FMOT vs. ZMOT: A conversation with Morgan McAlenney


A busy woman strides into a grocery store with two things on her mind: “I need a more diapers and that serious stain remover. SERIOUS stain remover.”

She grabs her usual diaper brand, marches to the cleanser aisles and quickly scans the options. She grabs a product, examines the packaging for a moment, confirms it suits her needs and decides to purchase it.

In 2005, Procter & Gamble called this magical moment the FMOT or, the First Moment of Truth. This is the moment when a shopper first interacts with a product in a physical retail environment. According to P&G, this moment is crucial because shoppers make up their mind about a product in the first few seconds they encounter it for the first time. The FMOT was considered one of the most important marketing opportunities for a brand.

Today, this moment is likely preceded by what Google dubbed the ZMOT, or Zero Moment of Truth. The blog post states: “While this first moment of truth is still important, the rise of full internet adoption and increased search engine use often lead to many brand interactions taking place between a consumer and a brand before that consumer ever sees a product on a shelf.”

When the Great Diaper Disaster of Aught Eleven happened to this poor woman, she likely went online to research how to save her beige carpet. She may have clicked on a few product pages or PPC ads for different cleansers, read consumer reviews and finally chose the product another mom commented on as, “the only thing that makes my house smell okay again.” She decided before she even left the house which stain remover she would purchase.

While television, print and radio ads expose consumers to products before they see them in person, the internet provides more in-depth communication about products. According to Google, searches for Food & Drink and Beauty & Personal Care products have steadily increased since 2006. Instead of passively receiving marketing messages and product information from a brand, people are actively researching products. In fact, 83 percent of shoppers make their purchase decision prior to entering a store. This sea change forces marketers to get in front of consumers with compelling and consistent messaging prior to the FMOT.

What got us started thinking about all this? A dapper young lad named Morgan McAlenney laid down some knowledge and challenges at the Location3 Media Monthly meeting yesterday. Morgan is the senior vice president of digital at The Integer Group and when he brought the FMOT vs. ZMOT conversation to the table, it sparked a lot of thoughts. What do you think- is the FMOT dead?


3 thoughts on “FMOT vs. ZMOT: A conversation with Morgan McAlenney

  1. While I completely agree that the importance of the ZMOT is growing with every passing day and has probably surpassed the FMOT, I don’t believe that the FMOT is dead. I’m one of the many in between people that does a lot of searching and online research before making certain purchase decisions, especially when it comes to expensive items, online clothes or restaurants. However I am also impulsive by nature and make a lot of purchases with no forethought whatsoever. I still buy wine according to who has the coolest label (don’t judge). I think that just speaks to the value of integrating your online and offline.

  2. I hope not… as I was on FB your ad was right next to my feed.
    So I looked at your FB page and thought not so hot for a Media company. Let me check out their site (I don’t have time) but I went there anyway ADD kicked in.

    All the young people in the hoodies, they have to be cool, (cool hoodies and you called them swag)

    But still FB not so hot. I really think FB first, then link to site will be more common.

    the crazy ole dog lady

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