A vacation is a great chance to catch up on all that reading that you have been meaning to do. For many that’s fiction, poetry or political commentary, but whether it is an indictment of my workaholic nature or not, I am on a beach reading about local marketing and a great piece by Google called the Zero Moment of Truth. It’s wonderful white paper that talks about the influence of your online brand to every traditional touch point in the marketing models of the past 20 years. From advertising, to the traditional first moment of truth (seeing the product on the shelf or storefront as you pass by) to the second moment of truth (the customer experience with the product), the Internet holds tremendous influence over the purchasing cycle before these points.
In fact, consumer interaction on the Internet, the Zero moment of Truth, now exceeds interaction with the brand itself in selection, the first Moment of Truth. Take a look:
This should really turn your head, especially if you are a multi-unit retailer who is struggling with brand messaging on the fragmented list of local consumer touch points. The trend is only accelerating, with access and usage of mobile more than doubling every year, and local mobile advertising increasing over 20x in the next 4 years. Are you ready? Are you prepared when the majority of sources a consumer checks are not your website which you control? Do you have a strategy for managing, monitoring and then most importantly pushing out content across those channels so as to influence the zero moment of truth?
I also really liked their emphasis that your Internet presence spans far beyond your website. In fact, for local businesses we find that there is an order of magnitude more activity on third party sites like Google+, Yelp, Facebook, etc. than on their website – the average local business website gets just 200 visits per month. I particularly liked this quote:
“You’d never set up a corporate 1-800 number with nobody to answer the phone. (Would you?) You wouldn’t build one and just let it ring.
The Internet is that 1-800 number, and it’s been set up for you even though you didn’t ask for it.”
So many local businesses from single location to multi-unit have failed to “answer the phone” by even filling out the basic brand information on sites like Yelp, Google+, Facebook, etc. (costing them 5-10x conversion) let alone pushing out messaging proactively to tell their story. Other studies have a similar correlation that content marketing does 60% of the selling for you.
And it’s level of relevancy is high across the board.
Using Content Marketing to Influence the Zero Moment of Truth
The numbers are extremely compelling. Now what? What can the large multi-unit enterprise do or the SMB? It’s really about a lot of the same tactics, although there are different issues about achieving them at the scale of large enterprise in brand control and organizational responsibility and delegation. But here is a simple roadmap of things you need to start doing now:
- Setup a social listening platform to understand what your customers are saying (Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, etc.) and respond to them. You wouldn’t walk away from a comment at your counter would you? Don’t do it online.
- Optimize all the local customer touchpoints (Yelp, Google+, YP, Yahoo, Bing, etc.) with your brand message. Turn them into assets you control and can use for distribution.
- Understand what your consumers are searching for and optimize to show up for them. Note: local tactics differ from traditional SEO
- Start producing content your consumers are looking for (events, announcements, brand stories, deals) and syndicate them across as many channels as you can (email, social, local publishers, mobile, etc.). Report on what content hits and drives brand value.
The Zero Moment of Truth is within your influence with the right tactics. It’s what our platform is about. Getting your message out there. Starting conversations online and encouraging the type of discourse that makes your brand stand out. That requires a mix of features, functions and a whole lot of insight. But given The Zero Moment of Truth’s influence on your customers, can you afford to wait until 2014? Can you afford to wait until tomorrow?