Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Weather Underground

(1:04) This week's Minute will be a deviation from my usual marketing musings. I want to take a minute to address the relationship between ActiveCaptain and Weather Underground that was announced last week. This is big news that could have a significant impact on your business. I believe it is important that you understand the implications.

(0:58) Last Tuesday Weather Underground announced that they would use the ActiveCaptain knowledgebase for the new sailing and boating section of their website. You can view the press release here:

(0:53) ActiveCaptain already has 16 third party marine navigation applications supporting our knowledgebase running on a variety of desktops, laptops, and mobile devices, and that's not counting the Garmin apps which will be released shortly. Every one of these applications offers significant value to boaters and marinas as they present valuable data at the moment boaters are planning and making their decisions (hmm, sounds like a ZMOT). And we continue to work with other developers to support new apps.

(0:42) It would be easy to lump the Weather Underground announcement into this same category. But it is different in some significant ways. Ways that could help drive more boaters to your marina.

(0:37) First, Weather Underground is one of the largest weather websites serving up to 1 million visitors a day and ranked the 151st largest website in the US. It's sheer size will mean that far more boaters will have access to your marina data. But it will also mean reaching a new class of boaters, one that is far larger than the traditional cruising boats.

(0:29) We know ActiveCaptain data is the number one information source for transient boaters. The reasons for these boaters to seek out our data are compelling. But what about the larger population of non-transient boaters? Day trippers, picnic boats, sport fishers, weekend boaters, day sailors, and numerous other boaters all turn to Weather Underground for weather predictions before heading out on the water.

(0:20) As one of the most popular sources of weather information on the web, Weather Underground reaches virtually all boaters. And now, so will you. All ActiveCaptain data including details, reviews, and Sponsor specials will be available on the Weather Underground site. What will they see when they look at your marker?

(0:13) It is now more important than ever to keep your data up-to-date and complete. Think about the services you can offer to these local boaters - fuel, ice, repairs - and make sure they are included in your marker. Check out The Marina's Guide to ActiveCaptain for help:

(0:06) Don't pass up this opportunity to win more business. Tell the world what you have to offer. It's the perfect way to ensure boaters see you during their ZMOT.

(0:02) And that's the marina minute.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

ZMOT - A Thirst for Information

(0:54) I've established that consumers are increasingly turning to online sources to make their buying decisions during ZMOT. Jim Lecinski of Google outlines five factors that make up a Zero Moment of Truth:

  • It happens online.
  • It happens in real-time.
  • The consumers are in charge, pulling the information they want rather than having it pushed on them by others.
  • It's emotional. Consumers have a need they want to satisfy and an emotional investment in finding the best solution.
  • The conversation is multi-way: marketers, friends, strangers, websites, and experts all have their say and compete for attention.

(0:39) So how can you make sure boaters have the information they need about your marina at the moment they need it?

(0:35) I know that boaters are increasingly making their destination decisions during ZMOT. I not only see it in the exponential growth of reviews and updates for ActiveCaptain but I hear it every day in emails, online comments, and personal encounters with other boaters. They are using the wealth of information provided by ActiveCaptain and other sources to make their selections.

(0:26) A key component of ZMOT is the real-time, self-pursuing nature of the boater's search. To be successful you must be where the boater is searching, when they are searching. This is why it is important that you keep your information in the ActiveCaptain database accurate, complete, and up-to-date. It's easy to do.

(0:19) You simply need a free ActiveCaptain account. Please make your captain name and home port reflect that you are with the marina. For more detailed information about doing this and to learn about all the features and capabilities we offer marinas to stand out during ZMOT, check out the Marina's Guide in the Help Center.

(0:12) In today's new marketing reality, information presented too early is forgotten and information presented too late is, well, too late. Having information readily available when a boater is at the Zero Moment of Truth will ensure they will find you at the very moment they are making their buying decision. Make sure you are there with the information boaters need and you can win more business.

(0:02) And that's the marina minute.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

ZMOT - The Exception is the Rule

(1:01) Consumers have always done research on products and services, whether it was chatting over the fence, going to the library to see Consumer Reports, or using a hotel, restaurant or other consumer guidebook. Zagat even sized their guides to fit in a pocketbook possibly making them one of the first mobile apps. The problem for most purchases however was quick, easy access. Finding good, recent information was the exception. But not anymore.

(0:51) Today there are virtually no barriers to accessing information about most anything - and we carry that access in our pockets. This allows consumers to create their own consumer guides every day as they read reviews, tweets, blogs, social network posts, videos, and more about products or services they are interested in. It is often during this moment of researching that decisions are made.

(0:41) Now when a boater is interested in cruising to Savannah they will typically begin by doing their own research for information and the research will typically be done online. They are no longer passive, they are active seekers of information and they expect to be satisfied. Kim Kadlec, worldwide vice president of Global Marketing Group for Johnson & Johnson describes it this way:

(0:32) "We're entering an era of reciprocity. We now have to engage people in a way that's useful or helpful to their lives. The consumer is looking to satisfy their needs, and we have to be there to help them with that. To put it another way: How can we exchange value instead of just sending a message?"

(0:23) You need to be ready for a boater's ZMOT 24/7. You need to help the boater find the information they seek that will lead them to your marina. The days of "call us for more information" are gone. You need to provide the critical information boaters want at the moment they want it because if you don't your competition will.

(0:13) The question to ask yourself is, are you ready for a boater who is at the Zero Moment of Truth?

(0:10) Make sure you are aware of how your marina is being presented during ZMOT. What do your potential customers see when they are doing their ZMOT research? Step back and take a look. In the next installment I'll look at things you can do to ensure they see what you want when they plan their cruises.

(0:02) And that's the marina minute.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

ZMOT - The Rules Have Changed

(1:19) Even before we had a name for it, consumers were using two moments of truth when making purchasing decisions. The first moment was when a consumer made the buying decision, selecting one product or service over another. The second was when that product or service was used and the consumer was pleased, or not. There was a time when success in these two moments meant success for your business.

(1:06) That is no longer the case. Today when a consumer hears about a product or service or even a political candidate, their first reaction is to go online for more information.

(1:01) ZMOT (Zero Moment of Truth) is that moment when you use your laptop, mobile phone, or some other device to research a product, service, or virtually anything you are considering buying, using, or voting for.

(0:54) We have access to information virtually any time, virtually anywhere. Hundreds of millions of times a day consumers are using their mobile phones, laptops, and other devices to seek out information. It has created the Zero Moment of Truth where marketing, information, and consumer choices happen. These moments can mean the difference between success and failure of your business.

(0:42) According to Google, 70% of Americans now say they look at product reviews before making a purchase, 79% of consumers now say they use a smartphone to help with shopping, and 83% of moms say they do online research after seeing TV commercials for products that interest them. This is the new reality and it is spreading from consumer products, to services, to healthcare, even to politics. It is how more and more boaters are making their own decisions too - at that Zero Moment of Truth.

(0:27) ZMOT changes the rules. Of course, consumers still need to pick your product or service and then have a good experience. However, today consumers have often formed their first impressions and even made their final purchase decisions during ZMOT and if you're not there you won't win.

(0:18) To successfully navigate your customers' ZMOT you need to understand what information they are looking for and where and how they will find it. You no longer have the choice of simply presenting them the message you want them to hear. Consumers want real information, in real-time, whenever they want it. Provide them that and you can win.

(0:08) The first step to doing this is to understand the new process consumers use to make these decisions. You will find it familiar because you likely do it everyday with your own buying decisions without evening thinking about it.

(0:02) And that's the marina minute.