Do you remember the advertising expression "Look for this on your grocer's shelf?"
Although this expression is fading away in modern advertising, the use of it indicates a psychological understanding of consumer buying behavior. This buying behavior was once viewed as a 3-step mental model that we all experience before buying something. Here's that mental model:
1. Stimulus - Something happens that makes us interested.
2. Shelf - We are standing in front of the grocer's shelf looking for the item.
3. Experience - We take the item home and become a satisfied customer as we use it.
The expression "look for this on your grocer's shelf," is an advertising attempt to interject an idea into your head that you could stand in a store and compare their product to the one you normally purchase. As you can see, that's clearly #2 in the 2-step mental model.
Although large advertising firms understand this mental model it's rarely explained to a small business owner, and especially not to retail jewelry store owners.
As the internet became a bigger part of our lives, further studies went into this mental model and names were coined to better explain steps 2 and 3.
Step 2 is not necessarily about the grocer's shelf any more. Studies showed that people will compare products by reading information, talking to people, and looking at signs. This step is now known as the "First Moment of Truth" or FMOT for short.
Step 3 was originally thought to only encompass the experience when using, or eating the product at home, but now marketers understand that experience can also encompass emotional reactions. This step is now known as the "Second Moment of Truth" or SMOT for short.
The expression "look for it on your grocer's shelf" has been around a while, which means that FMOT and SMOT were intuitively understood for many years. But now the internet has introduced a new step in the mental model between first stimulus and FMOT. This step is called the "Zero Moment of Truth" or ZMOT for short.
ZMOT can come in many shapes and sizes, but it's essentially the idea that you will "google it" to find out more information before driving to see it in person. You can "google it" from your desktop computer, you can "google it" from your smartphone, or you can "google it" from your tablet. Since many people carry the internet around in their pocket it's quite possible that ZMOT will occur only a few seconds after the initial stimulus.
Every industry has their own types of Stimulus, ZMOT, FMOT, and SMOT. Here are some examples I've identified for the jewelry industry:
Jewelry Stimulus - i.e. what motivated people to search for jewelry online:
1. Received an email from a brand or jeweler
2. Saw a newspaper ad for a local jeweler
3. Received direct mail from a jeweler
4. Saw a billboard ad
5. Heard a radio ad
6. Saw one of their friends wearing jewelry
7. Saw something on social media
8. Read a magazine article about a brand
9. Noticed advertising from a brand while browsing online
10. Saw an advertisement on television
11. Saw jewelry featured on a TV show or awards show
(Jewelry Stimulus Source: jWAG survey of responses from advertising methods for December 2012 and February 2013, and Google research from April 2011.)
After the Stimulus creates an interest, jewelry shopper is motivated to search online for more information. This is where ZMOT occurs. The website zeromomentoftruth.com provides a list of how people will search for more information online. I've taken that list and rewritten it slightly so you, a retail jeweler, could directly relate to it:
1. Use a search engine to find out more ("Google it")
2. Talk with friends or family who own the jewelry or bought from that jeweler
3. Compare prices between online product catalogs between local jewelers and e-tailers
4. Visited the jewelry designer's website for more information
5. Read product reviews on e-tailer websites for similar products (BlueNile, Amazon)
6. Visited the website for a local jeweler for more information
7. Read blog posts about the jewelry
8. Visited the jewelry designer and/or local jeweler's social network (Facebook, Google+, or Twitter)
These 8 actions are shown in order based on a Google survey from April 2011. I suspect that the order might have changed a little since I'm writing this Nugget two years later. Specifically, I expect that reading blog posts is higher on the list, and I expect that engagements on social network have moved up at least 1 step.
Speaking of social networks, this ZMOT list provides a hint of why most social activity doesn't bring business. Are you spending money trying to engage socially with new clients? This list seems to indicate that your social budget should be small in comparison to your search engine optimization budget.
Google published the eBook Winning the Zero Moment of Truth which goes in depth about how to position your business to take advantage of ZMOT. In generic terms that eBook provides more details about the above 8 ZMOT Actions.
To better assist the retail jeweler I've rewritten those 8 ZMOT Actions with specific examples as they apply to the jewelry industry. I'll present those to you in tomorrow's Daily Golden Nugget...