Anyone who practiced marketing in the ‘old days’ (before the digital revolution) would have had the concept of AIDA drilled into them.
AIDA was developed way back at the start of the 20th century and stands for Attention (or Awareness), Interest, Desire, Action.
These four steps were seen as fundamental for a successful marketing campaign, enabling you to take your audience from cold prospects to actual customers.
The question then: is AIDA still valid today? The simple answer is of course! In fact it’s more relevant than ever, thanks to the huge number of media options and messages faced by consumers today.
In this climate it is essential to make your message stand out, get people to see it, like it and then act on it.
In other words, AIDA.
If you’ve seen the movie Glengarry Glen Ross then you’ll no doubt remember the scene where hotshot motivator Blake (Alec Baldwin, pictured) reminds the sales team of the important of AIDA with all the sensitivity of a pneumatic drill. Here are the four steps, with more detail – and less swearing:
Attention: Sounds simple, but someone who is not aware of your brand is highly unlikely to interact with it. So you need to introduce yourself. Grab their attention and make them aware of what you offer. This can be through the headline of an advert, an eye-catching image or some well written copy in a direct mailing. Without this, your marketing campaign is doomed to failure.
Interest: Fleetingly grabbing their attention is easy. The hard part is keeping it. You need to engage with your audience, and keep their focus on you, long enough to take in the message you want to convey. This means you have to be relevant and interesting. Give them a reason to want to find out what you are saying. This can be through strong (normally short) copy, clear illustrations or even the use of humour.
Desire: So you’ve got their attention and you’ve convinced them to keep it on you. What next? Well you have to build the desire for whatever product or service you want them to buy. This can happen at the same time as keeping their interest, and is often best done through features and benefits or the solutions to problems – making whatever it is you are trying to sell so relevant to them that they can’t imagine how they got by this long without it.
Action: What’s the point of all this if they don’t do anything at the end of it? So the last part of AIDA is telling them what they need to do next to fulfil their desire you’ve just created. This may be your address, telephone number or website. It may just be that you are carrying out a branding marketing exercise, in which case the action you want is for them to think positively about you – and ideally spread the word to others. And that’s AIDA.