ZMOT Offers Lessons, Insight From Google

These are heady times for Google. Hard to believe the company is over ten years old (it was founded in 1998), primarily because of its ability to re-invent itself and its blistering growth. The word on Google’s most recent earnings report was summed up in this statement by Claire Cain Miller of the New York Times: “…over all its results were so robust, easily blowing past Wall Street expectations, that analysts said they indicated growing strength in more areas than just search.”

Indeed, Google has become so much more than “search.” If you haven’t clicked on the “more” tab at the top of the Google home page, take a moment to do so. And then click on “even more.” Scan the mind-numbing list of products and you’ll see that “search” doesn’t begin to scratch the surface of what Google offers. True, some of Google’s products aren’t blockbusters, but this is a company that isn’t afraid to innovate and take risks. That means accepting a few failures along the way.

Google+ is a good example. The company’s latest attempt at a social media tool has been trashed by some and praised by others. Whatever anyone says, Google+ managed to attract 10 million users in a matter of days. This is a pretty big number right out of the box, even if it does pale in comparison to Facebook’s 750 million. And you can be sure Google is studying user reaction and will do what’s necessary to make Google+ competitive over time.

If Google is anything, it is a marketing machine. Which is why another of its new products is worthy of mention. Just about the time Google’s earnings report came out, a new “eBook from Google” was published. It’s called “Winning the Zero Moment of Truth.” It’s written by a Google executive and it’s a well-written, well-designed, slick publication. It has its very own website, including videos, testimonials, and posts about the book. According to Stuart Elliott of the New York Times, it is being promoted by Google on, Agency Spy, ClickZ and Of course, Google will also use keyword ads.

Oh yes, and the e-book can be downloaded free. Apparently, this is the first in a series of eBooks published by Google.

On the positive side, the book is legitimate. By that I mean it does include some good, solid advice, backed up by research and commentary from consumer marketing heavyweights to add to its credibility. Author Jim Lecinski is no lightweight either, he is the Managing Director of U.S. Sales and Service for Google. Prior to joining Google in 2006, Lecinski worked at several major ad agencies.

In the book, Lecinski characterizes the “Zero Moment of Truth” (or ZMOT for short) as:

“…the moment that’s changing the marketing rulebook. It’s a new decision-making moment that takes place a hundred million times a day on mobile phones, laptops and wired devices of all kinds. It’s a moment where marketing happens, where information happens, and where consumers make choices that affect the success and failure of nearly every brand in the world.”

Lecinski uses ZMOT as the basis for a discussion about stuff that other marketers are addressing in books these days, such as one-way communication turning into two-way conversations and the power of word of mouth in influencing buying decisions.

This is good stuff. Still, most of the data Lecinski cites and the examples he uses are — no surprise — from Google. It simply has to occur to the reader that Google plays a larger-than-life role in creating that Zero Moment of Truth.

Don’t get me wrong. This doesn’t negate the value of the book’s content — but it sure colors it, just the way the word “CHAPTER” at the beginning of every chapter is comprised of letters that are unashamedly Google’s colors.

My point is, this is not an objective marketing book. Then again, it is free marketing advice from the king of online marketing, Google. So you actually might get something out of this book you can use… as long as you keep in mind that it’s a sales pitch.




About Barry Silverstein

Barry Silverstein is a freelance writer/marketing consultant. In addition to writing for ReveNews, he is a contributing writer to, the world’s leading online branding forum. He is the author of three marketing books, The Breakaway Brand (co-author, McGraw-Hill, 2005), Business-to-Business Internet Marketing (Maximum Press, 2003) and Internet Marketing for Technology Companies (Maximum Press, 2003). Barry ran his own Internet and direct marketing agency for twenty years. You can find Barry on Twitter @bdsilv.

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