Big Idea: Brian Solis, Altimeter Group

Brian Solis, author and principal analyst at Altimeter Group, explains the four moments of truth and how marketers can use them effectively.

Brian Solis, author and principal analyst at Altimeter Group, explains the four moments of truth and how marketers can use them effectively. 

The future of business and marketing comes down to moments of truth and how we guide customers through each step. A moment of truth is essentially a crucial time that defines the impressions, expressions, or next steps of those who encounter it. In marketing, moments of truth are still misunderstood.

In 2005, Procter & Gamble invested millions in time, re-sources, and marketing into this. This first moment of truth represents the three to seven seconds when someone evaluates a product on a shelf. P&G believed this was an important marketing opportunity.

Influencing reactions
The second moment of truth is when the product was used at home and the resulting experience and sentiment that followed. This is why so many marketing campaigns visualize positive emotions or senses of accomplishment. They attempt to influence your reaction.

In 2011, Google released an e-book, Winning in the Zero Moment of Truth, pointing out that when a consumer is made aware of a product or service, chances are they're going to research it. The moment suggests that marketers optimize the research and discovery phase to effectively guide customers to the first and second moments of truth.

Shared experiences
These moments are not only big, they are also reciprocal - and it doesn't stop here. At the second moment, impressions are formed and reactions ensue. The customer experience lives on and it's here where products rise and fall. Why? Experiences are not contained; they're shared repeatedly. Shared experiences are so important they deserve their own place in the cycle. In my new book, What's the future of business: Changing the way businesses create experiences, I refer to this fourth phase as the ultimate moment of truth.

Now, and in the future, marketers must optimize each moment. We are now entering an age where experiences must be designed and supported pre-, mid-, and post-commerce. Whether they're good or bad, experiences are shared.

Your customer is taking to networks to voice their experiences at an accelerated pace. Someone must take responsibility, so define the experience you want people to have, feel, and more importantly, share. Focus efforts on generating desired expressions, then measure what people do.

You know that people are going to talk, so give them something to talk about. 

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