Image of people learning about sales funnel
Image of puzzle showing "AIDA"

The “AIDA” marketing model(1), which highlights consumers buying behavior, is a critical model analyzed by businesses. The marketing funnel, which is commonly based on the “AIDA” model developed by Elias St. Elmo Lewis(2) illustrates awareness, interest, desire, action, and advocacy. Elias developed the model as an attempt to explain how personal selling works and for companies to utilize as a beneficial sales tool. The model is simplified into three tiers; top, middle, and bottom, sometimes referred to as TOFU, MOFU, BOFU(3). The marketing funnel is a roadmap used to close sales. The basics of this marketing funnel have remained the same since the 1900’s. While no model is universally accepted, the funnel is utilized by companies to follow and map out their client’s decision-making process. This allows businesses to apply strategies to get their consumers to buy their product/ service.

The top of the funnel begins with awareness. Awareness(4), which is the uppermost stage of the funnel, is the key step of the marketing process since it is the phase that draws in prospects through marketing techniques. Advertisements, social media, mailings, consumer research, word of mouth, etc., are all ways in which businesses draw in prospects. A real-world example of this process is through successful brand advertisements. Take the iconic Edward Jones commercial in which subtly drops key statistics about their company. The commercials list significant facts about their business including, customer loyalty, trust, and strategies to draw prospects to their brand. If a potential customer in need of a product/service hears how successful a company is, they are most likely to want to learn more.

Image of infographic advertising process
Image of computer with lead generation diagrams

Interest(5) comes next, which reinforces what happens within the awareness stage. This stage is crucial and is after the prospect’s attention is drawn towards one’s business. Once these leads are generated, its product and services are elaborated on to help inform prospects of the company and any additional information. It is important to note that although during this stage prospects want to learn more about a company, they are not entitled and/ or prepared to consider purchasing. This phase is most likely when most prospects bail out of the funnel due to the fact it is when key information regarding the business is voiced.

The middle of the model starts with the consideration(6) stage. In this stage, interested prospects/ marketing leads are transformed into potential buyers and customers. Business marketers can then send potential buyers more product information or targeted content as to why their product/service is best for them. Some examples of consideration content are video testimonials, customer referrals, and/or examples of why it is beneficial to reinforce the interest stage. The ultimate goal of this section is to make your product/ service one of the prospects options to consider. The target audience still remains in its educational phase and is not ready to see promotional content yet. Therefore, these testimonials of your product are strictly educational.

Image of information infographic
Image of stopwatch with word potential

Second in the middle of the funnel comes intent(7). In order for the consumer to reach this stage, they must demonstrate they are interested in the product/service directly. This stage may be reached by a customer placing one’s product in their cart or after completing a sample survey. This can lead marketers to give additional information and make a strong claim as to why their product is best for the potential buyer. Some examples include any forms of content which promote their product/service and help allow the potential buyer to learn more and have visuals to see more in depth. In this phase, forms of content may now include testimonials that are promotional based since they have already absorbed your educational and primary information.

The bottom of the model is the evaluation(8) phase. In this stage, customers are making a final decision/ are inquiring as to whether or not to buy the product/service. Business marketers and their sales team align in order to assist in the decision-making process and convince the customer to choose their product/service. It is important for this alignment to occur because sales do not thrive without marketing. Marketing is the key form of successful advertisement because in order to know a brand it needs to be documented. Therefore, sales leaders who are experts in selling can provide information to knowledgeable marketing individuals. Sales and marketing alignment allow collaboration on strategies and goals in order to ultimately grow sales and revenue as an end result.

Image of puzzle with decision making
Image of leads and prospects arrow to customers

Typically, purchase is the last but not always the final stage in the marketing funnel. This stage(9) is where your potential buyer transforms into a client. The customer got to this point in the funnel by progressing through the stages and ultimately coming to the decision to buy your product or service. Although the consumer has come to a purchase, it is naïve to make an assumption that this ensures brand loyalty. Brand loyalty, also known as advocacy, is an additional and key step in the marketing funnel utilized by many businesses.

Although the process of recruiting a potential buyer is crucial, it is even more important to keep that customer to ensure business remains consistent. Many people are under the false perception that the buying journey ends with purchase, however it truly continues with advocacy to ensure customer satisfaction and loyalty is guaranteed. To better comprehend this phase, we can compare it to that of referencing your friends to see a great movie. If you tell your friends how great a movie that you see is, they are more than likely to see the movie as well, especially if you often see movies. When discussing customer advocacy, it is important for the individual who is advocating for the business to be a respectable one. These businesspeople should be reliable and successful within the industry they are vouching for in order to be deemed as legitimate.

Image of venn diagram of customer advocacy
Image of Netflix marketing funnel diagram

This model is a significant utilization of measurability(10) since the funnel shows businesses where they are losing customers and helps marketers adjust and solidify their sales strategies. If confused by the information provided, let us analyze an example.
Take Netflix(11) for example, its first stage; awareness, begins with its website homepage. Its landing page works to draw in prospects by listing the company’s top benefits of the service. Netflix’s effective advertising utilizes clear and simple headers. Netflix knows its initial prospects will have questions and concerns; therefore, the company answers the most common ones upfront to avoid customers postponing decision making. Its second stage, interest, helps lead prospects towards its variety of plans. Netflix utilizes a simple page prior to the price page to bring potential clients closer to the subscription step. By prospects clicking their see the plans button, they arrive in the third phase of the funnel, consideration. In the consideration phase, Netflix makes it easy and efficient to compare the three packages provided by their service. They have basic, standard, and premium which is automatically selected, but any of the versions are available. Next in the fourth stage intent, Netflix walks you through the creation of your account. This stage is utilized as a second introduction page which allows visitors to leave the funnel, lessening potential buyers fears of being trapped/ tricked into a buyer’s scheme. This stage is designed to keep prospects comfortable. In the evaluation stage, Netflix has you create your account. The process is simple and leads you to another page to keep you in the funnel. Netflix now has you in action and has a new client lead. In the purchase phase of the sales funnel, Netflix asks for your payment method after your free trial. It reminds you that if you cancel before a set date you will not be charged, you can cancel anytime, and you will receive an email reminder. In the advocacy stage of the funnel, Netflix makes icons available to refer their service to a friend.

Need More Information?

If you’re looking to promote your business online, digital marketing is the way to go! Contact us today to learn more about our digital marketing services and how we can help your business grow. 

If you would like more information about this topic or have questions about any of our services, please be sure to contact us. We would love to help.

Image of Alternate Logo for Field 1 Post Digital Marketing