FMOT & ZMOT: Learning How Customer’s Decide to Buy

The First Moment of Truth

When you are grocery shopping and you need to grab a can of peas, what makes you choose which can to grab?
All of the cans are in front of you, several different brands trying to entice you, yet you seem to easily make a decision on which one to buy. That moment, when you are staring at a wall of the same products and decide to reach for a particular one, is called the First Moment of Truth (or FMOT) in advertising.

Procter & Gamble Co. determined when a customer arrives at the First Moment of Truth, they typically make their decision within 3-7 seconds. Within those precious few seconds we have our best shot at converting a browser to a buyer, or converting our competition’s customers into our customers. That means all of our labels, marketing, and design effort needs to use that small window to appeal to what drives our customers to purchase.
Competition is fierce in most industries nowadays. Customers have higher and higher expectations for businesses, and trust needs to be established early to help yourself stand out in the marketplace. Powerful, relevant branding allows your business to immediately develop trust and encourage the sale to the customer.

But I’m Not Selling Canned Peas…

Obviously, it’s probably fair to guess most of our readers here aren’t selling canned goods. Maybe your product doesn’t compete in a straightforward marketplace with your competition like a grocery store shelf. This is 2019 after all – when you are looking to purchase most things, you probably Google it first.
This is where Google (or your search engine of choice) comes in.

ZMOT – Zero Moment of Truth

Google jumped onto Procter & Gamble’s study to further examine how the consumer usually makes purchase decisions nowadays, and realized most consumers search for their product or service online before any purchase. Since this comes before that grocery store moment in the FMOT we mentioned before, Google termed this the Zero Moment of Truth.

Sometimes people want to know more about the product or service they are thinking about buying, sometimes they want to see how to do it themselves if they can, or sometimes people just search online for the closest location to buy it. At all of these points, the same truths we discussed in the First Moment of Truth apply:

  • We only have 3-7 seconds before a customer makes their decision.
  • We need to build trust in the eyes of the customer that we can deliver what we promise.
  • We need to appeal to what drives the decision for this product or service.

As we discussed in our Neuromarketing post not long ago – customer’s make this decision almost immediately upon seeing your logo or website.

Why Does This Matter?

It can be hard to understand all of this – it can sound very theoretical and not actually relevant to business. But if you’ve ever had a customer say something like, “I just like (your competitor) better, I don’t know why” or “I wish these guys had a bigger following – they do great work, I don’t get why more people don’t want to work with them”, then your branding might be a concern and is actually costing you business.
Maybe you’ve noticed yourself make the choice between 2 products before – and not known why you’ve chosen 1 over the other. Take some time next time to consider why you choose one.
When considering a brand for your business, print or digital marketing of any sort, you need to consider how this will look for new customers. Take some time to read our post on some actionable steps to focus your brand on this initial point of contact with a customer.

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