Tag Archives: AIDAS

Awareness versus Persuasion

In the early days of Home Shopping Network (live TV, not online), we were doing some ethnographic research and started to find “physical clusters” of customers – neighbors or people who worked together.  For example, one of these groups was nurses at hospitals,  especially nurses  who worked the night shift.

We looked for the most active member of the cluster (our “thought leader”) and asked them if they would help us with a “member get a member” program.  Would they be willing to distribute discount coupons to their friends, especially ones who were not already customers?  Time after time, the answer was:

“Honey, all my friends are already customers of yours”.

We launched the program anyway, because it was a pet project from upstairs  – I was a junior marketer at that point so I couldn’t kill it ;)  The program never, ever worked, no matter how hard we tried.  It generated very few new customers while giving lots of discounts to people who were already active buyers.  Basically,  the cost of those discounts overwhelmed the value of the new customers generated.

Apparently a similar thing happens online with Social marketing.

As part of a WAA program that reviews academic research for WAA members, I was able to take a look at a paper titled:  Firm-Created Word-of-Mouth Communication: Evidence from a Field Test by David Godes and Dina Mayzlin.

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Online Ads are Navigation

Open your mind for a minute.

What if what the media / agency complex has been telling you all along about online advertising is not really true.  What if Advertising  – from the end user (visitor) perspective – performs a fundamentally different job online than it does offline?  What if the entire game is different than you think it is?  Might that explain why it’s so difficult to get any agreement on the value of online advertising?

Please bear with me; see if this makes any sense to you.

Offline, it’s important that you remember an ad.  That’s because you are rarely in a position to take advantage of or act on the ad when you are exposed to it – unless you are sitting in front of a computer.  Awareness, Recall, all those nice measurements the offliners do are important for offline Advertising, because the job of offline Advertising is get you to remember it so you can Act on the Advertising when you are in a position to do so.

Online, you can immediately investigate the products or services advertised, get 3rd party opinions, and so forth.  You can convert Awareness to Intent and Desire in a matter of moments, if not take Action as well –  if you are interested in what is being Advertised.

The fundamental answer to every question you have about online advertising might be really simple, if you think this way:

Online Ads are Navigation

They are not Advertising, in the traditional sense of offline Advertising.

Content sources serve the role of traditional Advertising online.

Not the ad itself.

Online, the Web Site is the Ad.

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