Convincing a person to buy from you is often compared to convincing someone to marry you.

While this comparison may seem a little extreme, the human decision making in the process to decide which brands you purchase from and which person you decide to get hitched to is reminiscent.

Unless a person is a participant in the dreadful TV show ‘Married at first sight’ or is involved in an arranged marriage situation – they won’t tend to move from initiation to vow in one fell swoop.

Most people do not sign upon the dotted marriage certificate line until they have gone through the motions of:

1. Being introduced to you

2. Getting to know you

3. Getting to like you (then love you)

4. Getting to trust that you will be a sound choice in lifelong partner

Most people can relate to that process when described in the concept of friend / lover relationships.

Which is handy because it’s a process that you have to apply to convincing people to buy from you.

In 2011, Google studied 5,000 shoppers to determine where shoppers switch from undecided to decided.

This study resulted in an extension to the traditional 3-step marketing mental model of stimulus, Point-of-sale & Experience which can be summarised as follow:

Step 1 – Stimulus – consumer sees your advertisement.

This advertisement may be on Facebook, TV, in a print publication, on a billboard – wherever. This is where prospects are introduced to you. Yes, love at first site is possible. But it’s also pretty rare.

Step 2 – Point of Sale – consumer sees advertised product at shop / office wherever product / service is sold.

This step is defined as the ‘First moment of truth’, because it’s the first time the consumer comes into contact and purchases your product.

This is where your prospect starts to get to know you.

Step 3 – Experience – consumer uses your product or service.

It’s crunch time. This is the ‘Second moment of truth’ and this moment will determine if this person ever buys from you again as well as what they tell other people about it.

Like, love, raving fan or indifference and disappointment will generally occur here.

That was the original mental marketing process. But just like a lot in the world of marketing, it now looks a little different…

Google’s 2011 shopper study revealed that an extra step between ‘Stimulus’ and ‘Point of Sale’ now exists as consumer’s head online to read customer reviews, comparison shop, looks for deals etc.

This extra step is known as the ‘Zero Moment of Truth’. In fact, Google found that people use on average of 10.4 sources of information before they will move to Point of Sale – the First moment of truth.

That’s 10.4 sources of information that will help them better understand what you can do for them. 10.4 sources that will help them get to know, like and trust you as a brand.

Think about your organisation. Now think about how many sources of information that you actually control are circulating out in the world wide web.

Your marketing & advertising will be one thing – that’s your stimulus – that’s step one in the process that people will have to go through.

But what about after they have been exposed to your stimulus. What content have you got out there ready to be discovered on Google?

Your website. Good start. But how informative and helpful are you on your website? How much info do you provide to your customers? How easy is your website to navigate? How current is your website? Does it tell people what makes your organisation different to the other websites that will inevitably appear in people’s Google search?

Know, like, trust. That’s what we are aiming for. Will potential customers get this from your website?

Ok, so what about other sources of information that a potential client could discover online? This could be in the form of online reviews, customer forums, social media channels (how good are videos on YouTube to provide super useful information?), blog posts, articles on industry sites. The list does really go on and on.

One person’s Zero Moment of Truth (research) is also a flow-on effect from another person’s Second Moment of Truth (experience) in the form of word-of-mouth marketing.

Word-of-mouth can happen offline as well as online. It’s just when it happens online it’s so, so much more prolific as online reviews or raves can be seen by hundreds of friends as opposed to just the 2-3 friends you speak to at the weekend BBQ.

Personally, I’m the laziest researcher ever. Whenever I need to move from unknown to undecided to decided in a purchase decision I throw out a question to my personal Facebook page. I recently made the decision to purchase the iPhone X purely because the majority of my FB friends convinced me this was the best option.

It helped that I knew, loved and trusted the apple brand already and had been exposed to multiple amounts of stimulus (and past product experience) before I made this commitment though.

And now I have had my second moment of truth with my iPhone X I am a raving fan. Just ask any of the many friends and family who have been encouraged to pose for summertime snaps captured beautifully by the portrait photography feature! #love


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