It was once thought a physical impossibility that a human being would ever run a mile in under four minutes. Yet following Roger Bannister’s achievement in 1954, sixteen runners went on to do the same thing in the next three years. It’s not that human evolution had suddenly taken a spring forward – it was just that there had been a change in mindset.
As there are still many dealer groups that feel they need to withhold certain information from their customers, I think it’s time that there was a similar ‘change in mindset’. I am also aware that I need to be able to evidence that there is a solid business case for doing so.
So today, I would like to ask you to do something for me. Just key the letters ZMOT (pronounced ‘Zee-mot’) into your search engine and soak up as much information as you possible can. Maybe unsurprisingly, the term has been coined by Google, and in my opinion highlights the continued impact of one of the biggest shifts in online consumer behaviour.
If you take your web strategy seriously then ZMOT is something that you cannot afford to ignore. It stands for Zero Moment of Truth, and it refers to that period of online consumer research that a customer undertakes prior to making contact with a seller.
Traditionally, there has been a three-step mental model of marketing:
First, the STIMULUS, where an advertisement for a car first attracts attention. Secondly, the FIRST MOMENT OF TRUTH, where the customer calls in to the showroom to look at the vehicle and goes on to buy the car. Finally, there is the SECOND MOMENT OF TRUTH, where the customer enjoys their new car.
The net has now added the ZMOT to this list. It slots neatly in between the Stimulus and the First Moment of Truth, and involves the customer going online to look at reviews for the car, or to find out more about customer service at your dealership. In more and more instances, the customer has actually made their buying decision BEFORE they arrive at the showroom. The cold facts are that online decision making is rocketing, yet many motor dealers are only spending a fraction of what they should be spending on online marketing.
Your online customers want to research, learn, explore, and then come to you ready to buy with confidence. By not giving them the ability to conduct this research in an effective manner then you will more than likely send them elsewhere.
And don’t forget that it is so easy for people to share how well (or badly) they have been informed by your website or business. So if you allow people to research their next purchase online, they will be more likely to tell people how helpful you were.
It is possible for you to make it easier for people to buy from you at the Zero Moment of Truth stage. You could incorporate customer ratings and testimonials for your business, or include proven functionality such as the integrated Codeweavers finance calculation and payment search services. Either way, the strategy of trying to withhold information from the web customer is looking a bit outdated and ineffective.