Google's 'Zero Moment Of Truth' And Five Ps Of Digital Marketing


Packaging creates awareness. Companies can offer a variety or great services, but if marketers don't know how to use them or can't see the benefits, those tools might as well not exist. Search marketers especially know this. So, when Google decided it wanted to bring some awareness to a variety of its tools, expert marketers for the tech company created the "zero moment of truth" and the five Ps of digital marketing. Brilliant.

The new analysis identifies the role online search contributes to the decision-making process as the "zero moment of truth" (ZMOT). Jennifer Howard, who leads Google's B2B market group, walked through a framework using the five Ps of digital marketing -- not to be confused with the 4Ps of marketing -- during a Webinar.  Those Ps are  Plus, Pace, Precision, Performance, and Participation.

Providing a little background, Howard tell us Procter & Gamble originally coined the phrase "the first moment of truth" to describe the first few seconds consumers spend in a store aisle. That's when a marketer has the most influence to convince a customer to choose a brand.

The first moment online looks much different. It might happen well before the buyer turns on the computer and opens a browser window. New behavior drives search activity because the Internet continues to change our perception on how we view content. Video ads have become entertainment in some instances, and the shaky economy continues to transform those who spend into more thoughtful shoppers, including those in business.

There has been a 79% increase in query volume for B2B terms during the last two year, according to Howard. The ZMOT takes advantage of that online research by influencing  buyers even before the first moment they begin to research the product or service through a search engine. But with online marketing, marketers have an opportunity to stay with the consumer all along the purchase path as they consume content, watch videos and participate in forums.

B2B search has reached an all time high in the past year, Howard says. About 62% of business buyers now spend more time researching product and services online than they did  prior to the recession. But keeping those customers prove more difficult. In fact, 25% of business buyers say they are more likely to change vendors now than before the downturn.

Online search also influences who in the business looks for what and when. The availability of information online now prompts more C-Suite executives to conduct work-related searches. In fact, 65% of t C-Suite executives conduct six or more work-related searches daily. About 99% of small-business owners use the Internet for research and cite it as the most effective tool to find suppliers, as well as 100% of policy influencers.

Online research doesn't mean only through traditional search engines, but also on YouTube, Facebook and other social sites like forums and LinkedIn. Citing the PowerReivews 2010 Social Shopping Study, Howard notes that 41% of survey participants looked at between four and seven reviews on forums and social sites prior to making a business decision. Watching product videos and demos on YouTube has become popular.

Each "P" ties into a Google ZMOT service. Pulse promotes active listening and staying attuned to insights about customers, categories, brands, competitors. Marketers need to understand what customers care about and when their needs and interests change. Howard says Google Insights for Search is a tool that might help marketers keep tabs on changes.

Precision means a marketer might have a valuable message and must ensure it gets delivered at the right time and the right place, whether consumers are searching the Web, PC or mobile device.

Betty Crocker launched a widget. Kraft  built and launched one too, but by the time Kraft had built a better, more sophisticated widget six months later, Betty Crocker already had 82,000 loyal users. Kraft ended up with 10,000 users.

Plan for change because the speed in which the campaign launches proves critical. Connect with users at moments of relevance when people are looking for information directly related to the product or service that you offer. About one out of three mobile searches have local intent. It's about being present every step of the way through the marketing funnel.

Marketers not able to make a change within 24 hours when a critical problem occurs really need to think why not, Howard says. "Once the audience decides that they will steer clear of your brand, if your voice is not there to be heard, than everyone else's will be," she says. If it takes three to four days to respond to bad press, it's likely too late.

So, marketing must participate. Participation creates conversations with customers via social media platforms and rich media ad formats, to give users greater access and join the conversation. Integrate social strategy across multiple platforms.

Performance needs to improve. Expectations for results are higher than ever. Drive efficiency by choosing accountable, measurable media and by leveraging reporting tools and optimization strategies.

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