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August 15, 2011

posted by: Carissa Drohan-Jennings

Google Gives 3 Predictions For The Coming Year (Part 1)

I had the privilege of attending a Google Engage conference in Toronto yesterday, and the keynote speaker, Google’s very own Chris O’Neill, Canada’s Country Director, delivered a great presentation on his three predictions for the coming year.  Let’s take a look at these predictions and how they apply to the apartment industry.


Prediction 1:
Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT) Is The New Battleground


Proctor & Gamble developed the Three Moments of Truth process to explain the process of how consumers learn about, shop, buy and talk about a product. 

Proctor & Gamble's First Moment of Truth

Stimulus refers to the stage where the consumer first learns about the existence of a product.  It typically occurs through the means of advertising, whether it be in the form of online or print. A renter could see a property being advertised on an internet listing site, a corporate website or a print ad.

Once the consumer have been made aware of the product, they enter into the First Moment of Truth (FMOT), which is the initial stage where shoppers first encounter a product in real life.  In Proctor & Gamble's case this is the first 3 to 7 seconds that a person notices a product on a store shelf.  In the apartment industry this could be the first 3 to 7 seconds after a renter arrives onsite to view an apartment.

The Second Moment of Truth (SMOT) is the period of time that a shopper first uses a product and experiences its value.  After move-in a renter begins experiencing life in the building.  They experience the level of service and how it feels to be part of that community.  Once they evaluate their experiences they enter into the Infinite Moment of Truth (IMOT).

The Infinite Moment of Truth is the period of time after the product has been experienced, a time in which the consumer can decide to share their experience with those around them, or decide that the experience does not merit sharing.

Now, traditionally this model contained three stages, FMOT, SMOT and IMOT, but Google argues that there is in fact a fourth stage to this model, and that is the Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT).

Google's Zero Moment Of Truth

The ZMOT is the stage where consumers research a product before a real life encounter.  They may do so by visiting a website, reading online reviews, asking social media contacts or asking friends and family about their thoughts or opinions about a product.  This stage will help the shopper determine if the product or service is worth purchasing.

The ZMOT is becoming an important stage in the buying process, as 86% of Canadian consumers research a product online before going to a store and purchasing it. This stage is also important for apartment marketers, as renters will research a building online before visiting an apartment.

Having an online presence, such as a rental website or social media account, will help renters get to know your company and what living in the building is like.  Landlords who embracee these two mediums stand to benefit from positive online discussions. 

On the flip side, it's also important to monitor social spaces for negative comments.  Using Google Alerts is a great way to monitor when your company name is appearing on the web, so that you can address any negative feedback being shared.

Landlords who focus on developing their brand reputation across the web will gain an edge over their competition as online research continues to become more important for consumers.  The Zero Moment of Truth could truly prove to be the next battleground for apartment marketers.


Prediction 2:
Local Search Matters More Than Ever


Prediction 3:
Mobile Is The New Key Interface