Proctor and Gamble came up with the term “First Moment of Truth” to describe the moment when a customer is looking at the shelf and chooses a particular product. The customer's choice is the result of a number of diverse factors -- from a recent ad campaign to the product’s orientation on the shelf -- but the customer’s act of choosing shows how it all comes together (or doesn't).
Research from Google has shown that the rise of online peer reviews and mobile computing has added an important step before that “First Moment”
What is the Zero Moment of Truth?
Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT) – the moment you check online for reviews or additional information before you make a decision about a product or service.
The ZMOT occurs when a person checks a movie’s reviews before buying tickets, or compares hotel reviews before finally making a decision about that romantic getaway.
For online marketing around advocacy or fundraising, the ZMOT could be the potential new user taking the time to read the “About” page of an organization-- or seeing how many “likes” it has on Facebook -- before signing a petition. Users could also look at your nonprofits profile and ratings on Guidestar, Charity Navigator or Great Nonprofits.
This isn’t something that only the online elite are doing. Google found that:
- 70% of Americans now say they look at product reviews before making a purchase
- 79% of consumers now say they use a smartphone to help with shopping
- 83% of moms say they do online research after seeing TV commercials for products that interest them
Google’s recent book “Zero Moment of Truth” provides a compelling overview of this trend, and how to respond to it (be sure to check out the “How to Win at ZMOT” chapter).
What should non-profit online marketers do about their organization’s Zero Moment of Truth?
- Identify your other moment of truths (what are the key steps in a user’s experience?)
- Have a mobile version of your site
- Have a compelling “About us” section
- Provide compelling social proof (for example, highlight how many people have already taken action)
- Pay attention to your online reputation and Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Identify who is in charge of managing your organization’s Zero Moment of Truth
* Matt Hows is the Communications Director for the Natural Resources Defense Council Action Fund