The buying funnel, a model that illustrates consumer behavior across each stage of the decision to make a purchase, has been a marketing mainstay for decades. But as digitization of media and Internet use has began replacing traditional consumer habits, marketing models like the buying funnel are starting to show their age.

So Google has come up with a new concept to help marketers and entrepreneurs refocus marketing strategies to better adapt to today’s digital consumer, called the Zero Moment of Truth.

Today’s consumer purchase behavior has become more complex and fragmented – which makes it far less predictable than it used to be when media types were limited. But by focusing on the Zero Moment of Truth, the “online decision-making moment,” brands and businesses can organize marketing tactics and strategies that can still persuade consumers to purchase from them instead of a consumer.

So how does the Zero Moment of Truth impact your local business online marketing strategy? It reinforces the need for a holistic web presence and strategies to optimize that web presence on an ongoing basis. As our own VP of Marketing Todd Ebert put it, “Web presence is the collection of all the places where consumers find and engage a business, including: search engines, local directories, blogs, video & photo sites, social media profiles, micro-blogs, review & recommendation sites/apps, check-in apps (like Foursquare) and daily deals.”

What might you do differently to target the Zero Moment of Truth when it comes your digital consumers? Do you have an online marketing strategy today that delivers web presence optimization across all the places consumers search, surf and socialize? Share your thoughts in a comment!

Author: Angela Epley writes about online advertising & web presence for the ReachLocal blog, which focuses on small business online marketing strategies.