Branding

The Ultimate Moment of Truth: Understanding the journey of the dynamic football supporter

One of the toughest questions marketing professionals get asked regularly is, “How can customers be engaged online to the point of becoming loyal customers?” Before answering that question, it is crucial to understand the path that dynamic consumers go through. That path starts with a stimulus, which leads them through different moments before they reach the Ultimate Moment of Truth (UMOT). Brian Solis explains the path to that crucial ultimate moment in his 2013 book release, What’s the Future of Business: Changing the Way Businesses Create Experiences. Mr Solis (2013:74) explains that there are certain moments in the journey of a customer that are like SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and can be predetermined and optimised; he continues with the following critical statement:

You’re website isn’t enough.

You might think that because you have a presence on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, that you’re doing what you need to do. But, you’re not.

The future influence lies in experience. The experiences people have with your product, your company, your representatives, define the brand through the expressions they share.

The above-mentioned model can be used in #footballmarketing just like any other consumer brand uses it. It is essential to understand the dynamic journey a customer (or better in this case, a football club supporter) treads. Let’s apply the model in accordance to Mr Solis’ explanations:

The Zero and Ultimate Moment of Truth (ZMOT + UMOT)

The Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT) is what people search and find after encountering the stimulus that directs their next steps. (Solis, 2013:75) >>> This could be a friend posting a picture from Amsterdam Arena in the Netherlands, during a AFC Ajax match on Facebook and a potential new stadium visitor – aka customer – sees and enjoys it. This can be considered a social discovery.

The First Moment of Truth (FMOT) is what people think when they see a product [or brand] and it’s the impressions they form when they read the words [or see the artwork] describing the product [or brand]. (Solis, 2013:75) >>> To follow up on the scenario above, this is the moment when the above-mentioned Facebook user thinks about how cool it would be to attend a football match at that stadium; in this case Amsterdam Arena. And, if the caption that comes with the picture is attractive and enchanting, it might strengthen the wish to visit the stadium to experience the atmosphere of a Dutch Eredivisie football match.

The Second Moment of Truth (SMOT) is what people feel, think, see, hear, touch, smell, and (sometimes) taste as they experience a product over time. It’s also how a brand supports its customers in their efforts throughout the relationship. (Solis, 2013:75) >>> Now, the potential customer becomes a paying customer and visits the Amsterdam Arena for a AFC Ajax match. If the experience is less rewarding than expected, the new customer might not return to the stadium for a second visit. Therefore, it is essential that the club and the stadium staff provide an experience that exceeds the customer’s expectations. This is where a well-planned integrated services management plan [8Ps], a discussed by Lovelock et al. (2004), comes into play: price, product, promotion, place & time, process, productivity & quality, physical evidence, and people. (We will analyse these 8Ps in a forthcoming blog post.)

The Ultimate Moment of Truth (UMOT) is that shared moment at every step of the experience that becomes the next person’s Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT). (Solis, 2013:75) >>> Actually, it is nothing an attentive marketer doesn’t know yet. Wherever consumers are, whatever they experience, they are able to post a formal or informal review in a matter of minutes on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube or any other platform. As Mr Solis points out, “When we talk about the idea of experience, it’s not only in reference to User Experience (UX) or Customer Experience, it’s also about Information Experience. (2013:74)” That said, customers are the big brothers of today with eyes (=mobile phones) and communication channels everywhere. In addition, the shared experience through social channels affects every moment of truth. Most importantly – and dangerously for reckless organisations – it affects the Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT) of a potential new customer. Because of that, football brands need to consider every touch point with their supporters in order to avoid losing a potential customer at the Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT).

IMHO

In the case above, we talked about 1 stadium visitor posting a picture onto Facebook and 1 friend’s Zero Moment of Truth was influenced by that picture. In reality hundreds of stadium visitors post pictures and videos on different platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vine, YouTube, and many more. Additionally, an uncountable amount of friends and followers experience their Zero, First, Second or Ultimate Moment of Truth. Because of that, football brands need to be alert and make sure they accompany  supporters on their dynamic journey without leaving them alone on that path. Furthermore, in the specific case of integrated services management of the stadium – the 8Ps of services marketing –, it is elementary that brand management and venue management consolidate their efforts to include digital client dialogue and offer a 360 degree experience. But, as mentioned above, more on that topic in a later post.

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