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.

Continue reading Awareness versus Persuasion

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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.

Continue reading Online Ads are Navigation

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Feed Advertising Sucks Too

As much, or perhaps more, than the rest of Display.

I mean, here’s a chance to get it right. 

You know who the audience is what the context is of readers on a feed.  But no, once again, the brilliant Social engineers go for Quantity, not Quality, which is the mistake the Web has been making since “Hits”.  Quantity only makes sense if you can get Weight from the media, and the web has no Weight.

Here I am, reading the feed for the Freakonomics blog, and I get a dating ad (click to enlarge):


The Freakonomics blog would be a great advertising environment for so many products, whether you are in the Direct camp or the Brand camp.  But instead, we’re just going to Repeat the Past.


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Broken Online Model Endcap

I’m going to leave the Requirements / Model issue to simmer for a while; thanks for all your help exploring it.  I get the feeling people might want to connect with more practical ideas right now and not take on the windmills of the Tech / Marketing Interface.

So I’ll wrap up with a few relevant links to what others have recently said about this model / requirements problem.

Facebook COO

Yesterday, Ad Age tells us that Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg said this:

“Google and its competitors have made answering demands for information very profitable by selling ads attached to search requests, or demand fulfillment, Ms. Sandberg a former Google executive herself, noted.  “What no one’s figured out how to do is demand generation,” she said.  “We need to find a new model and new metrics,” she added.

It’s the Serendipity problem, right?  You can’t Search for what you don’t know about already?

  Continue reading Broken Online Model Endcap

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New Online Marketing Model First?

Well, the call for a new Online Marketing Requirements doc to correct the Wrong Model, Dumb Money problem did not get much traction so far.  So I’m thinking maybe you need a new Online Marketing Model first to hang the Requirements doc on.  Fair enough.

Here’s the challenge: I don’t think there is a universal enough agreement on what online brings to the Marketing party.  Sure, it gets explained in tons of ways, but for the most part these explanations are all Tactical stuff – do this, get that.

That’s not good enough, that’s too small, and it’s not unique to online.  CEO’s and CMO’s are looking for the Strategy edge, and they are looking for ways Online is a “logical fit” into the Marketing Mix.  What is online “for”, and perhaps more importantly, what can it do better than what we already have?

This is important because if you can get to this place, then you have leverage, then you have the ability to draw more money into Online Marketing / Analysis – because it is different.

  Continue reading New Online Marketing Model First?

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Optimizing General Communication (Band 4)

In the Band 3 Optimization, we’re concerned about the Interface, the moment of truth when people who have Awareness, Interest, and Desire generated in Bands 1 and 2 are ready to take Action.  If we are successful at Optimizing the Interface, people take Action and become Customers, entering Band 4 of the model.

At HSN, we looked at customer communication this way: as soon as a customer makes their first purchase, they begin the defection (dis-Engagement) process.  I’ve referred to this idea before as “customers naturally fall down through the bands“.  The approach assumes every customer interaction we have after the first purchase directly affects how long this new customer will remain a customer.

Continue reading Optimizing General Communication (Band 4)

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Your Segment or Mine?

Not sure if all the web analytics folks out there will appreciate this post, but I’m pretty sure at least some of you are interested in how all the things we talk about in the Web Analytics / Database Marketing world fit into the larger world of Marketing.  So following on a question from Judah on depth of segmentation, and a post you should read from Gary on joining behavioral and demo / psycho segments, I thought I would offer this example.

One of the challenges people seem to have with behavioral segmentation is finding a way to organize it in their mind.  It just seems too overwhelming to think of Marketing to individuals at the “right time” based on behavior as opposed to some “calendar” idea where you communicate to everybody at once. 

If you want to create a “structure” or “process” to hang behavioral communications on, try this one.

Below is a chart I created in 1993 to explain what Marketing looked like at HSN (you can click for a larger image in a new window):

Continue reading Your Segment or Mine?

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Engagement Defined (for Marketing)

Before we move into the Tactical stuff, I would like you to think about something, and if you could, give it more than a passing thought.  Here goes:

If you stopped all Advertising to customers today, what would happen to customer activity in the next 90 days?

In some businesses, Sales / Visits from customers would slow down a lot.  These are typically offline, low-Engagement businesses, the kinds of businesses that require a ton of advertising to drive Sales.  People don’t really care much about the products one way or the other – they’re not Engaged with the business.  Many packaged goods products are in this camp, for example.  They need Advertising.

In other businesses, and in particular many web businesses, Sales / Visits from customers would slow only a little.  This is because the customers are Engaged with the product, the site, the community, and so forth.  They come back anyway – regardless of whether you Advertise to them or not.

This is Engagement, folks, from a Marketing perspective.  The emotional bond, the Desirability, the Delight.

This is why Interactivity is different, and why Interactive Marketing should be treated differently.  The customer has always-on, 24 hour a day access to the business, and they are Delighted by that access, stimulated by that access, enjoy that Interactivity.  Many customers will come back even if you don’t Advertise to them.

That is, if you have Engaged them.  Engagement is more powerful than Advertising, in many ways Engagement replaces Advertising, Engagement IS Advertising.

Is that so hard to understand in a Web 2.0 world?

Personally, when measuring web site activity, I don’t think it’s really appropriate to create a box of Actions called “Engagement” and declare “if a visitor does this, they are Engaged”.  What I care about is they came back at all.  People have all kinds of reasons to visit an Engaging web site / business; they are in different modes and do different kinds of things.  As far as I’m concerned, they can take whatever action they wanted to take, as long as they came back.  To me, that’s Engagement.

And the idea of them deciding not to come back, well, that’s dis-Engagement.  As a Marketer in an Interactive business, that’s what you have to pay the most attention to.   Follow the dis-Engagement cycle, and for highest ROMI, use the right messages at the right times.

Because when folks are Engaged, well, they come back all by themselves, and I don’t need to do any Advertising to them.  That’s not to say I shouldn’t do any Marketing with them.  For those Engaged folks, what I am doing on the site as far as Products, Usability, Features, Service, unique / special Messaging, etc. – that’s what keeps people Engaged, that’s what I should focus Marketing skills on.  Spend some time in Customer Service, for example, and figure out what Marketing can do to help.

I only need to put the Advertising hat on when they start to dis-Engage, and then it’s all about knowing why.  Which segments are dis-Engaging?  Do they have a Service problem in common?  A Product problem in common?  A Content problem in common? 

What’s the Root Cause?

As an Interactive Marketer, I now have to try to fix that problem – even if it’s not in my silo.  Why?  Because it’s causing people not to come back, and that’s a Marketing problem, because it impacts Sales / Visits, and I’m responsible for generating Sales / Visits.

Now, I realize many web analytics folks want to specifically define Engagement for their sites and that is fine.  Define it any way you want, whatever way makes the most sense for the site.

But then, pay most attention not to the achievement of Engagement, but to dis-Engagement – when the previously Engaged, using whatever definition you like, no longer qualify as Engaged.  That’s the secret sauce of Interactive Marketing, that’s what makes Interactivity different from all other types of customer relationships.

Tip: dis-Engagement is a process.  It’s a movie, not a snapshot.  The question is not “What percent were Engaged last month?”  The question is “Of those Engaged in month X, what percent are still Engaged?”  Reason this difference is important: Newly Engaged customers / visitors will mask dis-Engagement by current customers / visitors in a % Engaged snapshot view

You can answer the question I first asked above about shutting off Advertising to customers.  Without creating a lot of disruption.

Test it like this.  I’m sure you will be surprised by what you find.

And then you can start spending more of your time and budget on fixing dis-Engagement rather than trying to create Engagement that in many cases is already there

Unless, of course, your site / product / service delivers a lousy customer experience, fails the Desirability test.  Then you’re going to need all the Advertising you can get your hands on.  Just keep pounding ’em with e-mail, that should fix the problem, right?

Does that approach really make any sense to you?

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The Desire in Desirability

So, what have we got with this Desirability thing?  Let’s start with a Strategic View, and then get down to the Tactical “what it means to me at work” stuff.

Going back to the classic AIDAS (Attention, Interest, Desire, Action, Satisfaction) Psychological model of buying behavior, I think what we are seeing is a gradual acceptance by traditional Brand Marketers that:

1.  The actual definition of “Brand” is changing
2.  A media type is best optimized for a specific AIDAS job

1.  Brand is traditionally a premium strategy – I convince you to pay more for essentially the same goods because they have this “Brand”.  But there is increasingly an experiential component required of Brands, a “proof” of sorts that affirms the Brand Promise / Premium.  These proofs often reach deep into areas outside what most people think of as “MarCom”. 

So now you’re talking about package and product design (Usability), you’re talking about Service, you’re talking about Customer Experience.  All of this together is now Brand. 

Brand is both Promise and Payoff.

2.  This means Brand folks now effectively have a two-step to execute: they can create a Brand Image / Promise – Attention and Interest – with the Mass media, but actual Payoff / Action requires an “affirmation” of Brand Promise.  These affirmations now take place largely through web research and interactivity. 

In other words, with the consumer knowing they have easy access to tons of fact and opinion on a product through the web, they’re probably not going to make it to the Desire phase without doing a few minutes of research first.

These Affirmations create Desirability, which leads to Action.

Put simply, Mass media can no longer drive people through the entire AIDAS cycle.  It loses them at Interest, where the web largely takes over the role of creating Desire.

This is the hard linkage between Engagement and Desirability.  Engagement is a measure of Desirability, of the Brand to “pull” people into the Desire phase of AIDAS from the Interest phase and through to taking Action.  You can “push” people into Awareness and even Interest, but you have to “pull” people into Desire and Action.  A two-step, as it’s known in direct. 

The qualifier and the closer, the front-end and the back-end.

None of this means Mass media is dead, or Web media is better, or Social Media Rules, or any of that. What it means is you can waste a lot of Marketing budget saying the wrong things to the wrong people at the wrong time.  More about that when we talk about Tactics.  It also means MarCom folks should think about becoming true Marketing folks if they want to succeed in the long run.

If you’d like to read detailed background on the Brand / Media idea above, see Online, the Web Site is the Ad.   More background on the proper (Strategic) role of Marketing in the Integrated Interactive business model is found at CMOs: Strategic Seat = Chief Customer Officer.

What do you think?  Is this model of Media and Behavior making sense to you?  Anything broken?

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