I remember when my university teacher introduced us to the AIDA model. I stared at the smart whiteboard as she explained every step. Once she was done the only thing that I thought was how obvious it is, and how much sense it all makes. And while it might seem like something you already know, it’s actually a bit more complicated and many disregard how powerful the model is.
Every single example that I got that day stayed with me, but the main lesson was that even if it looks obvious, I still need to make sure I follow the steps carefully.
What is the AIDA model?
The AIDA model is one of the best-known marketing models among the classic marketing models. It is the ancestor of modern funnels we see everywhere today and is mainly used to follow the customer journey through four dimensions.
“One of many models that analyze and measure the customer’s journey from ignorance to purchase. The AIDA model is simple, which partly explains its longevity and widespread use. The model was developed in 1898 by St Elmo Lewis in an attempt to explain how personal selling works. The model laid out a sequence that describes the process a salesperson must lead a potential customer through in order to achieve a sale.” (Oxford Reference)
Awareness, Interest, Desire, and Action.
You need to create awareness with your potential customers, then fuel his interest to an extent that it will become desire, and after that, make sure he/she will be able to take the action you want them to take. Easy right? If it’s so straightforward then why do so many businesses fail? There are so many different reasons but one that stands out the most is “neglect”. Yes, indeed, many are neglecting to put any effort into carefully and thoroughly going into all four dimensions. To help you out, I would like to share some questions which you can answer to better understand your customer journey.
Let’s go over the stages a customer goes through during the decision-making process for purchasing a product or service.
Let’s face it, if you are starting out, you probably only have a few people around you who know about your brand. Your mom is probably your biggest fan but you can’t rely on her forever to pay the bills. So what could you do? Create awareness in your target audience by providing the knowledge that something they might need and like exists. Sit down with a pen and paper, or your shiny laptop and start answering these questions:
- How do I make my potential customers aware of my product and services?
- Where do my potential customers spend their time?
- What outreach strategy shall I use?
- What channels or tools shall I use to spread the word?
- What should my message be so it best delivers the purpose of my products/services?
You answered all the above questions and you are good to go. Now you know where you need to broadcast your message to reach your audience and create awareness. Now it’s time to think about how to make them interested in your offerings. Try working your mind around these questions:
- Which feature in my product/service will create the most interest in my audience?
- What type of content shall I create that my audience will find valuable?
- Could I provide case studies or testimonials, which will increase the trust factor in my brand?
- How often should I reach my audience to keep a good balance between being relevant and being spammy?
- Does my product/service invoke any emotion?
You did really well and now your audience is liking you a lot. They are interested in your product or services, but they are not yet ready to consider investing in your offerings. Now it’s time for you to turn the “I like it” into “I want it”. What should you do next? Give yourself time to answer the following:
- What will make my product/service more desirable?
- What is the additional value I am offering?
- What can I do to interact with my audience personally and create an emotional connection?
You reached a tipping point. Now your audience wants your products or services. At this step, you need to make sure they take an action. You would probably not believe me when I tell you how often this step is overlooked and that making a few small changes could make a huge difference for most businesses. To get it right from the start pay attention to these questions:
- How easy is it for my customer to purchase my product/service?
- Do I have a clear call to actions (CTA) and are they easily visible?
- Do I offer good after sales support to create the feeling of reassurance?
You’ve answered all the questions and are now ready to shine!
Of course, these are just a small part of the thinking and the research you would need to do, but it’s a great start.
Is the AIDA model outdated?
Buying behavior is a complex set of processes, which might not fit into the set boundaries of the AIDA model. There are indeed many factors that influence how we make decisions to buy or not to buy something. A few years ago I stumbled upon a research paper that attempted to apply neuroscience perspective on the AIDA model. Their finding was not in favor of the traditional model, stating that:
“…the neuroscience studies and understanding of consumer behavior traits over the past decades don’t decline the importance and neurobiological basis of attention, interest, desire and action in the marketing, but it does confirm that this proposed sequences of AIDA model cannot be suitable in the market anymore and there is a considerable need to replace the appropriate model for the marketing fields” (Source: On the hierarchy of choice: An applied neuroscience perspective on the AIDA model)
Outdated or not, the AIDA model is a powerful marketing tool in the hands of the person who understands how to implement it well. Carefully go over each of the four steps and make sure that you are not missing anything, if you are, then your customers are missing it too. Focus on the smooth transition in between the phases to ensure your customer journey is completed. Here is a little something extra to think about next time you are developing your marketing strategy.
“You can’t transform something you don’t understand. If you don’t know and understand what the current state of the customer experience is, how can you possibly design the desired future state?” – Annette Franz