Moms and the Zero Moment of Truth

Moms, perhaps the most discerning of consumers, are shopping differently, according to a just-released Google study called the “Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT).”  The study addresses changes in consumer shopping habits overall, but in great part focuses on moms. In his compelling presentation delivered at the recent BabyCenter 21st Century Moms press conference, Jim Lecinski, Chief ZMOT officer, Google, explained how moms and others are increasingly “pre-shopping” using social networking and the Internet to determine their purchase choices–a point this blog has made many times. This shift is one that today’s marketers targeting moms must pay close attention to in order to deepen their engagement with and foster trust among this highly influential audience.

Becoming a mom is a key driver to this online research: The study shows that 73% of women change their purchase criteria and reliance on social media after joining motherhood. “Women have deep sharing habits,” said Tina Sharkey of BabyCenter, who also spoke at the 21st Century Moms session, citing heavy reference to product reviews, articles,  conversations and discussion boards. In fact, moms on average will consult 13.3 sources before actually buying, according to the ZMOT research. Whereas in the past, moms would make purchase decisions within what some marketers call “two moments of truth”–the first”moment” at the store shelf, and the second at home during product trial–today, the path to  purchase is no longer direct, but more like a giant zigzag, which poses new challenges to marketers.

As an example of how the ZMOT applies to a “real” mom, I will share the experience of a member of the Child’s Play Team Mom network. After her husband lost his job, this mom became obsessed with finding the best deals on line via coupon and deal sites. Instead of routinely heading to the nearest mall to buy back-to-school clothes and supplies for her kids, she first made a shopping list, and then went online to scope out the latest styles and best prices. After reading other moms’ reviews of the brands and items she was considering, her choices shifted somewhat. Additional recommendations from moms in her weekly playgroup also had an influence. As she became ready to buy, she printed out store coupons. Then, on the day she was planning a store trip, she discovered special online discounts for a few of the items. I will bet that many of your customers pre-shop in a similar fashion.

Later this week, I’ll talk about how companies can make the most of this Zero Moment of Truth when marketing to moms.