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Capturing the First Moment of Truth in Marketing Analytics

Blog_15_HeaderDuring a recent presentation, I had to pause when I was asked what I meant by FMOT. I hadn’t really thought about it, but it had been more than a decade since Procter & Gamble first explained in 2005 how their strategies were targeted at winning the first moment of truth (FMOT) and the second moment of truth (SMOT). Since then, others have added the zero and third moments, but none are more important than the first. During this presentation, I realized that 2005 predated the careers of many audience members and I knew it was time for a refresher.

P&G defined the first moment of truth as the precious 3 – 7 seconds when a shopper compares their products with all of the SKUs offered on the store shelf. This is the best chance to appeal to non-P&G buyers, to convince existing buyers to buy again (or buy more), and to entice buyers of competing brands to switch to the Procter offering. The key to the first moment of truth was to use that very short window of opportunity to profitably grow the brand portfolio, leveraging the right assortment, merchandising, and pricing incentives to influence that choice.


Those of you who follow the Middlegame blog know what we describe as the “wide angle view,” and the importance of shopper choice at the shelf. Unfortunately, we fail to see the same emphasis placed on shopper choice in most marketing analytics. Most marketing analytics tools are dedicated to optimizing budgets for paid media as well as further explaining the impact of owned and earned media. Assortment, merchandising and pricing often get little attention in these analytics, and are pushed onto the sales force, distributors and retailers. These stakeholders take the FMOT very seriously, but their goals and subsequent performance metrics are often very different than the strategic focus required to profitably grow the brand portfolio.

Middlegame has completed approximately 600 studies that evaluate the effectiveness of marketing across all four moments of truth. We find that >80% of opportunity are adjustments to the assortment, merchandising, and pricing levers that directly influence the first moment of truth. The remaining <20% are adjustments to media. Again, these opportunities are in sharp contrast to the observed use of analytics, with >60% dedicated to the effectiveness of various media formats to facilitate other moments of truth.

Having been part of the marketing departments at several large CPG firms, the partners at Middlegame understand the tendency to focus on the parts of the marketing mix that appear to be under direct control. However, we are concerned with the significant disconnect between the potential opportunity and its true commercial impact on the portfolio. After reflecting on the FMOT question, we find an opportunity to reiterate its importance…

Middlegame is the only ROMI consultancy of its kind that offers a holistic view of the implications of resource allocation and investment in the marketplace. Our approach to scenario-planning differs from other marketing analytics providers by addressing the anticipated outcome for every SKU (your portfolio and your competitors’) in every channel. Similar to the pieces in chess, each stakeholder can now evaluate the trade-offs of potential choices and collectively apply them to create win-win results.