Wednesday, 15. January 2014

Zero moment of truth

The digital world has changed a lot but not everything. So, any company must nowadays be aware of not only the two moments of truth but now the four moments of truth to be successful.

The notion of the two moments of truth has been introduced by P&G and indicates the importance to focus especially on the client at two specific points in their purchasing process. The first moment of truth is when the client is in the store and purchases the product. All 4 P’s are important at this very moment. The product has to be available, the perfectly placed and appropriately priced. The price perception can be supported with the remaining P, the promotional aspect. Everything has to blend perfectly together to make the client choose the marketers product and not the competitors. The second moment of truth is once the customer has purchased the product and uses the product. The smell when opening of the shampoo bottle must be a memorable experience. For instance, the moment I am opening a Johnson & Johnson baby shampoo a lot of memories come to my mind. P&G and other companies are very good creating those special moments when opening and using a product. The smell, the texture, the visual has to be perfectly balanced. Smell and texture is hard to attain in a digital world. The digital world has not changed the concept of the two moments of truth but like many things nowadays the concept had to be adapted to the new digital reality. 


Google has expanded the two moments of truth to four moments of truth. Now in the digital world it has become a must to be present on the web. People search for products, compare products and look up forums before they purchase a high, medium or even low-involvement product. The zero moment of truth is exactly here. The companies website has to be optimized for the clients need. Relevant keywords have to be selected so the website can be found on Google and has to be ranked on the first page of the organic search results. Also, the companies website needs to be SEO optimized and have relevant inbound links to the site. The site needs therefore to be updated regularly and have enough text to be searchable which makes inbound marketing from a search engine optimization point of view very interesting. The website must however not only attract people and be visually appealing but also offer a unique client experience. There are many sites that are good examples but unfortunately there are still countless sites that still have room for improvement. The zero moment of truth needs therefore enough attention from a digital marketers point of view.


The second moment of truth that Google has introduced is at the very end of the purchasing process. It is when a client has used the product and hopefully recommends the product to somebody else. Word-of-mouth marketing is not a new invention but the digital world has made it even more relevant. A company nowadays needs to facilitate the recommendation process for the client. If the company has done everything right in the three previous moments of truths the client might be inclined to spread the word and recommend the product. This is very relevant for a company as word-of-mouth advertising is one of the most cost-efficient advertising methods. A client needs to be serviced well all along the purchasing process and even after completing the transaction so he ideally becomes a brand ambassador. The company must make it easy for the client to share his positive experience with others through either digital or traditional channels. Especially in the digital world there are many channels that need to be considered. Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram and Youtube are channels that must be maintained well and invite the clients to share their experience and talk positively on behalf of the company. There are many ways to incentivize the client to share his experience with your brand and your product. Again a digital marketer must create impactful campaigns that not only attract people but think of ways to engage clients in a conversation with the client that last far beyond the purchasing process. If a client happens to be not satisfied with the product or service he must equally be treated in an appropriate and swift manner to minimize the risk of a negative impact on the marketers brand. Social media has made it extremely to not only complain about a company but also attract an audience of other dissatisfied customers. Hence it is crucial any company to facilitate the communication with the client and let him comment positively about the product or service on the different channels available nowadays.


In addition to the introduction of two new moments of truths the already existing two moments of truth need to be updates as well. First, the website has to be as easy as possible for a client to skim through and the payment process, if available, must be as straight forward as possible. When looking at the analytics data it is interesting to note how many clients are lost along the purchasing process in an e-commerce shop because of lengthy check-out procedure, erroneous pages and inappropriate questions and steps involved. Even if you don’t sell the items online the website has to be integrated into the whole shopping experience linking the offline world perfectly with the online world. 


Also the second moment of truth introduced by P&G must be adapted to the new online world. Even if it is a rather unexciting product such as a book or music the client must feel at the center of attention when he finally has purchased the product and receives it and opens it. This exact moment is the moment that the infamous Zalando ad is displaying. The wow effect when you receive the product and you feel extremely happy about the product that you have purchased. This is obviously quite a challenge in a digitalized world but should be the goal of any e-commerce website to reassure the client that he did the right thing to purchase the companies product at this particular website and that he is more than welcome to come back. 


The digital world has changed a lot but not everything. So, any company must nowadays be aware of not only the two moments of truth but now the four moments of truth to be successful.