Tuesday, July 25, 2017

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, 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 or using.

(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. 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. More next week.

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

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

ZMOT - Intro

(0:58) There's a concept in marketing known as the Moment of Truth, developed at Proctor & Gamble in 2005, defining two critical moments of a consumer purchase. The First Moment of Truth (FMOT) is when the consumer encounters a product on the shelf and makes the decision to purchase. The Second Moment of Truth (SMOT) is the experience the consumer has after they have bought the product. For a product to survive it must be successful in both Moments. For years the principles surrounding these Moments of Truth have been followed by successful companies.

(0:47) Google took a fresh look at this concept to determine what impact the internet has had on a consumer's Moment of Truth. They realized that with the wealth of information available to consumers today there is another Moment of Truth and called it the Zero Moment of Truth or ZMOT (pronounced ZEE-mot). Jim Lecinski of Google wrote a terrific digital book, Winning The Zero Moment of Truth. Given the origin of this concept, it is steeped in consumer products. However, there are many examples of its use across markets. I believe the applications to the marina market are many.

(0:34) I'd like to take the next few weeks to introduce you to some of the concepts because I believe they are critical to success in the new information age that we all live and work in. Here are his major conclusions:

* The buying decision journey has changed. ZMOT is a vital new addition to the classic three-step process of stimulus, shelf (FMOT), experience (SMOT).

* What was once a message is now a conversation. Shoppers today find and share their own information about products, in their own way, on their own time.

* Word of mouth is stronger than ever. For the first time in human history, word of mouth is a digitally archived medium.

* No MOT is too small. If consumers will do research online for houses and health care, they'll also do it for Band-Aids and ballpoint pens.

* The MOTs are meeting. Our mobile devices are MOT machines. As mobile usage grows, the zero, first and second moments of truth are converging.

(0:06) I'll delve into more detail in the coming weeks and try to relate some of the concepts to the world of boating. It's a new world which means new opportunities for those willing to adapt.

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

Since ActiveCaptain became a part of the Garmin family, there has been much behind the scenes activity. To keep up and still find time to sleep (and play with the dogs) I am needing to take a brief hiatus from writing the weekly Minutes. So I am rerunning a popular series from 2012, ZMOT or Zero Moment of Truth. The points are even more relevant today than they were 5 years ago.

This doesn't mean I am not available to answer your questions or to help if you need it. Working with our Partner marinas is one of my favorite activities!

Have a great summer!

Karen Siegel

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Anchoring Zen

(1:12) In the early days of ActiveCaptain, marinas sometimes complained about nearby anchorage markers and wanted them removed. That was something we wouldn't do.

(1:08) Anchorages are a key part of the cruising experience. They've always been a major part on the ActiveCaptain data. Understanding how and where they fit can help you use them to your advantage.

(1:03) While there are boaters who never drop the hook and ones that never tie up, the majority fall somewhere in the middle. We estimate that we're split about half and half, and love doing both.

(0:58) If we're on the move, nothing is simpler than anchoring after a long day and leaving at daybreak the next morning. And there are many wonderful places that can only be accessed by anchoring, most of the 1,800 islands of the Penobscot Bay in Maine, for example.

(0:51) When we do pull into a marina, it is typically for a few days, a week, or even a month. It's a time to provision, visit with friends, and explore the sites. The convenience of marina amenities, easy on/off the boat, and a courtesy car or other transportation features are always appreciated.

(0:43) So what does this mean to you?

(0:41) If you are a municipality, consider making dinghy access at the town dock a free service. There is no better way to bring in customers for the businesses in town and to encourage tourism. There are many times we have anchored and used a free dinghy dock and decided to return for a longer stay at a marina in the future. Municipalities charging or otherwise making it difficult for transient boaters to visit are losing sight of the economic impact of cruising boaters.

(0:28) But it's different for commercial marinas. Here you need to consider the needs of paying boaters and how their experience is affected. In this case, fees are reasonable, especially if you are providing access to your amenities.

(0:23) Offering a free or low cost option can be a good marketing tool and build goodwill with boaters. Maybe a dinghy dock for restaurant patrons or a limited tie up to visit the grocery or hardware store.

(0:18) For some marinas even this is not practical - for example, when security on the docks is key. In this case, know the options available to bring a dinghy to shore and tell them to boaters. They'll remember your kindness in the future.

(0:12) In all cases, transparency is key. Make your policies concerning dinghy access clear, easy to find, and consistent. Make sure they are included under the Dockage/Dinghy Dock item. State if you do not offer access and list any nearby options.

(0:06) The typical cruising boater spends time at the dock and time on the hook. Make me feel welcome in both cases and I'll reward you with my business.

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

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Your Hours

(1:02) A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about how boaters make their marina selection decisions. I touched on the importance of transparency and accuracy in your pricing. There's another area where you need to be precise - your business hours. This has actually been a pet peeve of mine from way back.

(0:54) In all aspects of your marina, the simpler you make it for me to do business with you, the more likely I am to do just that. Finding out what hours you are open should be trivial and obvious. List your hours under the "Year round or seasonal" item in your ActiveCaptain marker. Have them on your website - I'd suggest putting them on the bottom of every page. Why not include them with your address and phone number?

(0:42) And always include them in your voicemail message for your phone. It never ceases to amaze me when businesses fail to take advantage of their telephone as a sales tool. If I've called, I'm interested. Make it easy for me to know when to call back or come in.

(0:35) Then make every effort possible to keep to your hours. This Minute actually came out of several reviews I saw recently that complained about marinas not being available during their advertised open hours.

(0:30) Put yourself in the boater's shoes. It's 7:40 am, the fuel dock's hours are listed as opening at 7:30 am. I pull up my anchor or leave the slip, maneuver to the dock only to find no one there. The chances are that you have now lost a customer that you had previously won.

(0:22) I am likely to move on to another fuel dock. But even if I have no choice but to wait for you, I will be far less likely to return. The message that you have sent is one of disregard for me, your customer.

(0:16) I know that some of you are highly seasonal. It's fine to indicate that in the off-season hours are limited or variable and to call. Just ensure you check calls and return them.

(0:10) It's the old adage to treat others as you would wish to be treated. Imagine how you would feel waiting outside your local grocery store or gas station after opening hours with no one to serve you. You would probably move on. And that's not good for business.

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