Marketers: Winning the Mobile Consumer Is All About The 'Zero Moment of Truth'

A Key Moment That Determines Whether You Win Or Lose the Mobile Shopper

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Today's digital detectives have their first encounter with a product, and quickly form an opinion about it, after seeking out online ratings , peer reviews, videos, photos or in-depth product details about a potential purchase. This moment is the Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT) for marketers.

You've probably witnessed a number of these moments: a man taking a photo of a product on his mobile phone in a store aisle in an effort to learn more about it, a woman scanning a QR or UPC code with her smartphone to quickly access information about a potential purchase, your spouse reading product reviews before heading out to shop, or your sister searching for the hottest toys for her favorite niece and nephew.

All of this points to the fact that the ZMOT approach to decision-making is part of the consumer zeitgeist. It's changing the way buying decisions are made and is a pivotal moment in time for marketers, who need to rethink the way in which they engage with these savvy shoppers, and the timeframe in which they do so, or lose mind and market share to their competition.

While this mind shift is no small task for marketers long used to people having their first encounter with a product -- their First Moment of Truth -- and deciding whether or not to buy it or walk farther down the aisle in search of an alternative inside a physical store, the reality is that the average shopper today uses more than 10 sources before making buying decisions.

With that in mind, and with the holiday shopping season drawing to a close, we've come up with three observations about consumer behavior that will impact the next few shopping weeks and beyond -- and some easy-to-implement recommendations for marketers eager to connect with shoppers. So here we go: 3, 2, 1...Zero.

Most consumers are undecided
In the Google and Ipsos OTX Consumer Intentions Survey for Holiday 2011 for Holiday 2011, 67% of holiday buyers said they planned to shop around for gift ideas. 61% did not begin the season with specific brands in mind and 70% were not tied to a particular brand or retailer.

Help them find you first
As Woody Allen once said, showing up is 80% of success in life. Make sure you're there when people look for gift ideas, and when they search for your category on video sites and search engines. Take five minutes right now to make sure this happens. Right now! Because if these undecided shoppers can't find you at these Zero Moments, you've just abdicated your voice in the decision-making process.

Consumers' research matters
82% of Holiday shoppers told us digital will impact their choice of retailer, 79% said digital will impact their choice of brand and 77% said digital will influence the type of gift they ultimately buy.

Help them pick you
Holiday shoppers are motivated to get the most value for each dollar they spend. So know how you fare on those two counts and make sure reviews, and feature and price comparisons for your products – which are more important than ever – aren't as hard to find as the proverbial needle in a haystack.

Laptops, and smartphones, and tablets (oh my!)
Shoppers research and shop on more screens (and screen sizes!) than ever. At the outset of the holiday shopping season, 68% of smartphone users planned to use their phones for online or online-to-store shopping, and 82% of tablet users planned to use their devices to do the same – and we predicted that more than 40% of last minute gifts and store locator terms would be from mobile devices, based on historical growth rates.

Jim Lecinski leads Google's advertising business nationally, focusing on major marketers and media agency partners in the consumer packaged goods, healthcare, education, restaurant, and local markets industry verticals. He previously held leadership positions at ad agencies DDB, marchFirst, Young & Rubicam, and EuroRSCG.
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