Recognizing and accepting that the purchase journey has permanently changed is a business’ first step toward drawing a new map for future marketing efforts.

In traditional advertising, we talk about the “buyer’s journey”. This journey included two “moments of truth” where consumers would decide about a brand, and the advertiser would find out if all the magazine spreads and TV commercials paid off.

The first moment came at the time of purchase, a customer would be at the shelf and making a decision. Would they remember your jingle? Would that be enough to get them to spend their hard-earned cash on your brand of laundry soap?

The second moment came as the customer used the product and decided if they were going to be loyal to that brand.

The “Zero Moment of Truth”

Thanks to the internet, things have definitely changed. In 2011, Google started talking about the Zero Moment of Truth, or ZMOT. This newly created moment of truth came before the two moments defined by classic advertising. Google didn’t invent or create it, they just named it and started making money with search ads. Because of the internet and because consumers added a new step in their journey, brands got a new opportunity to reach customers.

This opportunity has become incredibly effective. Before, advertisers had to hope that consumers would remember their jingle or witty billboard at the time of your purchase—and they had no idea when that would be. With ZMOT, brands now know you’re searching for them. Not only that, but they’ll tag your browser with a cookie and follow you to every last site you visit showing you an ad for that fishing pole you just looked at.

The “Moment of Expression”

But things have changed again. The buyer’s journey now includes ANOTHER moment. It comes before they may even start to shop! Now, customers publicly declare the events in their lives in such a way that savvy brands are using that information to reach folks before they even search.

Using the Moment of Expression for beating Google


We call this the Moment of Expression. Like ZMOT, we didn’t invent it, it’s a consequence of the way we interact and use social media. Sure, this moment probably existed before the internet, but brands didn’t have access to it, really no one did. Grandpa probably said: “This piece of junk car!” and the number of people who heard him would’ve been a handful, at most.

Social media and society’s need to share everything changes the game. Now, we have that same moment Grandpa had, but we jump on Facebook or Twitter and blast out to the world “My car is a beater!” or “I’m tired of my car breaking down!” Sometimes it’s a specific expression asking for help, often it’s a generic complaint (hey, we all do it).

The point is that this semi-public announcement gives brands a chance to find and engage these potential shoppers before they even start a search. 

Using the moment of expression for “beating Google”

Google’s whole point in defining and talking about the ZMOT is to convince folks to buy their ads. And hey, they work! But what if you could, as a brand, reach customers before they search? Before the “ZMOT”? When you can access and leverage this moment of expression, you can do just that.

Let’s go back to the car example. Someone on Twitter says “My car just broke down again, I don’t have time for this!” A smart car brand or dealership could take advantage and offer a test drive right at this moment! The individual with the broken-down car hasn’t even started researching yet. You wouldn’t have reached them with a search ad or display ad yet. They may have seen your billboards or heard your radio ads, but that wasn’t a time when they needed a car, so it just went right by.

But now they need a car. Now they’re ready to hear what you have to say. It’s the perfect moment for you to offer help and connect. You have an opportunity to get in there and make an impression. Will you ever really “beat Google”? Probably not, it’s Google. But you can take advantage of this new moment and make an impact with your target market.

Want to learn more? Contact us today and see how we’re using hybrid AI to identify and engage our clients’ markets.

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