The "Zero Moment of Truth"
Your company's online presence is no longer just your website. When someone searches for your business online, they are still likely to peruse your corporate site, but now they are also most likely going to check out your social media profiles, reviews of your products on third-party sites, blogs that mention your company and countless other relevant resources across the web. While you can dictate what's printed on your company website, you have very little control over the rest of the Internet. By joining the conversation in the social media sphere, you can at least influence what is said and how your company is perceived. Although you will never have complete control of your online image, you can help shape it in a positive way by remaining actively involved. You can address complaints on third-party review sites, reach out to bloggers who mention your brand and monitor the rest of the web for other opportunities. The reason why this is all so important is because of the way consumers now make their purchasing decisions.
Google recently published an e-book about the "Zero Moment of Truth" which is described as "that moment when you grab your laptop, mobile phone or some other wired device and start learning about a product or service you’re thinking about trying or buying." The name is a twist on another marketing term, the "First Moment of Truth", which describes the "seven seconds after a shopper first encounters a store shelf... when you're standing there, looking at [the choices] and deciding which [brand or product] to buy." Basically, the Zero Moment of Truth, or ZMOT, is a critical moment in the purchasing decision that happens before consumers even get to the store. It used to be that a consumer would have a need, or be stimulated into wanting something (typically by an advertisement of some sort), and then they would go to the store, pick an item based on the available choices, and make the purchase. Now, that same customer is proactively researching their choices online as soon as they identify that need or want. To stand out from the competition, you need to stand out during the ZMOT. You need to dive into the online conversation and influence what you can to put your own product or service on top.