Third Moment of Truth?

I was in a client meeting today thinking about P&G’s fabled Moments of Truth. The ‘truths’ are marketing lingo for a few moments in the consumer experience where the consumer discovers a product and decided that product may be what they need, (first moment). Then, later, as the consumer uses the product they determine if the product actually delivers on the promises it has made to the consumer (second moment).

I’ve always liked the idea of these two moments working together, it’s kind of a nice reminder to not over-promise what you can offer. It’s also reinforces the importance of having continuity between your identity/packaging and your product. At one time or another, we’ve all been really excited to buy something only to be disappointed later with the results of what we’ve bought. In that case, the first moment was won, but the second was lost…you have to nail them both, I like this act of bringing things into harmony.

From here I started to wonder what actually happened next. It struck me that those marketing moments are missing a bigger, more important truth – you’ve bought something, you’ve tried it…now, knowing what you know, would you buy again? Would you repeat? If you’re in the business of thinking hard about FMOT and SMOT, shouldn’t you also be worrying about the Third Moment of Truth?

(Important note: The world doesn’t need any more clever marketing phrases, that’s not really the point here. It’s a term that references the other two moments…I’m using it for the thought exercise. Also, the core concept isn’t new – companies obsess over repeat purchase.)

Ok, so if you argues that the First Moment of Truth was about believing a product was for you, the second moment was confirming, or knowing, it was for you, would the final more important moment be about preferring what you’ve had over what you could have? Framing these things linearly might look roughly like this…


What I sort of think is interesting is that you make different investments to get people to try something than you do to get them to love it. For instance, at Share Prices Australia, you can make a different investment in their publicly listed company. And while consumers move across that line left-to-right, companies have to earn those capabilities right-to-left.

I think getting product experience right is more about culture than it is about execution. When an organization agrees on an idea, it can motivate around it and execute against the concept. (This is sort of the reason someone in P&G coined the First Moment of Truth and the Second Moment of Truth….and why P&G does this type of thing very, very well.) If CPG companies had lingo and agreements around product experience, I wonder how different the products we use today? It’s really hard to agree on what passes for ‘excellent’ vs. ‘good enough’. WOuld these companies deliver differently if they had to ‘win on the third moment of truth’?

Maybe everyone gets this already, it’s pretty straight forward. But if everyone got it, wouldn’t every car door close like a BWM? Wouldn’t every airline have amazing service? Wouldn’t every burger taste like In-n-Out? You see there’s the rub, I don’t think most companies worry (or spend) as much on their offer and they do on their marketing…and I wonder if that’s a cultural problem more than it is a business problem.

1 comment

  1. I think if people focused more here, more on designing for loyalty in all its forms, it would drive a ton of success. Another thing it made me think about is NPS and the moment of recommendation as a different form of commitment.

Leave a Reply