Posted June 30, 2011 7:03 am by with 2 comments

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Google’s talk about marketing’s concept of the zero moment of truth for consumers which occurs between the time that they first see an ad for a product (the stimulus) and when they purchase is not new to the company but how they are talking about it is. In a nutshell it’s the product research phase. This moment is a redefinition of the more traditional first moment of truth model to fit the Internet age we live in.

OK, so not exactly groundbreaking in theory but Google is handling this idea differently than they have others. In fact, aside from the usual video treatment below they have produced an ebook (PDF) full of research for marketers to support this idea. In other words, Google is now playing the research as PR game. Oh happy day.

There are plenty of statistics essentially supporting the section of the product decision timeline where Google lives. Once again, it’s not so much the theory (although it is a good effort to more clearly define what we already see happening in modern marketing) that is interesting but rather Google’s treatment of it. Google does not usually produce ebooks that are distributed as research which are, in reality, marketing pieces. Imagine that: Google is getting into the marketing game.

In the Google Agency blog we are told:

Growth in everything from review queries and coupon redemption to mobile usage strongly indicate that this phenomenon is real. But what we wondered is, what does this phenomenon mean for marketers? To find out, we spent a lot of time talking to industry experts and leading-edge marketers, and conducting primary market research, to learn as much as we can about ZMOT (“zee-mot”).

One thing of note. Google recognizes in this material the true value of the social layer in this zero moment of truth. Just that acknowledgement alone can go a long way why Google+ is something Google feels it needs to keep control of this critical phase of the consumer buying cycle.

I do recommend that marketers check out the ebook. There is a lot of information in it that will serve as a reminder to you or will possibly put some additional meat on a theory or idea that you know to be true in your gut but has not been put in this kind of research.

Don’t expect to be blown away by the ‘newness’ of the research but expect to start to wonder what else Google could be providing research for in the future that might actually help marketers. It’s a brave new world for Google to be reaching out like this rather than just assuming everyone will come to them. In a way, they are defining their own zero moment of truth about how people decide to market in the modern age.

This could get interesting.

  • Just a note – I skimmed the ebook and it’s directed much more at B2C, not B2B or lead gen or anything like that. So it’s a little less useful for me because of the field I’m on. Still worth a look though – they do a nice job fleshing out the concept of where online research fits into the buying cycle.

  • I think the owners of the (failing) business I work out would be very angry if presented with any of this information. I plan to use it in my personal ventures, however. Thank you for bringing it to our attention.