In 2005, A.G. Lafley, CEO of the world’s largest advertiser, Procter & Gamble, introduced the concept of “moments of truth” to the marketing world. As he wrote in the P&G Annual Report that year:
“The best brands consistently win two moments of truth. The first moment occurs at the store shelf, when a consumer decides whether to buy one brand or another. The second occurs at home, when she uses the brand — and is delighted, or not.”
P&G quickly followed up with the idea of a third moment of truth focused on post-purchase word of mouth. Later, in 2011, Google VP (and P&G alum) Jim Lecinski coined the idea of the zero moment of truth, when consumers realized they need something and do pre-purchase research (often, of course, by Googling it).
Twenty years after A.G. Lafley introduced the concept, moments of truth still carry a tremendous amount of influence in how we think about marketing. Marketers now create elaborate customer journey maps oriented around these and other “moments that matter” in a consumer’s path to purchase and focus their marketing on “winning” these moments.
So why does customer experience still so often fall flat? Despite having more tools, technology, and data than ever, the actual customer experience rarely lives up to the potential. Lately, I’ve been giving a new keynote talk on this topic titled “The Customer Journey to Nowhere” (here’s a recap and video of a recent one).
Customer journey mapping has trained us to think of consumers primarily as buyers on a linear path to purchase, rather than as complex human individuals with ever-changing needs who don’t think about our brands nearly as much as we think they do.
It’s easy for marketers to develop “Funnel Vision” — losing sight of the actual consumer because we’re so focused on the classic linear marketing stages of Awareness, Trial, Repeat, and Loyalty.
I’ve always like HBS professor Theodore Levitt’s caution to avoid Marketing Myopia. As he famously said,
“People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill. They want a quarter-inch hole.”
Here are a few related cartoons I’ve drawn over the years: