“We have 50,000 moments of truth every day.” — Jan Carlzo, CEO SAS (Scandinavian Airlines System) Group from 1981-1994 referring to every time an SAS employee came into contact with a customer.
In consumer markets, the First Moment of Truth (FMOT) is often described as the shopper’s first encounter with the brand in-store. There are many moments that lead to this moment — these are the times the consumer initially gets to know the brand. It encompasses the moments she sees the brand on TV, or online, or some other medium; or when she hears about it from a friend. These moments convey the product concept to her, and craft her first impression. They generate appeal or the desire to experience the product, and determine whether or not she will try it. The encounter in-store, the moment of truth, is the culmination of these moments; it is where the brand has to close the sale (Exhibit 11.0). Will she pick the brand up and place it in her cart?
A good indicator of a brand’s performance at its first moment of truth is the trial rate. Drawn from consumer panel data, the build-up of trial for the two brands labelled ‘A’ and ‘B’, in Exhibit 11.1, appears to be fairly strong.
Incidentally, Google coined the term zero moment of truth (ZMOT) to refer to the moments before the first, when the consumer searches for products that may or may not exist. By tracking their online behaviour, marketers are able to gauge what consumers are seeking. This is particularly useful information for spotting market trends and gaps, and for generating ideas and insights for new products.
The second moment of truth (SMOT) occurs when the consumer uses the product. Product experiences shape her views about the brand, and determine whether she will continue to use it; whether she will adopt it. This collection of moments offer the opportunity to build and strengthen a relationship with the consumer; to delight her and to keep her engaged.
The repeat buying rate (RBR), which is defined later in the TRB Share Prediction model, captures the essence of SMOT. Derived from consumer panel data, it is an indicator of the propensity of trialists to continue buying the brand, and is measured in the context of their total purchases of the category.
The repeat buyers %, depicted in Exhibit 11.2, is also an indicator of the success of a brand at the SMOT. It measures the proportion of trialists who repeat purchase.
Consumer goods companies devote considerable time, resource and attention to appeal to the hearts and minds of consumers so that they may powerfully influence them when they seek to find the product (ZMOT), when they initially encounter it (FMOT), and when they actually experience it (SMOT).
For business marketing firms, it is the touchpoints with their customers that represent their moments of truth. Whether it is the customer’s interaction with the firm’s product or service, or with the employees of the firm, the experiences offer opportunities to build the firm’s brand equity.
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