Written by Richard Marcil on January 7, 2014
in Healthcare Marketing

As marketers, many of us learned to build marketing plans focusing on three “purchase journey” moments, stimulus, at shelf and purchase.  Likewise, until the early 2000’s, MBA programs still thought marketing stimulus under the pillars of the AIDA-model , a “modern purchase funnel” model that stands for Awareness, Interest, Desire, and Action, whether it be for professional influence or patient activation.

It’s time to upend this old model and this older way of thinking.  Reality is that the “purchase journey” model never really applied to a patient’s health journey.  And in 2014, the AIDA model just isn’t salient in a world where patients are deluged with advertising and where media is so fragmented.

And let’s not forget that today’s PatientConsumer™ is truly empowered and already actively seeking information and solutions to what ails them.


That’s why we find Google’s ZMOT’s model more practical and applicable to today’s marketing challenges.  ZMOT stands for Zero Moment of Truth.  To that we add FMOT, the First Moment Of Truth, and SMOT, the Second Moment Of Truth.


In the patient journey, think of the Zero Moment Of Truth as the early symptomatic stage or pre-diagnosis.  Yes, the PatientConsumer™ may have been exposed to brand advertising, branded or unbranded, probably actively searching information and solutions.  And this is most likely her first exposure to your brand, whether a health website, a forum mention, a U.S. ad, etc.

Are you managing for ZMOT and educating the PatientConsumer™ accordingly?


The First Moment Of Truth is most often attributed to A.G. Afley, the CEO of P&G.  He characterized FMOT as the moment when the consumer is looking at the store shelf and trying to decide which product to purchase.  In a healthcare model, this is typically when a physician makes a product/brand choice on behalf of the patient, which is often a patient’s first real exposure to your brand.

Are you managing for FMOT and creating a positive brand impression?


The Second Moment Of Truth is the one health marketers are increasingly paying attention to.  In healthcare marketing, SMOT is usually addressed through compliance and adherence initiatives.  Oftentimes however, therapeutic success is a function of broader pharmacological and non-pharmacological compliance, e.g. healthy lifestyle, proper nutrition, exercise regimens, etc.  And over the medium to long term also, beyond a patient start.

Are you managing for SMOT and creating lasting brand engagement?

With 2014 plans mostly cemented, think of how to better manage ZMOT, FMOT and SMOT. Like it or not, the PatientConsumer™ is taking charge of her health like never before. Make sure your brand is prepared to be present, and relevant, at each Moment of Truth.

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