AIDA is dead

AIDA is dead; long live AAAAA

In his recent book, Marketing 4.0 Moving From Traditional to Digital, Philip Kotler discusses the changes that we’ve seen in the marketing profession in recent years.

Kotler, who is one of marketing’s leading authorities, describes the convergence of new and traditional marketing tools and techniques.  He makes the point that success depends increasingly on the ability of brands to exploit all the tools at their disposal, not just to rely on the latest digital fashions.

He also calls into question the continued use of AIDA: attention, interest, desire, action.  Instead, Kotler suggests that the customer journey can be better described by the acronym AAAAA: awareness, appeal, asking, action, advocacy.

In many respects, this better reflects the fact that today’s markets are far more dynamic and that the customer journey – and customer behaviour – is becoming increasingly complex.

As we’ve reported before (download our free white paper on the customer journey) the road that a customer takes today is long and subject to multiple influences at each stage.  Typically, it will start with recognition of a fresh challenge or need, travelling through identification of possible solutions, to the point where they contact a potential supplier, decide to purchase and then become an advocate of the product, technology or supplier.

Where once the customer journey may have been linear, it has now become far less structured in terms for example of the number and type of touch points, the sources of information and reference, and the channels used.  In simple terms, the customer and not the sales person is in control of the journey.

This means that brands have had to adopt a completely fresh approach to their marketing.

Winning new business depends less and less on direct sales techniques, talking about features and benefits, but on the development of a conversation driven by shared ideas, insight and inspiration, structured to create strong brand differentiation, which motivates each customer to choose to build a relationship with their chosen partner.  The goal, of course, is to win the customer’s attention, capture their interest, stimulate their desire and encourage them to take action …… maybe AIDA is not dead after all!