Author: keithbrown

25 ZMOT Quotes: Winning the Zero Moment of Truth

Quotes from Google ZMOT Zero Moment of Truth
Some of my favorite quotes and sayings from Google’s ZMOT (Zero Moment of Truth) literature. What is the Zero Moment of Truth?

“It’s a new decision-making moment that takes place a hundred million times a day on mobile phones, laptops and wire devices of all kinds. It’s a moment where marketing happens, where information happens, and where consumers make choices that affect the success and failure of nearly every brand in the world.”

25 ZMOT (Zero Moment of Truth) Quotes

1. I believe consumers will tell us what they want and need in their lives, if only we will listen anew every day.

2. It’s up to us to join the conversation at this new moment where decisions are being made, and to provide the information that shoppers naturally crave, in all the ways that they crave it.

3. If you care about helping shoppers explore, dream and find what they’re looking for – in short, if you’re passionate about the future of marketing.

4. When consumers hear about a product today, their first reaction is ‘Let me search online for it.’ And so they go on journey of discovery: about a product, a service, an issue, an opportunity. Today you are not behind your competition. You are not behind the technology. You are behind your consumer.

5. ZMOT is that moment when you grab your laptop, mobile phone or some other wired device and start learning about a product or service (or potential boyfriend) you’re thinking about trying or buying.

6. 70% of Americans now say they look at product reviews before making a purchase, 79% of consumers now say they use a smart-phone to help with shopping, and 83% of moms say they do online research after seeing TV commercials for products that interest them.

7. The best brands consistently win two moments of truth. The first moment occurs at the store shelf, when a consumer decides whether to buy one brand or another. The second occurs at home, when they use the brand – and is delighted, or isn’t.

8. It’s the power to help shoppers make great decisions and to help companies tell their stories at the moment of highest impact.

9. ZMOT turns small wins into huge ones – and potentially big wins into letdowns – millions of times a day, around the clock.

10. The buying decision journey has changed. ZMOT is a vital new addition to the classic three-step process of stimulus, shelf, experience.

11. What was once a message is now a conversation. Shoppers today find and share their own information about products, in their own way, on their own time.

12. Word of mouth is stronger than ever. For the first time in human history, word of mouth is a digitally archived medium.

13. No MOT is too small. If consumers will do research online for houses and health care, they’ll also do it for Band-Aids and ballpoint pens.

14. Engagement with the customer today isn’t just pouring a message down on their head and hoping they get wet.

15. Dad still watches football and he still sees your TV commercial. But now he grabs his laptop off the coffee table and searches for “digital camera reviews”. Before the game ends – and before he gets to the store shelf – he’s ready to make decision.

16. American households now spend as much time online as they do watching TV. Yet in 2010, only about 15% of media ad budget money was spent online. Online decision-making is skyrocketing; online marketing budgets aren’t.

17. Change your marketing mental model to include ZMOT, and you stand to gain a very big competitive advantage. Because you’ll reach those millions of shoppers who are making decisions before they enter the store.

18. The average shopper used 10.4 sources of information to make a decision in 2011, up from 5.3 sources in 2010. Yes, that number nearly doubled in one year.

19. 84% of shoppers said that ZMOT shapes their decisions. It’s now just as important as stimulus (76%) and FMOT (77%) in moving consumers from undecided to decided.

20. That exception is now the rule. There are no barriers to access. Today’s shoppers carry access in their pockets. They create their own consumer guides a million times a minute with reviews, tweets, blogs, social network posts and videos for products of all kinds.

21. We’re entering a new era of reciprocity. We now have the engage people in a way that’s useful or helpful to their lives. The consumer is looking to satisfy their needs, and we have to be there to help them with that.

22. This is the new digital shelf. Consumers arrive there, 24 hours a day, ready to engage. They’re anybody’s to win or lose.

23. Shoppers don’t always move through a funnel, narrowing their choices as they go; at ZMOT, they can actually widen their choices. The more they learn, the more options they consider.

24. If you’re available at the Zero Moment of Truth, your customers will find you at the very moment they’re thinking about buying, and also when they’re thinking about thinking about buying.

25. There are two heroes: the consumer who does the research, and the marketer who is smart enough to be there at the moment the shopper is looking for them.

How to Stop Your Customers from Complaining Online

Upset customer
Over the years I have learned a great deal about reputation management and the anatomy of a customer complaint. And surprisingly enough, the problem of consumer filing complaints online is only getting worse.

Corporations keep growing, outsourcing customer service, and ignoring customer feedback. It seems to be unavoidable. So, how do you stop your customers from complaining online?

There are a ton of reputation management companies out there who “specialize” in all kinds of digital marketing and online marketing. Dealing with consumer complaints are big business for both consultants, customer service software, and 3rd party websites.

There are now dozens of online complaint sites including:

The bottom line is, almost all of the negative feedback and complaints against businesses are 100% preventable.

You can stop customers in their tracks from even thinking about going online to complain about your business. If you read between the lines, almost every complaint posted online follows a very similar pattern.

A customer is upset (usually at something very small), and the business ignores and agitates them to the point of no return. The point of “no return” is what I like to call the point at which a customer is so upset and frustrated with you that they’ll do anything to ease the pain.

I can’t emphasize this enough, customers don’t want to destroy your reputation online, they just want someone to listen to them and fix the problem.

With that in mind, I present for your consideration a nearly 900 word complaint submitted recently about a Target store in Jacksonville, Florida. This is a great example of a customer starting off with a minor problem, and the company slowly frustrating them so much the customer took to the Internet with their story.

I would argue, in my professional opinion, if at any point Target had just listened, justified, and comforted the customer, we’d never see this complaint live on the internet.

Here is where the complaint begins:

A Personal Complaint to Target in Jacksonville, Florida: On Monday Oct 10, 2011 I went into the Target on Beach Blvd in Jacksonville, Florida 32224. I went directly to the pharmacy and dropped off my prescription as usual and then went to pick up several additional items. I then went back to the pharmacy to pickup my prescription and pay for the items. The cashier came to the counter and starting to check me out she had totaled $97.00.

I then laid out a $100.00 for payment of said products, she then realizes that she had misses two additional items and added those, while this was going on another customer came up and she looked over her shoulder to inform the girl at the back pharmacy counter that she would take care of that customer as well and then my sale was completed, I then put out $3.00 more dollars to pay in full.

Customers complain about bad service because they have an expectation for good service. Notice the expectation instantly formed in the customers mind when the girl at the pharmacy counter verbally stated she would “take care of the customer”.

Here is more of the complaint:

That is were everything went crazy, she couldn’t find the $100.00 she looked into the bags, the register the floor and the patted herself down. Then looked at me and asked where did the money go, I then started looking and I gave her the benefit of the doubt and thought well maybe I accidentally picked it up in all the confusion. So people started to line up I then said let me go ahead and pay another $100.00 and we would get it settled and not hold up the line.

Wow! The customer see’s the line forming and offers to help out by paying AGAIN, so that other customers behind don’t get held up. In the case, the customer is already displaying more “customer service” than the business.

The custom then talks about the manager who tried to calm the situation down, but actually made it worse:

She then called in the supposing manager. The cashier explained her side I told her mine, and even explained to Jeanette that I would recount my monies since I just cashed my Social Security Check that I knew exactly how much I had in my wallet. If she could lend me a calculator I would check my balance.

At this point she starts telling the cash register is right there, and there is only $100.00 in the register and I stated that would be correct since I paid the balance, but where was the other $100.00 all of this going over her head. I then became so frazzled after her rudeness, unprofessional and downright bad attitude.

Nobody likes being called a liar, but sadly that’s what this manager is assuming. Instead of talking off the floor, or going somewhere more private, the manager has a conversation about money in a public place. By calling the customers integrity into question, a rational level headed person is now backed into a corner.

And still the rant goes on:

I reexplained to let me check like I said in the beginning I wasn’t sure what had happen. After being treated in this manner I just got so fed up with her attitude I told her what I thought about her demeanor and how unprofessional she was, because we were going nowhere. The cashier never came back to the register at all.

I feel that we both would had worked this out so much more effectively, I then left the store got into my car and called the store for the Target store in question to speak with the manager. The customer service representative answered I asked to speak to the store manager, and guess who comes on Jeanette the one and the same the same one that I had a problem in the store with.

Never allow personal feelings to escalate a customers complaints further. Always have a third party or alternate person ready to be a fresh face without preconceived opinions. Most people are just ready to vent at this point. So let them vent, and allow the cool down process to begin.

Here is where Target really starts to fail to address the problem:

I asked her if I could speak with the manager and she informed me she was it. Right! I asked for corporates number she then tried to apologize for all the confusion. To late for that one. In the meantime another person (Mike) came on the line I then asked him for the Target Corporate Office number.

He gave it to me, and then I asked who was the store manager he stated at first Jeanette, but he stumbled I knew then that she wasn’t it. I really knew all along she has couldn’t be it. No manager handles a situation the way she did. I then repeated my question who was the manager of the store he (Mike) then said Micah. So Jeanette totally misrepresented herself and her company.

Another key mistake that businesses make is trying to ignore the problem instead of addressing it. Most people aren’t buying a simple apology. They want your empathy, and to know you have the situation under control. Fumbling the ball at this point is costly, and just reinforces to the customer they need to continue to escalate this to get results.

Notice how at this point the customer even takes responsibility:

After reviewing all this I realized a few things. I took the responsibility of the cashier errors. She was the one that was distracted trying to multi-task and causing the confusion.There was other workers who were available and trying to work and she stopped them.

I then called the Corporate Office and explained what had happened. Ron words were this would be handled swiftly. I hope so. It seems in todays world when you try to handle a problem and is willing to work through something with someone like this cashier and all you want is to retrieve the items, the money that is owed to you without any problems.

I truly realize after this incident stores like Target just don’t care. I said to them I would never come back for anything.

This was a great place for (Ron) at the corporate office to make things right and win back the customer. Of course he probably thought by saying “he would handle it”, that everything would be OK.
Target corporate headquarters
But you can see that this simply wasn’t enough of a response for the customer. The level of response has to meet and exceed the level of frustration.

And here is where you finally lose the customer for good:

They have lots customers to fall back on but no accountability on the behalf. I stated to Ron that this was a major competitors move. Well I was wrong about that one, the competitors, I’ve never had this happen with them, so that is were I will take my business, monies, and purchase happily.

It only takes one negative experience to lose a customer for life. And today’s digital world, that lost customer can cost you thousands more customers if they take their complaint to the Internet.

The Good Company Culture vs. Bad Company Culture

facebook-culture-wall

I love to read lists of the best companies to work for each year. It is no secret what separates the good places to work from the great places to work. It is the classic battle of the good company culture vs. the bad company culture.

You don’t need a degree in HR to understand that the companies with strong cultures, led by level 5 leaders, are usually at the top of the list year after year.

“Happiness is really just about four things: perceived control, perceived progress, connectedness (number and depth of your relationships), and vision/meaning (being part of something bigger than yourself).” ― Tony Hsieh

Instead of working for a company, why not work for a culture? Instead of trying to build a company, why not birth a culture? So what if you go down swinging, in the long run we need more thriving corporate cultures not mediocre companies.

How do you define a thriving company culture? It’s group of people with not only the same behaviors and ideals, but the same core beliefs. These are fiercely competitive human beings who don’t mind battling side by side each day in the trenches. They work hard, they play hard.

google-company-culture-office-slide

When you create an organization based on shallow peripherals like work performance and contextual knowledge, you aren’t ensuring there is also a cultural fit. I love the Zappos interview process. One person interviews the candidate for technical savvy, the other for culture fit. If the candidate doesn’t ace both interviews, they don’t hire them, period.

A culture is formed by bringing together those with very similar core beliefs like passion, curiosity, trust, reciprocity, courage, dedication, integrity, and humility.

There are already enough obstacles to overcome in the competitive free market. Your culture should not be another challenge to overcome. So, the next time you consider joining a company ask yourself one question. Are you joining a good culture or are you joining a bad one?

A Review of WordPress WordAds vs. Google Adsense

WordAds-WordPress
WordPress announced WordAds today on their blog, and many people are already excited about the possibility of monetizing their blog for some easy cash.

There are plenty of ways currently to earn money off a blog, one of the more popular ones being by serving up Google Adsense advertisements for CPC (Cost per click) and CPM (cost per impression) revenue.

So, how does the new WordPress Ads match up to the Google alternative? Here is a recent quote from the WordPress blog, who say their new WordAds is actually far superior to Adsense:

We’ve resisted advertising so far because most of it we had seen wasn’t terribly tasteful, and it seemed like Google’s AdSense was the state-of-the-art, which was sad. You pour a lot of time and effort into your blog and you deserve better than AdSense.

Sounds great, but the bad news is WordAds won’t be open to everyone. Judging by the example websites given by WordPress, they are hunting for high traffic and high quality blogs. Of course we all think our websites are the best, but I doubt the moderators who approve applications for WordAds will agree with you.

Selection will be based on level of traffic and engagement, type of content, and language used on a blog.  Some blogs may not be accepted.

There’s a simple application form for anyone interested in taking part in the WordAds experiment, which is the same with Google. The only difference is that Google approves most people, while WordPress is likely to reject them. 

It’s interesting that WordPress would announce WordAds as a rival to AdSense, considering the program looks to be exclusive and through a partnership withFederated Media.

In a perfect world we’d all love to have 250,000 monthly pageviews to our blog, but that just isn’t a reality. For most people they have less than 100,000 monthly visitors, but still want to capitalize on that traffic. The droves of WordPress bloggers already excited about the possibilities don’t realize they would likely be rejected by WordAds.

Judging from the WordAds examples provided on other websites, it seems as though there will be very fewWordPress sites which would meet the standards set from the application process. 

Comparing this to the Adsense platform which is massive and represents a large number of sites seems a bit of a stretch at this point. It’s also hard to see WordPress competing with the level of volume and cookie based targeting that Google Adsense can offer.

I have tried a lot of ad platforms over the years, and to this day Adsense is still one of the best in terms of ease of use and ad targeting.

The best (and most important part) is that Google Adsense approves almost everyone every time you apply to serve advertising on a new blog. Within 10 minutes you can have targeted Ads ready to go with great options for colors, layouts, formatting, and channels.

Those are what I look for in a quick and dirty CPC/CPM ad platform, how about you? I have no problem with WordPress launching a new advertising platform, but don’t tout WordAds as an alternative, much less superior than Adsense quite yet.

Use Social Media During Everything (Even a Blizzard)

Oncor Twitter Page and Social Media Accounts

I was really impressed with the way the Oncor social media team handled themselves during the latest turn of events in north Texas. For those of you who don’t know, Oncor provides power to more than 7.5 million Texans, and they were really put to the test this past week. The temperature in Texas dove from the high 60′s into the teens in less than 24 hours.

Most of us were stuck inside as ice and frigid temperatures crippled the DFW metroplex. Then the rolling blackouts started. Yet in all that I had peace, I had @oncor social media keeping me company.

Wednesday morning at 6:30am I woke up to a dark and quiet house. Without even having to leave my bed, I rolled over and found my trusty iPhone, right where I left it. Still had plenty of juice left, so I found the Oncor twitter page, and sent them a message. Within 2 minutes I had a reply alerting me to the situation.

Rolling blackouts were in affect to reduce load on the grid, and that power should be restored within 15 minutes. They also gave me a number to call should the blackout last longer. Ok no biggie, and I rolled back over and went to sleep knowing everything would be ok, albeit a bit chilly for the next few minutes.

That is the value of Social Media on the table for any company, regardless of size or market. The ability to stay in contact with your core audience 24/7, making sure they know you care.

Social media isn’t breaking news, so why am I telling you this? Because companies still use old school protocols to regulate new technology like social media. Sometimes people are so worried about sending the right message, that they don’t send any message at all. Often the company waiting to craft a response will get run over by the responsive company already meeting the consumer need.

Modifying WordPress Permalinks as SEO Friendly URLs

Optimizing WordPress Permalinks for SEO
One of the things that gets overlooked the most in SEO is URL structure. At it’s core search engine optimization has to start with your domain name, and work out from there. And with the flood of new bloggers and wordpress builds hitting the web every day, permalink structure is the perfect place to start.

Lately, I see people with the ugliest URL’s expecting to rank for long tail strings. Well does your directory structure reflect what you want to rank well for?

So what if this site, KeithBrown.com, was about nothing but SEO. No off topic posts, no reputation management, no biz dev, just non stop blogging about search engine optimization. Sounds pretty dull to me, which is why I don’t use this strategy on more broad based websites. However, when I do find a niche for a site this can be extremely powerful.

WordPress blogs allow you to easily modify your permalink structure for not only categories and tags, but for posts as well. So get smart and modify the permalink to reflect the post title instead of a numeric post number, but why leave the date in there? Is somebody really going to Google “post 242229″, or even “seo april 26, 1992″, of course not.

Ideally your permalink structure should incorporate your domain name, your keyword niche as a SEO friendly directory path, and your entry title of course.

Site structure and search friendly URL’s have to be a basic part of your site if you ever want to really crush it in Google rankings.

You can cram keywords on a page and do link building to your blue in the face, but you will never outrank a site with semantically clean markup and well planned URL structure. Find your niche, incorporate it into the permalink structure, and get an easy boost in Google rankings. Time spent was 60 seconds tops.