In 2011, Google hired an Atlanta service to conduct a poll to determine how people in America make purchase selections. The poll covered 11 different product categories, from automobiles to restaurants. Five thousand shoppers were interviewed and with this information, Jim Lecinski, Google’s vice president of U.S. Sales and Service, wrote the book ZMOT.
ZMOT stands for “zero moment of truth” and indicates when a shopper goes to a computer or smartphone and starts looking for information on a product. The shopper has made the decision to select a product but is not sure which to select. For instance, picture the office manager at her desk, deciding it’s time for a new printer but unsure which machine to buy, what type of machine, and the best place to purchase it.
According to the study, 84 percent of shoppers are ZMOT shoppers: they look for information online before making a decision. Based on these findings, Google and other search engines have taken steps to improve the quality of their search results.
For content marketing advocates like myself, what is most interesting and important about these findings is that they show that shoppers are putting more and more emphasis on reading quality content before they make a product selection. They are going beyond a store or manufacturer’s Web site looking for information, aware that those sources are sales focused and may not be credible. Companies that provide their own credible content can transcend this stereotype and will be listed higher in search results. It is just one more way quality content leads to readership, which leads to relationships with consumers, which leads to sales.
By Robert Kravitz