Marketing Your Small Business for the ZMOT (Zero Moment of Truth)Before you make many of your purchases or decisions, do you perform online reconnaisance? Consider these stats cited in a recent eBook (Winning the Zero Moment of Truth) by Jim Lecinski, Google’s Managing Director of US Sales & Service:

-70{a1e4dbad5b5db674abcd08880e44cddfd507140ecbeb8646296ad08a1acb49a4} of Americans now say they look at product reviews before making a purchase
-79{a1e4dbad5b5db674abcd08880e44cddfd507140ecbeb8646296ad08a1acb49a4} of consumers say they use a smartphone to help with shopping
-83{a1e4dbad5b5db674abcd08880e44cddfd507140ecbeb8646296ad08a1acb49a4} of moms say they do online research after seeing TV commercials for products that interest them

The ZMOT, or “Zero Moment of Truth”, is the moment when you use online resources to learn more about something before you make a purchase or a decision.  We now often use a variety of online sources, including ratings and review sites, friends and family via social networks, and videos.  This includes both searches for information after we hear a specific brand name or company (such as “June’s Famous Bacon Chocolate Bar” or “XYZ Staffing Agency”) as well as for general products or experiences (“Chicago accountants”, “electric cars” or “bikram yoga”). 

What are the components of a ZMOT?
It’s online — usually starting with a search on Google, Bing, Yahoo, YouTube, review sites or any other search tool or engine.
It’s in real time, at any time of the day or night, and it’s often mobile (The number of mobile searches on Google in 2010 doubled from 2009)
It’s on the consumer’s terms
It usually has an emotional component
-It’s a multi-way conversation
: marketers, friends, strangers, websites and experts all have opinions and are competing for attention.

And just how much information are we consumers sifting through during the ZMOT?  Shopper Sciences recently reported that we are seeking out 10.4 pieces of information per purchase in 2010, as compared to 5.3 pieces in 2009. That’s almost double in one year. 
So, an ever-growing number of people are looking at a wider pool of data to make purchasing decisions.  How do you as a small business owner win at the ZMOT?

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, you’ve got to take the time to increase your digital footprint.  You want your products and services to be found in multiple places- on your website, review sites, local search directories, and social media sites.  Give people an opportunity to share their opinions about what you are offering.  Think like your searchers and make sure you have relevant keywords on your website and on your digital profiles. Have an active presence where your customers are searching during their ZMOT. 

You’ll find a wealth of information and advice from Google in their ebook: