Traditionally, marketers have keyed in on three stages in the buying process: stimulus, point of sale, and customer experience. After being prompted by stimulus like an advertisement, customers go to the shelf — literal or metaphorical — to make a purchase, a split second called the “first moment of truth.” After they bring their shiny new purchase home, their experience with the product constitutes the “second moment of truth.” In the Internet age, however, another moment of truth has cropped up: the zero moment.

The Zero Moment of Truth

The zero moment of truth, or ZMOT as it’s popularly known, is the longer period of decision-making when a consumer decides what he or she is going to buy and from which vendor. In modern times, that almost always entails online research. People head to search engines to feel out the market by conducting preliminary research on the features and brands that matter. Buyer’s guides and consumer reports play a large role in guiding potential customers, or leads. Leads browse reviews written by other consumers, compare alternatives, and seek out deals and coupons. Collectively, these research-oriented tasks are dubbed the ZMOT, and they’re a crucial step in the purchasing process of most modern consumers.

Why the ZMOT Matters

With this knowledge in your back pocket, you can see the importance of buyer’s guides. Consumers trust buyer’s guides as a voice of authenticity in the online world, where it can be hard to see exactly what you’re getting until it’s in your hands. Companies like ConsumerAffairs offer buyer’s guides in many diverse categories, for example:

  • Alarm and security systems
  • Auto insurance companies
  • Dog food
  • Credit cards
  • Travel insurance

Authentic customer reviews of your business and products on a trusted buyer’s guide can make or break your digital marketing campaign when consumers are already familiar with your brand name. Aside from endorsement, however, buyer’s guides can also be a great way of bringing new customers to your brand, especially if you are seeking additional ways to have a stronger presence in organic search.

Leads are likely to search for general buyer’s guides as a jumping-off point, so having your brand included among other recommended brands is a great idea. And, as any SEO buff knows, getting your brand within the first few results on a search is ideal in any successful marketing campaign. With buyer’s guides often occupying those valuable results slots, having your brand listed on buyer’s guides can give your brand a critical SEO boost, helping land your name at the top of the search engine results pages even if your own website is not doing as well. Buyer’s guides can — and should — be a part of your organic SEO strategy. Learn more in the free guide to social proof, created by our team of experts at