Two Moments of Truth

This is where consumer decisions meet marketing decisions. 

Definitions vary. The First Moment of Truth (FMOT) is either when you put a product in your trolley, or when you check it out. The Second Moment of Truth (SMOT) is when you eat it or use it. In a bar FMOT is the bar call, SMOT is the ‘cheers’ moment. 

Research has shown that shopping lists overwhelmingly consist of products, not brands. Also that just over 75% of in-store purchase decisions are on impulse, and that it takes between three and seven seconds to choose the item you want. 

For those of us who spent the best years of our lives planning ad campaigns, these stats are pretty depressing.

Nor are they very reassuring for a veteran pitch consultant. All that time and process to find the best agency in the world, and Mrs Cameron in Notting Hill chooses an own label yoghurt in 5 seconds flat. 

Even Professor Spence must shudder. Some of the best minds in Oxford have advised the wine company on the shape and weight of the bottle, the design and colour of the label, even on the flavour and nose of the wine itself……………and Mr Osborne has selected half a case of Chile’s finest at £4.99 a bottle. 

But that’s how it is with decisions. You can be very influential in the ones you contribute to yourself. But a stressed customer in a hurry and a cash flow crisis can decide against logic and reason, and your best laid plans are frustrated. 

None of this means that marketing and advertising decisions do not need the greatest care, and informed inputs. 

Of course it is worth finessing product formulation and packaging by building in sophisticated calculations on how it impacts on the consumer’s taste, touch, sight, smell, and hearing. It is everyone’s task to make the product deliver at both FMOT and SMOT. 

Traditional and digital advertising and marketing communications are as vital as ever to set up the desire. 

Just as long as we never forget that the real consumer isn’t in a focus group or lab. She’s left herself just three to seven seconds to load her trolley with a brand (yours, someone else’s or an own brand). 

Marketers have to make their decisions with all the limitations of  consumer decision making in mind. 

So why don’t they invest more money at or near the point of sale? Good question. Those clever people at P&G have upped their spend by four times.