Zero moment of truth

The zero moment of truth

Do you know at what stage in the sales and buying cycle your customers make a purchase decision?

As products become more complex and choice becomes greater, consumers turn to the internet for guidance and assistance when making a purchase decision. On the internet they have up to date, on demand access to knowledge that can help them make a purchase decision no matter what the product or need for service is.

Before the internet became the number 1 choice for consumers to find knowledge in 2005 Procter and Gamble developed the now well used phrase “First Moment Of Truth” which is known in marketing circles as FMOT.

FMOT is used to define the very first interaction a consumer (shopper) has with a product on a stores shelf, this used to be the most important marketing opportunity for a brand (and still is a important factor in many ways) as shoppers make a purchase decision within seconds of viewing a product, upon seeing a product on a shelf for the very first time.

FMOT is still an important marketing factor, however with the consumer adoption of the internet and a rising use of search engine use and review sites means that the majority of first time interactions between a product and consumer happen way before they see it on a shelf. This new FMOT is called the “Zero Moment of Truth” or ZMOT.

Never before has it been this important to have sterling online reputation management, consumers flock to review sites, blogs and social media in the quest to make a happy purchase decision.

Below are a list of traditional FMOT vs ZMOT examples which will show just how the internet and ZMOT has changed consumer behaviour forvever.

A consumer wants to buy some biscuits with specific ingredients.

FMOT: A consumer would visit a store, locate the products on the shelf, pick up the products and view the recipes on the back, they would then purchase the product that suits their requirements

ZMOT: A consumer simply visits the internet and researches within seconds the biscuit recipe required and reads 3rd party reviews in advance of buying the product off the shelf or ordering online.

Choosing a restaurant and meal

FMOT: Consumers walked past restaurants and scoured the menu on the spot to decide if to go inside and order.

ZMOT: Consumers go online to research their options, looking at reviews and menus before deciding where to book.

Local events

FMOT: Consumers found out about a local promotional event via stumbling upon it, or by seeing a flier posted in the neighbourhood.

ZMOT: Consumers become aware of these events in advance either through e-mail newsletters, social networks and word of mouth online, or by following brands on sites like Twitter. Not only that, but they can tell hundreds of their friends and family all about it in real time with one quick social networking status post.


FMOT: Consumers waited with eager anticipation for delivery of their monthly beauty magazine, in order to learn about the current or next season’s hot looks.

ZMOT: Consumers are going online to find inspiration and up to minute information for their for their own individual looks, and to get tips and tricks from experts. They will be fans of brands on social networking sites, read reviews and independent blogs and could be influenced by a favourite celebrity that they follow on Twitter.

What are your zero moment of truth touch points? Is it via a company search, what do your reviews say about your business or products?