Hierarchy of Marketing Effects: Cognitive, Emotional, Behavioral

John Cousins
March 4, 2023
2 min read

In marketing there is 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.

This is the basic arc of the customer journey. There are three basic 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.

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.

This process describes the basic functions of the Marketing Funnel in digital marketing that forms the basis for Marketing 2.0.

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John Cousins
Author, Entrepreneur, & Teacher

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