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Work out your zero moment of uncertainty – then crush it

Every business has a zero moment of uncertainty. Here’s why it matters and what you should do about it.

stacey riordan?I recently attended the CFO Summit held at Sky City. As a marketer I wasn’t there to attend the sessions, but to make sure that our exhibit ran as smoothly as planned and did a great job of starting conversations. However, one item on the agenda did catch my eye and I went along to hear Andy Lark speak on “The New Marketing Agenda”.

Lark provided insight for the financially minded into the ways in which marketing is changing, and how budgets and spending need to adapt to reflect these changes. In the big scheme of things he was selling electricity to the Amish, and any marketers in the room would have been all over the shift away from traditional advertising to digital, and the need to be innovative, agile and entrepreneurial with marketing budgets.

However, Lark speaking persuasively from an independent position saw many of the financially minded in the room convert to electricity and I’m sure a few lightbulbs were illuminated. Some of his most salient points were relevant across business functions:

* Technology ROI has moved away from enabling us to work better to empowering companies to gain attention through the differentiation of brands and acquisition of new customers in markets.

* CFOs and all other leadership functions absolutely need to stop “swimming in their lane” and get out of the pool to remain competitive. In particular, finance needs to stop asking “how much will it cost?” and start asking “what do we need to drive the business goals and aspirations?” This will result in a different conversation and relationship with marketing, and the rest of the business.

* Businesses should remember Maya Angelo’s famous quote “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

* On a related note, if you haven’t before, watch Simon Sinek’s excellent TED talk on the importance of “why”, not “what” or “how” (Ed: And read this story on how Kiwi business leaders, guided by their missions, are crushing the competition.)

* And most importantly: Work out your business’s zero moment of uncertainty, and crush it.

The zero moment of uncertainty is the point in any interaction, including human to human, human to business, human to technology, where the receiver is left waiting for the next expected action, usually wondering if their request will be fulfilled. Postal companies are terrible at managing customers’ zero moments of uncertainty, as are many other business like customer service businesses.

One business that Lark outlined as doing an excellent job of using technology to fill this gap in customer experience is Dominos Pizza, who uses Facebook and real-time tracking of pizza orders to eliminate their customers’ zero moment of uncertainty. The pay off of investing in this type of marketing activity is that Dominos is now not only the biggest pizza chain in Australia, but also the biggest pizza chain in the home of pizza, Italy. A clear illustration of the power of technology to differentiate brands and gain new customers.

Every business has a zero moment of uncertainty, so figure out what yours is and hone in on it using technology to not only satisfy your customers, but to attract new ones.

Stacey Riordan is the marketing manager for Origin IT by day, but at night she likes to watch people sleep through the gaps in their curtains. This post originally appeared on her blog

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