Evolution of AIDA – building on the foundation of marketing

evolution of AIDADiscussion about changes in marketing is bubbling allover the web. LinkedIn -groups, Twitter, SlideShare… are full of opinions about best tricks in today’s marketing environment.  As we all know, the playground has evolved. However, I don’t think much has really changed in human behavior towards marketing and the foundations are the same. People are still influenced by marketing and other people. They like to get acceptance and showoff their newest stuff – and identify with brands. However, the amplification of WORD OF MOUTH in social media has created a SOME WOM and the voice of an individual is now stronger than ever before. So the basic rules of marketing still apply, but now there is an added dimension – and this makes the game different for marketers.

I went back to basics and started looking at the old AIDA marketing concept. Now, we are speaking of a model, that was developed between late 1800 to early 1900 by marketing professionals of that age. (see history on Wikipedia) AIDA concept by  E. St. Elmo Lewis describes stages of human behavior towards marketing. Fifth sage (S) satisfaction was added to the concept in early 1900.

A – Attention

I – Interest

D – Desire

A – Action

S – Satisfaction

Today’s AIDAS looks a bit different. SHARING of opinions and content in social media is now a common way to interact with other people. As said, sharing has two dimensions:

  1. SHARING  interesting content to people trough social media.
  2. SHARING opinions of products, services and brands through social media.

New AIDAS has a fluid form, where SHARING (+S) can appear after any stage of the concept. If sharing would happen after every stage of this concept, it would look like AS-IS-DS-AS-SS.

So, how should marketers react to this change?

1. Produce content that people are willing to share with each other. On B2B side  it is usually clever content that people can use in their work or get good ideas to do something better. It is usually not about your company and your products, but more or less knowing your industry and giving general advice. This kind of content is usually shared willingly through professional networks. On the B2C side it is usually “fun” content. As a recent example from Coca Cola: they printed names of people in their bottle labels and people got crazy. These pictures are all around Instagram and Facebook See: List of all found Coke bottle names.

2. As opinions of people are now amplified through social media, it is clear that companies have to think what kind of experiences they give to them. The importance of customer experience management grows significantly every day. SOME WOM can make your company a winner or loser.  However, customer experience management is not only a responsibility of a marketing, it has to be embedded in to the soul of your company.

I worked on a infographic to explain  the evolution of AIDA. I did this for fun and to try out, what I can do with infographics. Bare with me, I am not a graphical designer.

I am happy to get your comments on this post. What do you think? Does AIDA look like this in today’s marketing environment?

Identifying your best B2B potential by prospect mapping – Step 6/6: Nurturing and Content Marketing

Navigating by your content marketing strategyStep 6: Nurturing and Content Marketing

The purpose for starting this process was to find new potential customers for your business. After going through a careful target group design, potential mapping, marketing concept planning,  data segmentation and activating the top 20% leads – you should now focus on a long-lasting lead nurturing and content marketing activity.

From the prospect mapping you have gathered information about companies potential and decision makers willingness to talk with you. Now, take the second group from the Step 4: Data Segmentation (these are the prospects that are not investing in the near future) and serve them with great content. They will most likely be your customers sooner or later.

And what is great content? I was wisely taught in DIT Drama Class in Dublin, Ireland (1998)- “you are not writing about the subject, but around it. If you want to talk about an apple – describe its form and color, but don’t mention it.” In other words, don’t put your companies products and services in the middle. Talk about your customers and their challenges. As Michael Brenner put it strogly in his post The Content Marketing Echo Chamber “Stop talking about your self”.

Fill your promise and start a dialog with the decision makers, that have indicated their interest. Put your content marketing plan in action and nurture your prospects with appropriate content according their stage in the buying process. Serve them with a sales call when they are ready. Then, continue to feed your lead base and start a new prospect mapping process on a new region or industry.

I hope this post was helpful for you. I am happy to get feedback from all B2B Sales and Marketing professionals. Tell me your way – how do you find the potential from the market and generate sales?

Identifying your best B2B potential by prospect mapping – Step 5/6: Activate

Step 5: Activate

Now put your qualified data to work. The first group of qualified prospects (from step 4) are warm leads for your business – your aim is to turn these leads to sales meetings.   Before starting the appointment setting calls, you should give a reminder to the decision maker – and direct mail is a great tool for activating this customer dialogue.

I am a big fan of snail mail, because it will most likely to be noticed by the receiver. People get a lot of email marketing (spam) to their inbox’s and even the relevant messages will be ignored and deleted.  Creatively designed physical marketing however will be noticed, opened and most importantly remembered by the receiver.

For sure, concept design and color make a difference. Have a look on Brian Morris’ post on Business2Community of how different colors are used in marketing campaigns. (picture on this post is also linked to his original work)

Follow-up the direct mail by a appointment setting call to the decision maker. Remember you are now working with a group that has previously told you their interest in your products or services and are willing to hear more about you. You will most likely to get a high pull percentage for these sales meetings. I have seen over 70% pull rates in these kind of processes. Also the booked sales meetings will be of a high quality due to the earlier qualification in the mapping process.

For more on this subject:  Check Steve Olenski’s post on Forbes CMO network (3rd of November 2012) Direct Mail: Alive And Kicking

I hope this post was helpful for you. I am happy to get feedback from all B2B Sales and Marketing professionals. Tell me your way – how do you find the potential from the market and generate sales?

Identifying your best B2B potential by prospect mapping – Step 3/6: Plan a Content Marketing process

Step 3: Plan a Content Marketing process

As the survey / interview is on its way, you should start planning a content process for the mapped target group. You will be deciding, what kind of content you send to decision makers according to their stage in the buying process. For example, if a decision maker will be investing in 6 months time – you are likely to use direct marketing, customer references / reference videos, events and of course telebooking for face-to-face meetings with the prospect.

Make a table of different stages in the buying process and plan a content + timetable for each action. Then choose the marketing channel according to the target group. As an example: I worked for 5 years for a professional kitchen equipment dealer, being responsible for overall marketing and sub-dealer sales. Our target group was restaurant owners and kitchen chefs. It was no use trying to reach these people with email marketing or web content. Direct mail, face-to-face meetings and events was the best way to influence this group. And of course, don’t forget that your message has to be clear and unique to stand out from the competition. Think – What are the key benefits of your product or service, that will convince the decision maker?

If you don’t have resources to do this by our self, there are many great B2B marketing agency’s who can help you to build up a concept and process for content marketing approach. If you are looking for one – have a look at a list of winners from B2B Marketing Awards 2012.

Content Marketing Grid v2 crated by Eloqua and Jess3, is a profound yet simple illustration of content marketing and gives you a general idea what this is all about.