AIDA Marketing Framework: Attention, Interest, Desire, Action

John Cousins
February 7, 2023
4 min read

This isn’t about the famous opera by Verdi. Its about Marketing.

AIDA is an acronym that stands for Attention, Interest, Desire and Action. The AIDA model describes the customer journey in stages from the moment a consumer first becomes aware of a product or brand through to when they make a purchase decision.

This process is called the Customer Journey. In Digital Marketing, with analytics tools we can measure the progress along this AIDA path, and which messages can be attributed to the actions we want to evoke.

We measure success with conversion rates: how many people that see the ads or messaging convert to paying customers.

Consumers become aware of products, services, and brands through advertising and marketing communications. We call this front-end activity Awareness Campaigns.

The AIDA model is insightful in explaining how an advertisement or marketing message engages and involves consumers in awareness and choosing one brand over another. Each of the steps represents “touch points” with the potential customer where we engage with them.

A great way to engage potential customers is by providing informative and useful information or content. Content marketing has become a very effective vehicle for creating customer engagement and building trust.

Content marketing involves the creation and sharing of material online such as videos, blogs, and social media posts that do not explicitly promote a brand but are intended to stimulate interest in its products or services or draw attention to the problem being addressed and solved.

All products and services are geared toward either solving a problem for the customer or providing enjoyment.

The AIDA model describes the arc of actions that the messaging needs to accomplish in order to move a potential cusotmer through a series of sequential steps from brand awareness through calls-to-action (CTA) to conversions such as purchase and consumption, and repurchase.

The sequential steps of AIDA are:

· Attention — The potential customer becomes aware of a category, product or brand through advertising, social media, or word of mouth referral.

· Interest — The consumer becomes interested and engaged by learning about brand benefits and how the brand fits with their lifestyle, interests and needs. This is where blog posts, videos, email marketing, and other content play a major role. Depending on the type and size of purchase, this is usually a phase of multiple engagements.

· Desire — The consumer develops a favorable disposition towards the brand. Here is where testimonials and other social proof are critical.

· Action — The consumer forms a purchase intention, after shopping around, and makes a purchase. After the sale you want to maintain engagement, get feedback and look for opportunities for repeat sales and referrals.

The AIDA model was developed in the 1880s. I begin with this model to show that even with all the technological advancements, the core principles of marketing haven’t changed drastically. What works is pretty much timeless and constant and you can always refer back to the basics when things get too complicated and convoluted.

There are lots of modified versions since its first appearance, but it is still valid in the current web and mobile-based platform environment.

Cognitive, Emotional, Behavioral

There are many variations on the AIDA model that you can check out and explore. The basic idea is one of a hierarchy of effects, where one stage leads to the next in a linear, sequential fashion. The idea is that consumers move through a series of steps or stages. The variations all incorporate three broad stages: Cognitive→ Emotional →Behavioral.

Cognitive is the awareness stage where we first come in contact with a product and learn about a brand. This is where awareness campaigns and content marketing come in. The content that you provide helps your potential customer understand what you are about. The more helpful and valuable the content the more understanding and trust develop.

The Emotional stage is where feeling, interest and desire are developed around the brand, products and services offered. Developing an emotional engagement with a brand is based on a continued development of trust.

Finally the Behavior or Action stage is where the potential customer becomes a real customer and purchases. This stage is initiated with Call to Action CTA and is fulfilled in a Conversion, a purchase event.

This is the basic arc of the customer journey. There are calls to action and conversions along the way for example when a customer joins a mailing list in exchange for free content. This step is called Permission Marketing where you offer something of value in order to gain the permission to continue and deepen the dialogue.

Though AIDA breaks the process into discreet and sequential steps, this process may take place very rapidly as a customer makes the assessments and decides to buy. The purchase cycle could be collapsed or extended over time depending on the size and consequences of the purchase. If it is a small ticket item, it could be an impulse buy. If it is a large ticket item then several iterations of interaction and comparison will probably take place before the purchase decision is made.

AIDA describes the front end of the marketing funnel. After the initial conversion or purchase we want to continue to engage the customer and make sure they are satisfied and convert them into a loyal return customer. This idea of purchasing more products and services over time is calculated and quantified as the Lifetime Value LTV of the customer.

Here is another marketing related post on the 4Ps of marketing.

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John Cousins
Author, Entrepreneur, & Teacher

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