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Automotive ZMOT Infographic and EcoSystem

This Automotive Zero Moment of Truth Infographic is a great discussion piece to have with your dealership team about how the car shopping eco-system is working today.


Stimulus Investments Drive ZMOT Activity



Stimulus investments (Radio, TV, and Newspaper) for a majority of consumers do NOT create a direct beeline to the dealership (FMOT).  Stimulus investments encourages further online research prior to direct dealer contact.

This research, prior to dealer contact, is called the Zero Moment of Truth.  This term was coined by Jim Lecinski in his book "Winning The Zero Moment of Truth". (download book)

It is at the Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT) that dealers need the most help in creating an effective strategy. 

For many dealers offline stimulus investments are a large part of their budget. However when a consumer goes online to research, the dealer is often not showing up to the party to the same degree as their offline influence.  You could make the case that dealers who are weak at ZMOT are actually funding traffic to their competitors.


Consumer Reviews Impact ZMOT



Prior to the Internet, whether a consumer was treated professionally or poorly they had little power to hurt or help a dealer's sales goals.  Today, consumers have tremendous power to negatively or positively influence sales during the Zero Moment of Truth.

Sites like Google Places, Yelp, PrestoReviews, and DealerRater often appear on Page One of search results when a consumer researches a dealer by name. This fact should remind all members of the automotive community to treat every consumer, regardless if they purchase, with utmost respect and clarity.

Not all sales that are "lost" result in a negative review. Consumers in the end will choose who they feel most comfortable with and the dealer not getting the business could have done everything right accounting to their playbook.

However, for some dealers that still use "bait and switch" advertising will find a a tsunami of negative press building that will educate future buyers to stay aware from unethical business practices.


Improving ZMOT


So, how do you know if you have a well balanced budget for marketing in today's eco-system?    I have listed some actions that will help improve your visibility in the Zero Moment of Truth.  If you are not doing all these things, you should revisit your overall strategy and rebalance your budgets. 


•Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
•Search Marketing (SEM) - Desktop & Mobile
•Improving Online Reviews
•Publishing Quality Content
•Publishing Relevant Videos
•Engaging in Social Media
•Merchandizing Your Cars Better
•Pricing Your Cars Competitively


Improving FMOT


Once a consumer has narrowed their choices and has decided to contact you, it is very important that your sales team recognizes that the consumer has been shopping.  They most likely are considering more than the ONE car that they inquired about.  Failing to ask "what other cars have you been considering?" would be a mistake considering the Infographic above.


I would also like to add that dealers who are not recording their incoming calls, inspecting, and scoring how consumers are being handled most likely have a big profit leak.  Compared to overall operating budgets, phone inspection companies like are worth their weight in gold. 


Here are some investments that will make the FMOT a stronger and more positive experience for consumers: 


•Creating Phone Handling Processes
•Recording and Inspecting Phone Calls
•Improving The Listening Skills of Your Team
•Perfecting Lead Response Processes
•Incentivizing Leads To Show
•Adding 24x7 Chat To Your Websites
•Offering A First Class Mobile Shopping Experience
•Initiate In Store Customer Surveys & Reviews
•Upgrades to Service Waiting Lounge
•Opening Up SMS Channels


Improving SMOT



Once a consumer has purchased a car or serviced a vehicle with your dealership how do you keep them connected?  Leveraging a consumers positive experience with your dealership can be worth thousands of dollars of equivalent advertising.  Here are some thoughts to consider:


•Creating Loyalty Programs
•Proactive Service Programs
•Filming & Syndicating Testimonial Videos
•Sharing Buying Experience On Social Media
•Leveraging Google +1 buttons
•Dealership VIP Events
•Ongoing Customer Education
•Branded Mobile Apps

Do You Have A Comprehensive Strategy?



The Infographic can not cover all the aspects of the consumer shopping experience but your marketing and operating budget must connect at all touchpoints of the ZMOT, FMOT, and SMOT.  Dealers only can invest in strategies that they understand and measure.  The good news is that measurement is getting much easier.


If you would like a copy of the ZMOT budgeting spreadsheet I created to help dealers see how their marketing and advertising investments fall into each of these categories, you can request a copy by sending me an email, simply click on this link:  or send me an email and in the Subject Line please add "ZMOT Spreadsheet Request". 


See you at NADA next week.   PCG will have a booth so visit us at Booth# 3659. 



Brian Pasch CEO of PCG

Brian Pasch, CEO

PCG Digital Marketing
Text PCGedu to 75674 get information on our upcoming conferences
Brian Pasch

Views: 2318

Tags: Brian Pasch, automotive zmot, google zmot, jim lecinski, pcg digital marketing, zmot


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Comment by Brian Pasch on January 28, 2012 at 8:29pm


Thank you for your feedback and I will seek to enhance future graphics with your insights.  It's a work in progress but it is helping dealers start a conversation they have been afraid to have because they didn't want to look behind the times.

Comment by Ed Brooks on January 28, 2012 at 5:42pm

Brian, As you may know, I've had some reservations about the ZMOT model when it comes to car sales. Not so much for what it includes as for what it leaves out. It's basis on the simplified Stimulus>FMOT>SMOT behavior of consumers buying impulse items and cheap consumer goods instead of the proven Needs Recognition>Information Search>Alternative Evaluation>Purchase Decision>Post-Purchase Behavior model that's been taught in Marketing classes for decades, has been one of my main concerns.

I commend you for fleshing out the ZMOT model to much more accurately reflect the consumer thought process. If it takes a catchy acronym to get dealers attention, so be it!

The next step would be to apply the proven marketing process of gaining Awareness (they have to know you exist), improving Perception (thru branding, reviews, having the right car at the right price, etc.), increasing Purchase Intent (you need to make their 'consideration set' and move to the top of it). The marriage of the ZMOT concept to these proven techniques is a powerful combination.

Comment by Brian Pasch on January 28, 2012 at 12:33pm

I'm so glad you found it helpful.  It has served me very well in talking with dealers about this ZMOT book and opportunities.

Comment by Ralph Paglia on January 28, 2012 at 12:21pm

@BrianPasch - I used your infographic and the accompanying text explanations during my meetings with over 50 dealer principals, General Managers and Automotive Marketing and Sales professionals while on tour this past week in California... The information and the graphic were well received and helped me accomplish my objectives around educating, informing and assisting these automotive professionals in making better informed decisions.  


Thank you for such a high value contribution to the ADM Professional Community and your support for those of us who are out in dealerships working towards guiding and coaching so many auto industry professionals who have never been to ADM.

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