Google’s Zero Moment of Truth – and why “I heart logistics” was a hit.

At the recent BMA-NJ meeting, Google’s Zero Moment of Truth concept was explained by Desmonique Bonet, Head of Industry for B2B at Google. In an engaging and entertaining presentation, Desmonique talked about the changing dynamics of how our customers research products, before even interacting with the brand directly.

Brands make billions of impressions online every day – 2.4B online conversations mention a brand every day, with an average of 1.4 brand impressions per conversation. Google research has shown that 45% of B2B customers go online before making purchases (compared to 78% of all US internet users), and 32% of internet users have posted product reviews or comments online.

Procter and Gamble originally  identified the concept of “First Moment of Truth”, as that point when a shopper is looking at your item on a store shelf, and decides to make a purchase. They built a marketing philosophy around maximizing their impact at this moment.

Now Google, in conjunction with partners such as P&G and GE, have focused in on the “Zero Moment of Truth” (ZMOT). Traditionally, someone saw a Stimulus (print ad, TV commercial etc) , then went to the store to find out more and possibly purchase. But now, the first instinct is more likely to be a web-search after seeing the stimulus – looking for product reviews, opinions pricing and competitor info. So your brand needs to be visible when your customer first searches the web.

Google reports that search volume has grown 109% for the Travel industry and 104% for the Finance industry since 2009, with similar numbers across most major categories. Add to this the fact that 1 in 4 B2B purchasers have used a mobile phone to research a product (compared to 1 in 8 when buying shoes!) and that 36% of US consumers use a smartphone to make a purchase, and it’s clear that your web presence is critical to your success.

One of the critical elements to success is ensuring that you can be found with the search terms that your customers are using. Desmonique used the example of UPS who optimized their research for the words “I heart logistics” as a tie-in to their recent ad campaign. She recommended the use of the Google Insights tools to determine the most effective search phrases for your product, and also highlighted it’s capability to track trends. For example, a graph of “cloud computing” shows a spike in 2008 as the concept became a hot topic.

Desmoniqe concluded the discussion with an overview of Google+, and the potential to influence larger circles of customers through peer recommendations.

You can download a free copy of Google’s eBook “Zero Moment of Truth” here.

BMA-NJ continues the exploration of online marketing with Paul Gillin’s “Creating a Social Business for B2B Companies” on Wednesday November 9th.

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