By Chris Alexander, a commentary first published in MarketingDaily:
One weekend when I was sitting on the couch with my four-year-old son, we were quizzing each other with simple and not-so-simple mathematical equations (typical activity between the two of us). As he tried to out-score me by making up some imaginary super-quad-gazillion number, he stopped to ask a rather obvious question: “what’s the biggest number in the entire universe?” Ah, the subject of infinity.
A big idea usually becomes bigger than one individual or even a group, and with the technology curve it evolves faster than ever before. Spreading fast, it modifies and adapts itself until it’s a fully-polished entity that’s ready to compete in the world. One of these ideas belongs to Google.
As you will see in my first marketing blog post, I envision a new “empowered-mom,” one who has grasped the buying process from marketers and has given it to her peers. After I wrote that, a flood of qualitative and quantitative information started flowing into my inbox.
Some of the entrepreneurs, marketers and agency folks I talked to were also exploring this new age of consumer conversation, many of them referencing Google and its philosophy of the evolving Zero Moment of Truth. That is, the idea that there is a new step in the purchase process, a step where a consumer pauses to gather research from 10 or more online or offline sources before ever reaching the store. Immediately, I studied the model more, and discussed implications of it with my peers.
Then, I decided to attack it.
Google and P&G – two thought-leaders
P&G created the first “moment of truth,” or MOT, and then Google came along with the most recent one and changed the game on P&G’s marketing philosophy. P&G has a ‘very smart crew of marketers’, and they realize the world has evolved, so Google’s nicely-crafted MOT was the perfect package at the perfect time. And, rightly so. It accurately throws-away the old traditional marketing funnel and creates a new world, a new MOT. From store-shelf to online, Google and P&G take over the marketing world, again.
A brand guy versus Google – the empowered marketer?
You’re probably wondering by now, why call-out Google’s shiny new MOT?
While I do appreciate their creative thinking and well-packaged selling tool, I contend that Google’s MOT can lead a marketer to the wrong end-game. This new MOT starts to fuel a new empowered-marketer, not an empowered-consumer. And, the consumer is the empowered-mom. Marketers can’t fabricate conversations about their products through a new MOT. Those true conversations are now owned by consumers.
But alas, the new marketer feels great with the new MOT acronym in his pocket, and is feeling on the cutting-edge of consumer insights, is riding the technology super-train, and is gaining a powerful edge against the competition. Right?
Not really. While the ‘very smart crew of marketers’ (mentioned above) dive deep into human minds to find true ‘human insights’ ahead of brand benefit, many other marketers will yield the powerful marketing sword with their new MOT and their shiny new marketing acronym. This marketing crowd will take over the online world and tell consumers all about their product’s attributes and why they are truly unique and own-able. Great. But, what does the conversationalist, buying-power-wielding, collaborative mom think?
A brand guy 1, Google 0
Fortunately, many marketers are savvy and adept at change. While some will naturally stumble early in this new empowered world, they’ll eventually find a way to copy the more successful early-adaptors.
However, with an infinite number of empowered-mom conversations about to take place and already taking place, it’s time for me to get back into the conversation with them.
Chris Alexander is a senior marketing manager in the food industry. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.