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12th Digital Dealer Conference General Sessions


The Zero Moment of Automotive Truth


Marketers have traditionally used a three step mental model of marketing:

  1. Stimulus: creating awareness, such as through a TV ad
  2. Dealership: focusing on point of sales (traditionally called the First Moment of Truth)
  3. Experience: people drive home and experience owning their car. They could have a good experience or a bad experience and share it (traditionally called the Second Moment of Truth)

If dealerships focus on these three marketing steps, success should follow, right? Google investigated this theory. We partnered with Shopper Sciences and conducted a comprehensive study with the goal of understanding where influence takes place as the auto shopper moves from undecided to purchasing a vehicle in your store. 

Our findings support the emergence of a fourth step in the marketing mental model – the Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT).


This research step occurs after the stimulus and before the First Moment of Truth. During the ZMOT, consumers do their research, get smart about alternatives, read reviews, look for promotions/specials, and comparison shop – all before heading into the dealership. Consumers have changed the way they purchase vehicles and service.

Has your dealership kept up or are you still using the old mental model?

Dealers who can coordinate all these marketing channels – aligning their stimulus and their ZMOT investment with the new consumer will have the competitive advantage.


Jonika Hoomes is the Head of Automotive Channel Sales Partnerships for North America. Hoomes has over seven years experience in online advertising. She works closely with automotive partners and consults them regarding their SEM business processes, shares in-depth market analysis and has helped both partners and dealers maximize their investment with Google AdWords. Hoomes holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, a Masters in Business Administration and is fluent in five languages.



Peter Leto co-leads the Dealer Jumpstart Team at Google. He is responsible for providing automotive partners with scalable business solutions to further develop their Tier 2 & Tier 3 advertising strategies.

Growing up in the Motor City, Leto started his career in TV ad sales with Turner Broadcasting assisting the Detroit Three with national advertising programs. In 2008, he joined Google as an account manager in the Chicago B2B vertical, working with Fortune 500 companies primarily across the manufacturing and energy sectors. After three years he returned to Detroit in his current role in automotive. Leto graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in Political Science and Communications. He currently resides in Rochester Hills, Michigan.

Tags: Conference:, Dealer, Digital, Moment, Truth, Zero, of

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I have never seen Mr. Leto before but Jonika Hoomes is an excellent presenter!!!

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