In 2005, A.G. Lafley, the Chairman, President & CEO of Procter & Gamble introduced a concept known as Moments of Truth:

A ‘moment of truth”'(MOT) is the moment when a customer/user interacts with a brand, product or service to form or change an impression about that particular brand, product or service. Moments of truth represent important touch points along a customer’s buying journey that affect his or her buying decision.

The number, types and application of MOTs have slightly changed over time to better fit the evolving consumer and technology environment, in which digital is now playing a more prominent role.

Today, five different types of moments of truth are often addressed by marketing people.

  • The first moment of truth (FMOT) is when a potential customer is first confronted with a brand, product or service, by reading or hearing about it, either offline or online. It occurs within the first few seconds of a consumer encountering the product and it is during this time that marketers have the capability of turning a browser into a prospect or a buyer. As one never gets a second chance to make a first impression, these few seconds will have a major impact on the remainder of the sales process.
  • The second moment of truth (SMOT) occurs when a customer experiences what a company is offering. This may happen before purchase, e.g. when experiencing a hands-on demo, or after the purchase, when the buyer experiences the product’s functionality and quality after it has been delivered. There may be multiple SMOTs, every time a product or service is used, and they can have a major impact on buyers’ satisfaction – and consequently, their continuing relationship with a brand.
  • The third moment of truth (TMOT), also known as the ultimate moment of truth (UMOT), is defined by the customers’ feedback or reaction towards a brand, product or service. It expresses a vendor’s capability to fulfill end-user needs and provide an overall positive experience. During the TMOT, users may become brand advocates that write favorable online reviews, share their experience via social media, or promote your brand through worth of mouth to family, friends and colleagues – possibly creating a Zero Moment of Truth for future buyers.

The internet has changed the way consumers are interacting with brands, products or services. Nine out of ten people conduct online research before actually buying something. Travelers read at least 6 to 12 TripAdvisor reviews before choosing a hotel. And 20% of purchasing decisions tend to be influenced by Facebook. That’s why Google introduced a new MOT in 2011…

  • The zero moment of truth (ZMOT) refers to the point in the buying cycle when the buyer researches a product prior to purchase, often before the seller even knows that they exist. While companies are not able to control online reviews (though sometimes they will try), they can positively influence their online reputation through appropriate interactions with their audience and by delivering on their marketing promises.

About 5 years ago, yet an earlier moment of truth was introduced in marketing literature:

  • The less than zero moment of truth (<ZMOT) is defined by something happening in a person’s life that causes him or her to start looking for or researching a product or service. Such events are opportunities for a company to actively reach out to a customer via social media, email marketing or target advertisements – even before the potential customer starts searching for information. Such a proactive approach will require data collection, advanced targeting and monitoring of customer activities on social media, but it may drive a candidate buyer to your website instead of your competitor’s.

I’m sure, as new business models emerge and technologies like predictive analytics and AI further evolve, there will be even more MOTs to come.

Image by Tim Reckmann (CC BY 2.0)

Let me now, in-line with the topic of the other posts on this blog, explore how your business presentation or public talk may address, support or influence one or more moments of truth for your company’s brand, products or services.

  • Each time you deliver a memorable presentation that contains lots of information, use cases and evidence, you may be anticipating to a <ZMOT. When, in the near or further future, a member of your audience enters in a specific situation, he or she will certainly remember your capability to address the problem and provide a suitable solution.
  • Connecting emotionally with your audience through storytelling will create brand awareness, as well as appetite for your company and its offering. The information you present about your company’s vision, products and customers will guide them to your website at ZMOT time.
  • The quality of your presentation, as well as the authenticity, authority and experience you show as a speaker will create a feeling of understanding, trust and confidence with your audience. Even the first few seconds of your talk may be determining for the FMOT.
  • Even if you won’t be able to provide your audience with a real SMOT, you may enrich your presentation with a live demonstration or a product video.
  • Putting customer quotes on your slides, playing user testimonial videos or having one of your buyers co-presenting with you on stage are all powerful means for sharing TMOT feedback with your audience.

If you want to learn more about engaging your audience and influencing their buying behavior, you may read my blog post about rhetoric, storytelling and persuasion.