Recently I read the 2011 eBook ZMOT Handbook by Google (it’s free thankfully!) – an interesting read on how consumers in both product and services markets use various information sources prior to making a purchase decision (after being stimulated by a call to action – say an ad, a meeting with an adviser or a referral from a friend). From simple low cost purchases to major decisions, today’s consumers are armed with information sourced from multiple resources (e.g. web, reviews, video, friends etc) but sourced in real time on a device that suits them (e.g. a PC, mobile phone or tablet), which helps them make more informed choices.
So what is ZMOT and how can fund managers by prepared for it?
In essence, ZMOT is an acceptance that potential investors will do detailed research online before they seek you out to make an investment and may do that research in a number of ways including looking at Twitter, your LinkedIn page, reviews, news articles, Webinars etc – in financial services, consumers typically review eight sources of information before making a purchase decision and in Australia, where the growth in the SMSF sector is empowering more and more people to take control of their own finances, being a solution provider, as well as a product provider, will assist in generating more sale leads. As such, the provision of useful information has never been more important.
Source: Google Zero Moment Of Truth eHandbook
Are you ZMOT ready?
It is easy to work out by doing some simple steps listed below.
First, go to Google and type in your business name. One would hope that you are the top of the list but that is the easy bit.
Next, type in your investment category (e.g. International Shares) and see if you are listed near the top of the first page and if not, see who is. Find out what page you are on and if you are not listed at all – its time to get your digital agency involved!
Example of typing in International Shares
Then try, ‘Best International Shares’ and see how the ranking changes for this simple change.
You can also use Google Keywords to see what terms are searched in the segment you are operating in. You will need a Google account to access this tool.
You can also do these quick tests in YouTube to see which firms are well placed for an investor or advisers ZMOT moment. What may surprise you is that there will be a video that has something listed in the category you are searching.
International Share Fund YouTube rankings
In essence, you are trying to see how well you perform on some basic search terms across various communication channels putting yourself in the seat of the person doing that search.
Even a billionaire is doing it on YouTube
If you are nowhere to be found, you are not ZMOT ready but you can change this!
How to be ZMOT ready
Start with your customer in mind – that could be an adviser, a super fund trustee, a researcher or a self directed investor – what questions might they want answers to that are generic e.g. explain what an international share fund is – and you can develop a landing page to answer these questions etc as well as answering questions about who you are, your track record, your ratings etc. Make it easy!
Each stakeholder will have different information needs and will access that information across multiple channels, so the task is to make sure you have a presence in each channel, as well as making this information accessible on multiple devices.
Some questions to ask…
• How easy is your website to view on a PC, mobile phone or a tablet?
• How well are basic questions answered on purposely built landing pages?
• Do you have simple YouTube videos answering these questions for people that do not wish to read?
• Do you have a blog or can you link yourself to other bloggers to expand your content reach?
• Have you started a conversation with potential investors on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook?
• Do you have an eNewsletter and can potential investors subscribe easily on your site to receive your expert content?
• Are you advertising effectively with Google Adwords or on Facebook?
• Is your marketing team prepared for the ZMOT and how might this be improved?
But to make things simple, you can download The ZMOT Ready Worksheet here to get you started (for the record, Winston Capital is not ZMOT ready but watch this space!).
The typical objection to ignoring ZMOT
Many fund manages say “I am not focused on the mum and dad market because I focus on advisers, so why bother with all of this stuff?” That is like Colgate saying, we only focus on supermarkets when we develop our toothpaste – as such, we do no consumer marketing at all! Further, advisers might be doing the research on their client’s behalf and so you can shape your ZMOT strategy around them in a B2B setting.
Time to get ZMOT ready!
Founding Partner and Managing Director
Winston Capital Partners