When you need a simple model to explain a marketing plan, you really can’t go far wrong with good old AIDA.
I know it is oft’ derided for presenting an overly simplistic view of the purchasing journey – particularly in the face of the much more complex buying cycles we all now experience – but it’s actually a good, clear model to explain a marketing plan.
Let me explain…
A is for Awareness
You have to make your intended target audience aware of your products and services in the first instance. Without an introductory knowledge of who, what, where, when etc, your target audience is not even in the buying cycle.
How do you raise awareness?
Advertising, press relations, online influencer relations, SEO, solus email campaigns, events, guerrilla campaigns, social media… the list goes on.
A good old-fashioned integrated marketing plan is what you need and of course this is where you start to build a database of prospective customers too.
I is for Interest
Once you have developed awareness of your products and services with your target audience, you need to think about generating an interest. This is the stage where people begin to demonstrate early buying signals.
For example visiting your website and responding to a call to action, calling your contact centre, or contacting a channel partner.
If you focus on digital you might run a search marketing campaign (SEO and PPC) to drive web traffic where they can view a host of targeted marketing assets.
Using a visitor tracking platform will provide you with some insight as to who is viewing your site and specifically who from your original target database is engaging. You could use a retargeting paid search campaign with Google or Twitter ads to keep that level of awareness up and develop interest.
It’s at this stage you need to begin managing your sales pipeline too. For most b2b marketers this means a CRM system, something like Pipeliner or Nimble.
D is for Desire
After you have established a level of interest in your product or service, you need to begin increasing the customers’ desire to make a purchase decision. To put it another way, move them further along the buying journey and closer to the point of sale.
Depending of what your product and service is you could employ a range of different tactics. Typically for a complex b2b market this might include customer testimonials and references, events, webinars, public relations and so on.
By focussing on online tactics you could continue to track your audience across campaign specific digital outposts, or indeed all of your owned online channels. Continue to collect data on their behaviour and look out for key buying signals such as downloading digital assets, watching video content, visiting pricing information etc.
The key here is to use a platform that allows you to track behaviour data at an individual contact level, something like marketo, or hubspot perhaps.
A is for Action
This of course is the final step. Where your marketing objectives are focussed on convincing the target audience to make the final leap – to make a purchase decision. At this point your communications might step up a gear into sales promotions, product bundles, channel specific promotions and so on.
It is at this point that the marketing team should align closely with sales. You should be handing over marketing qualified leads to sales for them to close. This might of course be traffic into the appropriate point online to make a purchase too, depending on the nature of your product.
Of course this is a fairly simple look at marketing communications using the AIDA model, but that’s the point. If you are trying to sell a marketing plan to non-marketers, using this simple framework can help you to spell out the objectives of each of your campaign elements and how they relate to the buying journey.
You could get a lot more granular in defining that journey if you wish, but to get to grips with the fundamentals, AIDA remains a useful model for b2b marketers.