Zero Moment of Truth: key to digital marketing

| By Pilar Araya, Founding Partner B12

The internet has changed radically the way people shop. Fifteen-twenty years ago, it was predominantly the monopoly of audiences, where a few media companies could reach large audiences and only a few brands had the possibility of reaching those media companies. But: the few brands that could afford this luxury couldn’t always do it either because the costs were very high. Consequently, brands had few opportunities to convince a customer. Therefore, there was a very limited relationship with customers. Additionally, there was very little information available to customers.


Marketing of the past: it only planted a seed

Before the Internet, the marketing team was concerned with creating a stimulus, such as an advertisement on television, to awaken a kind of concern in the customer. In other words, marketing only planted a seed and the sales team took care of the rest, such as problem recognition, solution consideration, and purchase evaluation.

In this way, companies created advertisements to create stimuli and sellers guided. If the seller’s guidance was good, the purchase decision came and then the income.

Before the internet the marketing model worked like this:


Stimulus  ➡️ First Moment of Truth  ➡️ Second Moment of Truth


This model meant that people were exposed to a stimulus (e.g. TV advertisement) and if it was good they arrived at the first moment of truth, that is, at the point of sale. If the product convinced them, they bought and then moved on to the second moment of truth, referring to the experience of using the product.


Zero Moment of Truth


However, the Internet completely modified this model and the way customers buy, due to the proliferation of a key element of current marketing: the Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT).

It is a concept that comes after the initial stimulus (advertisement, recommendation from a friend, etc.). The Zero Moment of Truth or the ZMOT is when the person decides to search the Internet for thousands of questions and information related to a product or service they want to purchase, before moving on to the First Moment of Truth, that is, before buying the product or service.


Stimulus  ➡️ Zero Moment of Truth ➡️ First Moment of Truth


Exploration and evaluation


In 2020, Google released a purchasing behavior study in which a huge number of consumers participated and, in fact, it is probably the largest consumer study in history.

They studied how people bought and researched on the Internet and came to the conclusion that the purchasing process is a kind of swarm full of twists and turns where there are many ruminations, people do many searches before making the decision to buy something.

Google tried to simplify this “swarm” and came to the conclusion that there are two key moments in this purchasing process:


– Moment of exploration: where people are open to all possibilities, explore all brands, ask questions, etc.

– Evaluation: We limit everything we consult to a few actions and if we find the correct stimuli we will make the purchase decision.



Keys to Digital Marketing

The new scenario imposed by the internet eliminated the monopoly of audiences and new conditions appear for marketing teams:


  1. Nowadays any person or medium has the ability to build audiences. That is, there is no longer dependence on a large media outlet.
  2. Brands no longer depend on advertising in large media to advertise to these audiences. This is an absolute change in the way brands and people relate.
  3. The purchasing journey lasts much longer because there is more information available
  4. There is more information available than a consumer can consume

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