Thursday, January 26, 2012

MOT (the Moment of Truth)

I am a student of consumerism, especially as it relates to impulse purchasing. I will have the opportunity to share my ideas on this subject at numerous conferences throughout the year. Consequently I have been doing my homework. Today I would like to post about MOT (the Moment of Truth).

Read On:
America’s purchasing decision process is morphing. The traditional model first surfaced back in 2005 when Proctor & Gamble identified three steps:

1.) Stimulus – First consumers are exposed to some form of advertising about a product via TV, print, direct mail, etc. During this first step, occasionally coupons came into play. In addition, smart shoppers also relied on printed reviews (e.g., Consumer Reports).

2.) FMOT – The First Moment of Truth is when the consumer is actually in-store ready to purchase a product. They are influenced by numerous factors – packaging, pricing, shelf marketing (e.g., product positioning at eye level vs. top or bottom, instant promotions, pushy sales associates, etc.).

3.) SMOT – The Second Moment of Truth occurs when the consumer actually uses the product and either has a positive or negative experience.

Great brands according to the marketing gurus at Proctor & Gamble consistently win the first two moments of truth.

Flash forward to 2012. Thanks to the collaborative tools of Web 2.0, consumers now have an influential voice, they are actively engaging online. A fourth step has now been added to the model. Google has titled this fourth step as ZMOT, the Zero Moment of Truth. People are sharing their experiences online and influencing consumer purchasing decisions. So now we are stimulated, then we conduct our fair share of online research (ZMOT) before we buy. Sounds confusing? Not so! Google conducted a study back in April, 2011. They revealed that 70% of Americans look at product reviews before they buy; 79% of consumers indicated they use their smartphones to assist with shopping. When I put the two findings together, my take is our mobile devices will become MOT (the Moment of Truth) accelerators. This will open a huge window of opportunity for savvy marketers to capitalize on intercept marketing strategies, a topic for a future post.

What is your MOT when you shop?


  1. Jim, very relevant and the timing is perfect. Mobile devices have accelerated the ZMOT concept, gone are the days where decisions are made at the shelf. Retailers, marketers and the like need to accept this and make the change or get left behind.

  2. Quite true, Jim. Well written and interesting post. I would add that in the FMOT, that coupons became a huge factor, later followed by end-aisle displays and BOGO offers. Coupons and discounts are still a factor, tho often delivered on the web or via mobile. Once proximity push technology is implemented, virtually all the classic marketing tools will be extinct.

  3. Right on. So funny you published this because this week I discussed in class the consumer buying process: Problem recognition (not always the case), awareness, interest, knowledge, conviction, action/decision. That hasn't changed. What has changed is consumer access to information which impacts every stage. Marketers need to provide the right information at each stage regardless of where the consumer is accessing the info.

    For instance, a pet peeve of mine is a call to action of a discount at the early stages. That isn't necessarily the right message or tactic early in the cycle.