomenon is a new way we behave;  like when you argue with a friend about who the top goal scorer in LaLiga is. A long time ago, such arguments often ended with guys making bets. 
These days, few young men are confident enough to take these bets, because they know that the other guy would get the answer within a second of bringing out their smartphone.

And many of us have extended this "swift answer mentality" to our shopping behavior as well. 

So the ZMOT is not only a concept, or a moment in time; it is a whole new mentality. A new and increasingly frequent destination we go to before we make a purchase.

In the new digital age, people no longer easily buy the B.S. of advertisements as they used to (pardon my expression). They want to investigate and learn more about the service or product. And this is simply because it is getting easier and easier for them to do so these days. Technology is changing the way the market behaves and you have no choice but to adjust to it. That is if you wish to remain in business for a long time.


Now I know some of you have heard about SEO (or Search Engine Optimization). While many more of you know a little bit about Online Advertising and how it is more target & intent oriented than the kind of advertising that you have in the real world.
Some of you might also be lucky to have learned a few things about Web Analytics, so you know that it is profitable for you to analyze how people interact with your website. And you all probably know more about Social Media Marketing and the fact that people are getting more and more advanced at using social networks (like Google+ and Facebook) as marketing and sales platforms.

But now, try to think of the ZMOT as an angle or an approach through which you pilot your business to greater success.  It's a method that often ties those other digital activities together in one powerful strategy. 

Imagine that you are managing a store in Ikeja that sells a particularly rare beauty product (XYZ).
Then imagine a woman who lives in Surulere and who wants that product XYZ really badly.
But now imagine that some creepy sales-rep from another beauty company is at her house trying to sell her an alternative product ABF.

So while she reluctantly thinks about buying this crappy product ABF, she thought to share on her Twitter, Facebook and Google+ profiles, a post asking her friends, "Does anyone know anywhere in Lagos where I can get rare cream XYZ?"

What kind of strategy would you adopt in engaging this kind of ready customer at the Zero Moment Of Truth?
You have to start thinking along those lines from now.
Not just launching digital campaigns for the sake of "needing to go digital with your marketing". 

Some more examples are:

  • A cocoa farmer searching on Google for the most appropriate fertilizers. 
  • An Abuja-based couple browsing for affordable hotels in Calabar for their honeymoon, and suddenly discovering that one of their friends has left a 5-star rating and an online review for an affordable guest house there.
  • Or....Surprisingly making up your mind to buy an iPhone4 instead of the Blackberry Z10 you had previously planned to buy, after searching the term "Best Smartphone for business in Nigeria" and finding a very compelling blog article where someone was comparing a number of smartphones. 
In these examples, the suppliers or providers of fertilizer, or hotels and guest houses in Calabar, and of Androids and Blackberry phones can do something to give their own businesses the advantage. They don't have to rely on luck.

It requires a ZMOT strategy…Or it requires that you actually know how the digital realm works and how it shapes user behaviour.

So it is more about having a certain mentality than it is about being a super computer genius, wizard or guru. Or any of those other meaningless tags that people throw around these days. 

I would also say that it is more about adapting traditional marketing principles than it is about IT proficiency. I mean, you can always get computer geeks working for you, while you coordinate them. But not everyone really understands what Ogilvy meant when he said "To be interesting, be interested".


Here is something that I discovered while eavesdropping on a conversation between two ZMOT-minded professionals:
In answering a question about understanding where their customers were in their shopping life cycle, and what were the right messages to meet them at each point, Laurie Tucker (the Marketing Executive of Fedex) captured the essence of a ZMOT-minded strategy here; and I am slightly paraphrasing what she said:

"We've put up about 150 videos on our YouTube Channel to say, 'how do you use Fedex?'….But at another level we start to understand how our customers respond to our content, and we begin to grade them based on their engagement with us. We look for look-alikes; Test; Repeat; Repeat again; and then (we) begin to get sophisticated….So I start to think about this and realize that marketing is the new sales!"

Now, if you didn't get that, it is only because you are perhaps really new to digital marketing concepts in general. But please note that all I really need you to take away from what she said here is really just one word…


The marketer here (Laurie Tucker) gained a level of awareness by constantly engaging her customers at their ZMOTs. She is clearly rewired for the new digital age, and quite frankly the company she works for would reap the rewards of this.
ZMOT mindedness would do this for you as well.

As a Nigerian, you can surely testify to the increasing usage of mobile phones by all and sundry to browse the internet, and you know how often you hear people say, "google It!" nowadays.
This is our present reality. And the future will surely see it increase in this direction. If you are in business, you should be thinking of how to take advantage of this by now.

Thank you.

Did my article do anything for you?
Please let me know what you think?
Do you disagree or agree with anything? I look forward to hearing from you….

Find me on LinkedIn as well.

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