Op-Ed: The Moment of Truth for Digital Engagement Has Arrived

People aren’t seeking marketing copy, they’re seeking the experiences of others to humanize information and apply it to their state of mind, needs, and aspirations.

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In 2012, Google asserted that the Internet has changed how we decide what to buy. They call this online decision-making moment the Zero Moment of Truth — or simply ZMOT.

The book helps strategists, and small business owners alike, discover relevant strategies and tactics on how to show up at the right place, at the right time and with the right content in a digital ecosystem.

In a world where consumers “Google it” to begin their digital journey, ZMOT revealed that brands need to re-think the connected experience and resulting click path. But what happens when the websites that appear in traditional Google search results no longer suffice for someone so connected that impatience becomes a virtue?

This is, after all, someone who begins the journey on a smart phone or tablet tapping review sites and social networks to make information come to them before conducting formal research. Some call it the lazy web. Others refer to it as the social web. In the end, it’s just how people make information come to them. Once they do, it becomes the new normal.


Great ‘Online’ Expectations

Even though websites technically work on smaller screens thanks to adaptive and responsive design, they’re still websites. In the very least, they go against the very nature of how someone interacts with the screen and what it’s designed to make possible.

Here, it’s less about clicks and scrolls and more about pinching and swipes. That’s not all of course. The intention of a webpage is called into question, or should be, in a time of connected consumerism.

Step back and think about it for a moment. The content included on your company website isn’t written for you and me, it’s written for the person approving it. When you consider context, in addition to the screen, in the Zero Moment of Truth you learn that people aren’t seeking marketing copy, they’re seeking the experiences of others to humanize information and apply it to their state of mind, needs, and aspirations.

So, the truth unfolds.


Create Experiences in Every Moment of Truth

In my latest book, What’s the Future of Business, I introduced the Ultimate Moment of Truth (UMOT). This is a moment where people who convert an experience into discoverable content in any one of the countless social platforms people use to stay connected. In this connected economy, the UMOT becomes the next person’s ZMOT, over and over again.

In addition to websites, landing pages and corresponding SEO and SEM strategies, businesses now must consider how to create experiences in every moment of truth — those that aren’t just meaningful or remarkable, but also shareable. The future of your business now lies in how UMOT meets ZMOT throughout the customer life cycle. Marketers must begin to architect, foster and optimize positive experiences in each moment that’s native to each screen, efficient in steps, and tied to desirable outcomes.

When Google learned of my work around UMOT, they reached out to consider how me might work together to help marketers better connect the dots to enhance the ZMOT. Our first collaboration resulted in a free whitepaper, “Give Them Something to Talk About: Brian Solis on the Art of Engagement.” I’ve included some of the discussion below.


Give Them Something to Talk About

Excerpt from: Give Them Something to Talk About: Brian Solis on the Art of Engagement. Referenced with permission from Brian Solis.


First impressions matter. They matter to people and they especially matter to brands. At Google, we’ve taken a long look at how, increasingly, first impressions are formed online and have a big impact on what we decide to buy. We call this online decision making moment the “Zero Moment of Truth,” or ZMOT for short. In his latest book, What’s the Future of Business: Changing the Way Businesses Create Experiences, Brian Solis, a principal analyst at Altimeter Group builds further on ZMOT’s implications. He zeroes in on how consumers’ first impressions of a brand often come from fellow consumers sharing experiences online. The accumulation of these shared experiences, Solis says, means brands need to pay more attention than ever to customer experience, journeys, and the relationships they nurture.


What does engagement mean for you?

Engagement is really about Actions, Reactions and Transactions; something that I refer to as A.R.T. Engagement, for me, is something that locks in an interaction or exchange. Thinking about engagement in that way inspires a different approach for content creation; you want somebody to feel something, not just see it.


If you think about engagement in this way, is it measurable?

Absolutely. You define your desired outcome and that outcome becomes what you measure. It’s the relationship between cause and effect. Unfortunately, most marketers don’t consider the outcome to be more than some low-level engagement measure — a ‘Like’, a ‘Share,’ a comment — when in fact you could introduce an emotion. If you love something, you share it. This isn’t just about impressions; this is about expressions. You want people to share it and do something and that should be designed into your engagement strategy.


How can you enlist ‘shares’ to support a campaign objective?

No content should be designed today that isn’t inherently shareable. Take the Jeff Gordon Pepsi MAX commercial on YouTube. It comes from that same thinking that goes into Super Bowl commercials, where you stop and go, ‘Oh my god, that is the best commercial I’ve ever seen!’ For some reason marketers only get that creative once a year, but YouTube and the social web are unlocking that type of thinking. Everything you introduce to the social web should have the same caliber of creativity that goes into a Super Bowl commercial.

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