By Jeff Kline


Winning Your Chamber's Zero Moment of Truth

Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Chamber's Guide To ZMOT

You know that modern cliché, that the world is at our fingertips? It has never been truer.

clientuploads/thumb.pngSearch has become a routine part of our lives. No matter what we seek – whether it’s movie showtimes, driving directions, restaurant reviews, or today’s news headlines – we instinctively grab our laptops or smartphones or tablets and simply type our query into the search bar.

Why does any of this matter for my chamber’s marketing program, you might be wondering. And here’s your answer: 84% of American consumers research a product before making a final purchase; for 50% of US shoppers, this research includes the use of online search engines. The “products” being researched can include anything from SUVs to paperclips – or even a chamber membership.

This new moment of decision-making is called the Zero Moment of Truth.


In a 2005 Wall Street Journal article, Proctor and Gamble coined the term First Moment of Truth to describe the moment when a consumer is standing in the store, in front of the shelf, and makes the decision to purchase one brand over another. They went on to define the Second Moment of Truth as the consumer’s positive or negative experience using the product. 

Recently, a new term arose to describe the moment before the FMOT; the moment when a consumer reaches for her laptop to research a product before she ever steps one foot into the store. This “pre-shopping” moment was dubbed the Zero Moment of Truth - or ZMOT, for short.



Winning your chamber’s Zero Moment of Truth means winning new members, sponsors and supporters. Follow the steps to learn how to identify, respond to, and optimize for your chamber’s ZMOT:

Step 1 - Identify your chamber's ZMOTs

Your chamber’s ZMOT is essentially any search query that could potentially result in the purchase of a membership. The possibilities are endless. Your chamber’s Zero Moment of Truth could be:

  • The CEO of a small printing company in Sarasota, Florida, sitting in a conference room before a meeting, using her smartphone to compare reviews of local business associations.
  • A laid-off IT specialist, hanging out at a coffee shop, using his laptop to search local job listings.
  • A freelance writer sitting on her back porch, using her iPad to Google "the benefits of joining a chamber of commerce."

Identifying your chamber’s specific ZMOTs requires some detective work and the use of a helpful tool. Using Google’s keyword tool, enter the keyword [your city] chamber OR input your chamber website URL to view and compare relevant keywords. Be on the lookout for long tail keywords like business to business networking and [your city] business economic development. These search queries are potential ZMOTs upon with you could be capitalizing.

Step 2 - Show up

One of the most important steps to winning the ZMOT is simply showing up. After you have identified your ZMOTs, take a look at the questions and search terms your consumers are using, and make sure your chamber is present AND providing answers.

  • In the case of the Sarasota CEO, be sure a full profile of your chamber is listed on all the top review sites (Google+ Local, Yelp, MerchantCircle, etc.)
  • To connect with the job-seeking IT specialist, provide a call-to-action on your community job board inviting visitors to your chamber’s upcoming career fair.
  • As for the porch-occupying freelancer, you could bring her straight from Google to your chamber blog with a post titled to answer her query – The Benefits of Joining a Chamber of Commerce.

It’s important to remember that at this stage in the sales process, you should be providing information, not a sales pitch. The money talk shouldn’t happen until someone clicks a call-to-action button (ex: Learn more about joining our chamber).  

Step 3 - Cover all of your bases

You won’t be able to pinpoint every single one of your chamber’s ZMOTs. According to a 2011 survey by Shopper Sciences and Google, the average shopper consulted 10.4 digital or traditional ZMOT sources prior to making a purchase. In order to optimize your chamber website for the many potential ZMOTs, you must create a vast online presence that includes:

  • Active profiles on all major social networks, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Flickr
  • A video channel on YouTube
  • Listings on local business directories and social review sites, such as Google+ Local, Yelp, Foursquare, Yahoo! Local, Bing Local and Merchant Circle
  • A mobile-optimized version of your website
  • An up-to-date blog


If you are interested in learning more about the Zero Moment of Truth, check out


“The beauty of the online world is this: You can jump right in. And the beauty of ZMOT is that the best way to succeed IS to jump right in.” 

- Jim Lecinski, ZMOT: Winning the Zero Moment of Truth

For the past two months, you’ve learned how to get found in Search, whether through paid ads or organic strategies. NOW is the time to put your knowledge to action. Get your chamber online, enhance your digital presence, connect with potential members. And win that Zero Moment of Truth.


As summer comes to an end, so too must the Summer of Search. I hope you have enjoyed the past couple of months as much as I have. It has been fascinating to explore Search from a chamber’s perspective!


Do you use quantitative data to measure the success of your chamber website? Do you know your number of monthly visitors, or where they’re coming from?

Come back next week for the beginning of a new series that will teach you how to measure and interpret your chamber website analytics, and use the results to enhance your online presence!


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