AIDA sales funnel and the buyer’s journey to purchase

AIDA Sales Funnel vs. Customer Journey -StratoServe

Businesses tend to wonder about the effectiveness of their advertising spend in terms of what they actually sold that could be attributed to advertising. To understand how advertising works it’s useful to look at the hierarchy of effects AIDA sales funnel credited to Advertising Hall of Fame member Elias St. Elmo Louis in 1898. No that was not a typo check out the history of this kind of thinking called Hierarchy of Effects in the article by Barry (1987).

[Note: This post was originally published on April 22, 2014. We have many readers asking about the connection between the AIDA sales model and the Digital Customer Journey or Digital Buyers’ Journey. We are delighted to update the original post on March 5, 2021. Also, for simplicity, we stop at conversion, but the real customer relationship starts after you have a customer. Loyal customers become advocates and generate referrals. We hope that this revised post will help all businesses come back after COVID as customers go through their AIDA process online.]

Initially, the AIDA model was used to understand the sales process and train salespeople for both B2B and B2C sales. Long before digital marketing, the idea was to “convince” the buyer through a face-to-face meeting and bring them through the sales funnel. For example, sales training included holding the pen pointed to the buyer’s side on a clipboard with the contract. To facilitate the customer’s signature on the dotted line! The customer was considered passive.

Later advertising folks started using the concept to understand how advertising works and why the buyer journey to purchase takes time as the buyer moves down the sales funnel and the four AIDA stages.

With the Internet and Social Media customers have changed and customers are no longer passive. They can do their own research with a few clicks. Hence, the customer or buyer journey is replacing the “push push AIDA model” with the “Customer Journey” where the customer is in control.

Digital marketing and analytics make it possible to track the customer through the customer journey. On 2014 (April) Google Insights Research page the four stages were called Awareness, Consideration, Intent, and Decision. The data in 2014 was collected from 36,000 Google Analytics accounts where the websites had e-commerce and were able to track e-commerce transactions.

In 2021, Google Ads Search Certification Study material list the Search funnel as Awareness, Consideration, and Conversion while the Youtube marketing journey lists the stages as three stages Awareness, Consideration, and Action. Frankly, it’s easier for the advertising business (our clients) to visualize all prospects at either of the three stages of the buyer journey. For the digital journey of their customer, businesses need to ask themselves three questions:

  1. Is our customer aware of our brand? Do they know that we exist? [ Digital Marketing has ways of building brand awareness. It takes time.]
  2. Is our customer considering us in their evoked brand set? [ You can literally bypass the awareness stage if you have the budget. See an earlier post on evoked brand set.]
  3. Is our web visitor converting? Conversions could be signing up for a newsletter, an e-commerce transaction, webinar signup, etc. [ All businesses love this stage. It does need thinking through, discussion, and small changes in your operations.]

Here is a brief overview of the older 4 Stage AIDA Sales model and the three-stage digital customer journey :

  • Awareness ( same as Awareness in the customer journey) is the early part of the funnel where the buyer must be made aware of what your brand offers. Unless you are a big brand like Coca-Cola or IBM with a long history, a lot of effort is needed to bring awareness to your target market. In digital marketing display ads and banners help to build awareness. Advertising your website on TV is also very helpful.
  • Interest ( is part of the consideration in the customer journey) is the enthusiasm you are able to generate in your buyer towards your offering. Here social media, and paid search can help. It is that stage in retail stores that you are looking at some particular item with interest, and the salesperson comes by and says …”may I help you”?
  • Desire (is part of the consideration in the customer journey) is the stage of active consideration. At this stage, the prospective customer has decided to buy the item. Here email marketing and paid search is helpful. Today customers tend to comparison shop online, just because it is so easy to do so. 
  • Action (is conversion in the buyer’s journey) happens when the customer actually buys from you. Action or Conversion includes actions that are valuable to you like newsletter sign-up, webinar sign-up, and demo sign-up for complex solutions.

Why is understanding the 4 Stage AIDA model and its link to the 3 Stage Digital buyer’s journey important?

Because it helps you understand that advertising is an investment and not a cost. The investment is in brand building and your brand equity helps across the AIDA funnel in the buyer’s journey to purchase. About StratoServe.

AdWords for Engineering Companies: start with B2B Buy-Task thinking

AdWords for Engineering Companies-StratoServe

Engineering companies are often unsure as to how digital marketing is relevant for them. Frequently, they rely on the sales-force  alone to clinch contracts. This can be challenging without digital marketing support. Engineering companies that are in B2B markets need to think in B2B Buy Task format as they structure their Google AdWords campaigns.

[ Note: This post was originally published on May 20, 2016 and due to the great interest of our dear readers this post is updated on March 3, 2021. We have added an example from aerospace from high tech manufacturing. The earlier example food manufacturing remains. In 2021 though, modern food processing facilities tend to be comparable to aerospace in terms of automation, digitization. We hope that this post will inspire readers from manufacturing to redouble their marketing efforts as we come out of COVID 19. ]

B2B Buy task thinking starts with the fundamental question:

What task is our engineering product used for?

No matter what your engineering product , your  B2B customer can be segmented into one of the following three categories.

New Task BuyAerospace: With recent problems of aircraft parts flying off in mid-air aircraft makers and airlines might want to improve their ability to get very early warning of where a crack is developing. There are a bunch of technologies that can help locate a crack from the sound it makes when it starts. There are high-tech manufacturers who are able to identify material fatigue very early through acoustics,sensors. Imagine the time,money and trouble that airlines globally could save if they did not have to open the entire plane and check every nut and bolt. If you have a better solution to this problem using any other technology you can be sure that this new task is top of mind for all aerospace maintenance folks.

New Task – Food Industry: Assume you are a food industry stainless steel valve maker and you are trying to find “New Task” buyers. The new-task buy involves a B2B purchase for the first time for the buying organization. They did not have a food manufacturing business and are building a new factory.The buying organization have hired some experienced food industry folks who may or may not know about some innovative solutions you have developed. As pointed out in earlier posts this is the biggest opportunity for innovative marketers because your competition is not in place- to keep you out. Here your mantra for the Google AdWords campaign is “Learn more.” Once the buying organization decides to engage with you, you need to educate them and help come up with specifications because they have never done this work before.

Modified-Rebuy Aerospace: Continuing with the unpredictable fan blade (based on early media reports) example. If you are able to provide fan blades that either do not crack or will tell the maintenance folks that they are about to crack -when the plane is on the ground, you fit into the “modified rebuy” category. Here if your marketing claims are credible, you can expect a hearing from expert aerospace maintenance folks.

Modified-Rebuy Food Industry :Here the customer already is in the food business and is pretty much tired of say “leaky valves”. You have done your research and know exactly how your innovative new valve overcomes the leaky valve problem for food businesses. Your campaign mantra will be “Compare.” You have keywords like “leaky valves” and your Ad takes the searcher to your web landing page that describes how your product overcomes the leaky valve problem. (Disclaimer: The “leaky valve” is merely an example and we do not imply that valves leak in all  food factories).

Straight Rebuy Aerospace: Here the existing supplier is well entrenched and assume that this is not a part that breaks. Existing supplier relationships are very difficult to disrupt because everything is working. The price,quality,service are all working- the folks who do the work know each other at a friendly level. Here a new supplier needs to innovate and do something better to get their first shot. We believe that entrepreneurs and new entrants emerge because they are out to find a “better way”. And these new entrants take over all kinds of markets. So if you are an existing supplier with repeat business don’t be complacent on innovation– there is someone out there preparing to take your business!

Straight Rebuy Food Industry : The existing valve brand has no real “perceived” problem including no leaky valves. Also suppliers are well entrenched with long term relationships in place that are difficult to break. This is the hardest market to crack unless you have an innovative solution that has some major benefit and you can articulate that benefit as either a modified-rebuy or as a new task.Unless your value proposition for this B2B customer segment is crystal clear there is no benefit in trying to do online advertising, offline advertising or even sales calls. But let us suppose because of your innovations, you are able to provide longer lasting,non-leaking, lower cost, always in stock valves- then you have a value proposition. And that value proposition is more valuable than your competitors and you can re-position your engineering brand vs. other competitors.Your campaign mantra needs to be around “value and re-positioning.” When your salesperson makes a sales call and your customer has googled your category, you are seen and perceived as credible, going in.

About StratoServe.

How much should I spend on Google AdWords ?

How much should I spend on Google AdWords? -StratoServe

How much should I spend on Google AdWords? is a question that we get asked very often. Earlier this blog provided a strategy answer.

[ Note: This post was originally published on October 28 , 2014. Due to the great interest of our dear readers and many changes in the digital landscape the post is updated on March 2, 2021]

Since we are happily at the vaccination stage of COVID-19 we can expect that life will return to normal in the not too distant future. However, we all realize that buyer behavior for both consumers(B2C) and businesses (B2B) has changed forever. With the huge adoption of online research and buying with COVID lockdowns and stores closed the public has become far more comfortable with online commerce.

As the new image with this post indicates, if you think of a physical store on main street – they always did offline advertising. These would include welcoming signage, ads in the local newspaper, sponsoring community events, working with the local chamber of commerce on opportunities, leaflets with special offers, a yellow pages listing etc.

All this offline advertising did help in getting customers aware of the store and consider it if they were walking down main street. Some would walk in and look at what was offered, talk to the owner and might come back even if they did not buy something on their first visit. However, the dilemma of Half the Money I spend on Advertising is Wasted continued with businesses large and small with offline advertising. You never knew exactly how many people came to your store directly after seeing your newspaper ad or mainstreet billboard.

Fast forward to life after Covid (hopefully 2021 and certainly 2022). All customers have become used to online environments and every store that could – have indeed strengthened their online presence.Meanwhile, Google has also been working in 2020 on the performance planner that allows advertisers who have had 100 conversions in the last seven days to use Google’s machine learning to estimate what spending will result in what level of conversion. Conversions could mean an e-commerce transaction or a sign up that is valuable to your business. Your past results are combined with global search behavior to predict future results at different levels of ad spend.

What if you have not been advertising through the pandemic ? And are just thinking of starting or restarting.

Here are some tips for new advertisers and those advertisers who are reviewing their spend on Google AdWords:

  1. The daily budget is all upto you: The daily budget can be set in Google AdWords very easily so there is no risk of over spending. You can decide to start at say $10/day that works out to $ 300 a month.
  2. What do I get for $10/day ? : Let us say you had a budget of $10 per day, you pay for keywords that people use to search for your business. The price of keywords is decided in an auction and depends a lot on the competition. If you are selling holiday gift items online, you can expect that the word “holiday” will become more expensive as Thanksgiving gets nearer. However, the more specific your holiday gift item, the easier it is to bid on keywords as there is less competition.
  3. A good idea is to start with smart bidding to take advantage of machine learning: Our earlier advise (in the 2014 post) was to do manual bidding and start at $2 per keyword. Now Google offers smart bidding that is based on machine learning. Once you fix your daily budget, it’s therefore a good idea in 2021 to go with smart bidding. If your ad account is well structured you can expect 5 visitors to your website. Getting 5 visitors to visit your brick store is very difficult spending only $10 a day.
  4. Are there exceptions  to five new visitors a day with $10/day budget ? Yes, and that occurs for highly competitive words. According to Elisa Gabbert at Wordstream many words cost more than $10 each. There is a way out of this budget crunch if you think marketing in totality as suggested in several of our adwords posts.
  5. You can measure which words result in conversions: It is fairly easy to measure which words lead to conversions, be it orders or sign ups or time on page. This is a big plus compared to traditional advertising. Once you know, you can change what you are doing.

The reason we like Google AdWords is because getting a visitor to your website builds your brand awareness at the very least. You do not pay for “views” of your ad and pay only for clicks on the ad based on the keyword that triggered the ad.

About StratoServe.

Segmenting,Targeting and Postioning vs.Google AdWords Account Stucture

Segmentation,Targeting, Positioning vs. Google Ads Account structure-StratoServe

Segmentation,Targeting and Positioning (STP) ¬† in Marketing is one of those early marketing topics. Once you have figured out what your market offering (product) provides as “value” to your prospective customers- you need to start figuring out your market segmentation, targeting and positioning(STP). Here is a way to think about STP vs. the Google AdWords Account Structure:

[Note: This post was originally posted on May 7, 2015 and is updated on February 24, 2021 due to the great interest of our dear readers. An additional section on “Funny Competitors” is added to cheer up our readers as we come out of the pandemic!]

Segmentation,Targeting,Positioning (STP) faces the market of the business

In marketing,Segmentation, Targeting and Positioning (STP)  is all about a market/customer facing perspective. The business is looking outward and wondering what segments of customers might buy their product. The segments can be defined by income,gender, occasion ( eg. mother’s day coming up on May 9, 2021),location,industry (for B2B products), etc. After market segmentation businesses need to decide a portion of the segment where all marketing energy will be focussed. These are called target markets.

Market Segments have the following characteristics and since Target Markets are within segments they must have these characteristics as well:

  • Must be identifiable– i.e. answer some questions like where located, what possible age,income gender etc. This is also known as “Buyer Persona” – or what does your buyer look like? We find that businesses remain diffuse and fuzzy on this. The main reason seems to be FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) on a bigger market. But that is a disastrous approach. Our suggestion: narrowly focus and start somewhere.
  • Must be substantial– there needs to be some volume of sales expected. The initial target market must be capable of producing revenues and margins to keep the business profitable. Here the higher group (segment) must have a large market size. Why? because once you establish value and product market fit with the target market you have the option of scaling your business,raising investor funds etc.
  • Must be reachable online – you have reason to believe that at least some of your target market can be reached online. If anyone is not on the Internet then you can’t advertise via Google AdWords. This is less of an issue in 2021 as after Coronavirus you can expect more of your target market to to be online.

Positioning is about how your customer sees your product compared to other competition. It’s critical to understand positioning because today ( in 2021) you can be sure that a customer considering buying your product will do her due diligence or research. Just typing “competitors of Brand A” on Google will throw up a bunch of ads from Brand B, C, D… to Z and more. For positioning thinking Brand A needs to be very clear of how they are different and more valuable for the target market. [ Note: Dear readers, don’t let competitor ads scare you. Read the new “funny competitors” section later in this post on how to think about competitor brands advertising against your brand. We call this Digital Brand Piracy.]

Google AdWords Structure viz. Campaigns,AdGroups,Ads and Keywords face the business website

The purpose of Google AdWords advertising is to drive more visitors to your website and convert them into customers. Here is how to think about the Google AdWords Account structure in STP terms from the point of view of the customer (Customer Journey) as they come to your website. This is how the Google campaign structure maps to your STP:

  • Keywords trigger ads. Whatever your customer searches on Google triggers related ads.Choosing keywords that your target market might search is the trick here. The better your understanding of your target market the better keywords and key phrases you can choose. An easy way to gain insights about what your target market thinks is to simply go to forums/discussion boards. If you are marketing a product say to salons and spas simply search for “salons and spas owners forums” and you’ll be amazed at the number of keyword ideas you can get. The Keyword Planner tool on the Google Ads platform is also very useful.
  • Ads is what people see: People see ads and when it resonates with their search intent, they click on the ad. It is here that you must bring parts of your positioning into play. Say what’s special about you- that’s different from your competitor.Every Ad can have a landing page that takes the visitor to a particular web page on your website. In general it is good to have AdGroups that each have the same landing page particularly when you have hundreds of Ads running.
  • Landing Page: This is where the web visitor arrives at your website, after clicking on your ad. Your effort to meet customer expectations on the landing page is critical to advertising results.
  • AdGroups: AdGroups contain Ads around a particular theme and keywords. Keywords are common within an AdGroup. A good idea is not to duplicate keywords between different AdGroups as you would then be competing in the Google auction with yourself, by bidding for the same keywords in different AdGroups. AdGroups are trying to build your market positioning and engage and convert customers who believe in your positioning.
  • Campaigns: Campaigns correspond to target markets in STP and you can have all kinds of settings here like location ( like searches within 100 miles of New York City), daily budget etc. If you have display campaigns (banners) going on, you can do other settings like demographic,in-market etc.

The simple idea that STP is outward and market facing while the Google AdWords account  structure is inward focused that implements your STP – is a good start.

Funny Competitors: You will find that competitors bid on your Brand keywords and spend a lot trying to convince someone who typed your brand on the Google search bar to come and check out their website. Yes this is serious because if a customer typed your brand name it means that the customer was seriously thinking about your brand. However, the funny part is that in most such ads the competing brand is thinking like an aggressive salesperson (standing outside in the market and yelling “come to our store” ) and not like a thoughtful marketer in 2021. The customer will do more research for high value items. For low value items the customer might switch and it all depends on your value and positioning with respect to your competitor.

Another form of Digital Brand Piracy is that competitors emerge who are unrelated to your industry and who are just trying to make a buck. An example of this scam involves YouTube. A YouTuber looks for ads of products and knows which brands are advertising. Now in two minutes , with a cell phone the YouTuber puts out a thoughtless “review” with the brand name in the title and keywords of the so called “review” video. The next time someone searches for your Brand on YouTube this review pops up on the first page because the title matches your brand name! The YouTuber builds views on their YouTube Channel and makes some money on the back of your advertising dollar. There are variations of this scam and we guess it has much to do with how your Ad Campaigns are structured and managed.

About StratoServe.

What are your customers searching for? – The Search Terms report in Google AdWords

Customer Journey from Search Term to Conversion

The search terms report tell you exactly what your customer typed on the Google search bar. The search terms are matched to the keywords you have purchased and a particular ad is shown.

[Note: This post was originally posted on March 22, 2017. Since then there has been great interest on the topic from our dear readers. However, we realized that Google has now deployed (since 2020) enormous machine learning into how ads run. Also, we thought we need to clarify the customer journey more clearly for all clients. Thus the post is updated as of February 17, 2021]

The search term report gives some great insights to change your web content and web marketing approach. Keep in mind that Google data is anonymous at the customer level for privacy reasons. However, the aggregate information available is helpful in understanding the “search intent” of your web visitor.  And if you are answering the exact questions that your customers are asking, growing sales is natural.

Unless you are a big brand (like Apple, Coca Cola) don’t expect the customer to buy on their first visit to your website…..there is a customer journey to purchase…


Once you have generated a search terms report from your AdWords data, try to ask yourself – where is the customer in the customer journey. Since we are updating this post soon after Valentine Day, let’s stay with the flower business to provide some cheer to our readers.Keep in mind that search terms and volumes change very much depending on the ad demand. Thus after Valentine Day you see rose prices coming down as do the prices of keywords. The next boom for flower sellers will be Mother’s Day for flowers in the US (May 9, 2021). This as we look forward to life after the pandemic!

  1. Awareness : A look at the search terms report tells you if the customer is in the awareness stage. The word “flowers” doesn’t tell you very much about what the customer’s question is. A good recent technique may be to use “in-market audiences” layered on the awareness campaign. This way you’ll get only people who might be already researching “flower delivery,” although they typed just “flowers”. However, don’t expect high conversions. Be prepared with your website, Google Business listing, reviews , social media presence to give comfort to the searcher. Recognize that customers (more so for high cost products) will do a lot of research to understand what is out there. People research new cars almost 14 hours according to one report from 2019. After the pandemic expect all stages of the customer journey being done online.
  2. Consideration: A search term like “flower delivery Anytown” means that your ad showed because one of your ads mentioned “Anytown”. Once the customer clicks on the ad be sure that the landing page after the ad mentions the towns you serve. Once someone types a town name you can be sure that they are actively considering to order. An example was discussed in an earlier post to understand how different searches play out for the customer. See the video in an earlier post.
  3. Conversion: Yes all of us want conversion. That is a sale, a sign-up. And we guess that this question is asked by every advertiser. The “Performance Planner” is a new tool that allows you to estimate future conversions based on past conversions. If you have conversions set up ( a submitted form, a purchase) and you have conversion history then machine learning picks up. It can predict how many conversions you can expect at a particular budget level for the next week or month. This way you can make more informed budgeting decisions.

To summarize, the customer journey is real. It can become faster due to the Internet but it’s always going to be there. Advertisers should account for spending on building awareness ( eg. traffic to your website) and consideration (why your brand is a good choice). Conversions will follow.

About StratoServe

Your website does not rank on search engines-your web pages do

Each page of your website ranks differently -StratoServe

A big misconception in SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the confusion between web pages and entire websites. Search Engines look at web pages individually and not entire websites. Your entire website does not rank on Google but your web pages do. When SEO wizards claim that we can make your website rank on the first page of Google, it  is  wrong or at least one of the most  misunderstood concepts in digital marketing.

[Note: This post was originally published on June 24, 2015. Thanks to the interest of our dear readers and numerous questions this post is updated January 13, 2021 with a video explanation and answers to Frequently asked Questions (FAQs).]

  1. What is a landing page? Landing page is where your customer lands after she/he clicks on a link. This link could be after searching on Google (the subject of the video below). Landing pages are also the destination from email campaigns, social media posts or ad campaigns. A good way to think about landing pages is what the customer sees first upon arriving at your website through whatever method.
  2. What are search terms? Search terms are what the customer puts into the search bar. The video and text covers a flower shopping example. For this post search terms refers to Google and its platforms like Google Analytics, Google Search Console and Google AdWords.
  3. What are keywords? Keywords are what the marketer uses in content, in ads and in messaging. The marketer is trying to predict what the customer (internet searcher) might search in terms of search intent.
  4. Is search intent more important than keywords? Yes! The marketer is trying to provide answers to the search intent of the customer. You want the customer to come to your store and preferably make a purchase. You do not want the customer to” bounce” or leave immediately. Because what you promised in your ad or Google Search results is different from what you say on your landing page.
  5. So what is SEO? Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is about trying to provide relevant content to web visitors when they arrive via Google Searches. It does not include Google Adwords, but benefits advertising a great deal.

In the video, we go through the Google Search experience from a customer’s perspective to illustrate different elements of a search. The product chosen is ” flower service delivery” as we are just one month from Valentines’ Day 2021. We start with “Flower delivery service Honolulu Hawaii” and we hope to cheer up our readers! We next compare the results by deleting the location and just searching for “flower service delivery”.

Your website does not rank on search engines- your web pages do-StratoServe

To summarize: try to think of questions customers will have answered on each page of your website. In doing so, your customers will be happy. Your organic ranking for a particular page will improve. If you advertise then your keyword quality scores will improve and advertising costs will come down.

About StratoServe

Why are impressions free in Google AdWords advertising?

Why impressions are free in Google AdWords-StratoServe (first published October 14, 2014 Updated January 4, 2021)

As Google Search Ads or pay-per-click (PPC) advertisers know, the advertiser pays only for clicks on the Ad that gets you a visitor to your website. First some FAQ’s :

Special Back from Covid offer:

Get a Second Opinion on your Google Campaigns and a 30 minute Zoom consultation with Dr. Roy for only US$ 1000. Email: or fill the form below:

    What are impressions in Traditional Advertising?: The number of times the Ad is shown is “impressions”. This is an old advertising term from long before the Internet. Circulation of newspapers and TRP ratings of TV shows estimate viewership. These estimates of viewership dictate advertising costs that you have to commit to pay upfront. Regardless of whether your audience skipped your ad. Through recorded Tivo or just went to the bathroom when your $5 Million SuperBowl ad came on.You pay for impressions (or potential views called Cost per Mille – CPM ) without really knowing if your prospect actually saw your ad. Even if there is considerable waste, advertising builds your brand and that is critical for success.

    So what are impressions in Display Digital Advertising? Exactly as above.For all platforms viz. Google,YouTube, LinkedIn, Facebook,Instagram etc. See Getting the word out Google Display Ads vs Facebook Ads. You have to pay for impressions of your Internet display banners,videos. A response in display advertising starts when your audience clicks on your ad. They arrive at your website and your relationship starts. Even if they don’t click on your ad, repeated views (called frequency) helps brand awareness.The skill in display advertising is how well your understand your target audience and use the amazing tools now available.

    Free impressions is in Search or PPC advertising :

    Free impressions happen only in Search or PPC advertising

    Dr. Roy @ StratoServe

    Search advertising is great because the consumer types something in the Google search bar. Whenever we type something (called “search term”) our mind is consciously/deliberately on that track- a very big deal as marketers know. Seeing a relevant ad at that point is very useful to make us happy and if we click to the advertiser website- they are happy.

    Here are some more thoughts:

    1. Keyword-Ad- and search Intent is not known: Google gets about 33% new searches (called “search terms”) every day. Understandably, search engines  are not able to predict search intent when someone searches online and is shown a particular ad. So Ads are shown (impressions) free on a rotating basis against keywords (what advertiser predicts in the Google AdWords platform). Gradually some correlation between a particular keyword or phrase and click on an ad is established by Google. You pay only for clicks and not for the impressions.
    2. The “unknown” search intent is the main driver of free Ad impressions: Because Google wants to make the searcher happy, Ads are shown that might be relevant. The advertiser has to constantly work on making the ad and landing page relevant. If your ad is not relevant to the searcher’s intent, then the Ad will be shown less. Quality score is an important metric that allows your Ad to be shown more.
    3. Quality Score of keywords: The quality score for keywords (what you predict will be searched) is a number from 1 to 10 at the level of AdGroups. These keywords trigger ads in that group. Ads upon clicking take the searcher to a particular page or landing page . For the searcher to be happy, the landing page must answer the search intent embodied in the search keywords. For example, you have a bunch of gloves on sale. For the keyword “rubber gloves” you have an ad that talks about “rubber gloves” but lands the visitor on the website home page that is not very clear about “rubber gloves” or worse on the “woolen gloves” page. The visitor leaves immediately in disgust and that is counted against your quality score for the keyword “rubber gloves.” In contrast if you make sure that Ads take the searcher to the right page that is relevant to the searcher’s query everyone is happy. Your quality score goes up, advertising costs go down, the searcher spends time on your web page since there is something useful there.
    4. Impressions/Clicks ratio: While impressions will always be more than clicks. It is a good idea to investigate why people are not clicking on your ad? Possible issues might be a low bid for the keyword, the target market you have chosen ( eg. only top 10% income around 100 miles) and other settings.
    5. Conversion Tracking: It has become very simple to track conversion. The conversion could be a filled up lead form or an eCommerce purchase. This allows you to see the complete path to purchase.

    All in all getting free impressions is a good thing because people are seeing your ad and brand name and that helps brand awareness.

    [ Note: This post was originally published on October 14, 2014 and thanks to the great interest of our dear readers this is an updated version on January 4, 2021. We hope that the updated post will encourage all marketers to increase their efforts and wish everyone a great comeback after COVID]

    About StratoServe.

    What Advertising Media should you use? Media by ELM Appeal

    Media Mix by Appeal Type-ELM Model-StratoServe (Originally published April 16, 2014, Updated January 2, 2020)

    The ELM (Elaboration Likelihood Model) is a popular way of looking at how customers are persuaded by type of appeal. The ELM appeals are a great way of looking at how you might want to make your advertising media choices. But first a quick re-cap of the ELM persuasion model.

    The Elaboration Likelihood Model (ELM) of persuasion by Petty and Caccioppo (1986) suggests that folks get persuaded by one of two routes in the mind.These are:

    • Central Route to Persuasion: The Central Route of mental processing in a customers mind involves logical, conscious, deliberate thinking about a marketing message. Here the advertiser tries to persuade by logical reasoning. You can use data, graphs to support your message. Examples where the Central Route persuasion works are high involvement products. These include high tech products like Computer external hard drive (Solid state vs. not), Face masks ( N95 vs. non-surgical). Also for expensive products like new sports cars where the buyer would like to compare features. The customer decides through her/his head not heart!
    • Emotional Route to Persuasion: Here the customer is swayed by appeals to her/his emotion. Here the customer is convinced by appeals to emotion. You use images, video to pull at the customers’ heartstrings. Generally all low cost consumer products fit into this category including most grocery store items. Some high priced items like critical medicines and medical treatments can have powerful emotional appeal. On a positive note expensive diamonds and vacations are also sold on emotional appeal.The customer decides through her/his heart not head!

    If you are an advertiser, then you need to consider how your customer is likely to process the advertising message that you want to give them.  The Media by Appeal graphic with this post is a simple way of looking at what media is best for your message:

    • Television is great for reaching large audiences. If you advertise on TV, your Ads must tap something emotional in your audience. If it does, then your Ad might become viral on YouTube. The “non-thinking” nature of television is one reason that it is called the “idiot box.” Somewhat unfair, because TV is very effective depending on your advertising objectives and budget.
    • Radio is great when you want to reach people somewhat emotionally. The person is driving to work and has the radio on. If your ad is memorable you can expect the person to go back to home or office and check you out on the Internet.
    • Outdoor is effective when you want to build awareness of your brand and have a simple message. When someone is driving fast  and seeing your outdoor billboard- you do not want to explain how to make cake from your cake mix in six steps!
    • Leaflets/Direct Mail can get more detailed. When people are looking for a pizza coupon, they might go through the leaflet you sent out last week. Direct Mail can get really heavy on logic and reading-understanding. Just think of all the material in a credit card mail offer.
    • Magazines are wonderful for very narrow targeting and niche marketing. Someone who subscribes to a cooking magazine is really interested in reading your cake recipe details in a paid ad.
    • Internet Search advertising is relatively recent and fits into the ELM appeal thinking fairly neatly in the logical appeal category. When you put out a Google AdWords search ad ( or any other pay per click- PPC ad on Yahoo or Bing) it shows when someone is actually searching the Internet. You pay for the click and you know that the person came to your website.  A bit like searching for the pizza coupon in the pile of leaflets- only much easier.
    • Internet Banner is more about emotional appeal first. You see the banner for cake mix in a baking web forum and you are taken to the cake mix website where a great offer is made. It is also possible for the banner ad to follow a prior interested customer through other websites as a sort of reminder. Technology allows the ad to follow you around (through remarketing) including on Facebook,Instagram,Twitter,Pinterest,Snapchat, as you traverse the web.

    All media have strengths and the advertiser needs to figure out what might work best for their target market and particular message using the ELM appeal thinking. Remember(see our 2013 post) in the customer journey can be over 9 contact points before someone buys.

    ( Dear Readers, The above post was originally published on April 2016 and is updated January 2, 2021 due to our readers interest in the topic)

    About StratoServe.

    Derived Demand: Why B2B Marketers Should Care

    B2B Derived Demand-StratoServe (Updated 2021 from 2014)

    “Derived Demand” is an early topic in the study of B2B marketing but the concept remains fuzzy to students and industry alike. If you Google “Derived Demand” you are at once launched into a bunch of economics concepts that do not explain clearly what the term means for B2B marketers. So here is an attempt to make the concept clearer.

    What is Derived Demand in Marketing? Derived demand refers to demand for your B2B product or service -that depends on the demand for where you product is used and then ultimately consumed at the B2C level.

    Every B2B product has a consumer who ultimately pays for it. This is Derived Demand.

    Not caring about the final B2C Customer is a big B2B Marketing Mistake.

    Dr. Roy at StratoServe

    Here are some examples (updated 2021 from the original post of February 13, 2014 due to the interest in the topic from our dear readers):

    • Aircraft Sales: John Leahy is the retired $1.7 Trillion (Yes Trillion) dollar salesperson for Airbus. who sold 16,000 jets to world airlines in his career. You can be sure that Mr Leahy always was super alert to the requirements of the flying public. When you fly – the ticket prices paid to an airlines (B2C) ultimately funds the aircraft the airline bought (B2B).
    • New Housing Demand: With COVID there is a great demand for housing in more rural areas as people try to leave crowded cities. This demand is a a great leading indicator not only for construction jobs but also for all kinds of building materials and derived demand for appliances like cooking ranges, refrigerators etc. Any business supplying parts to appliance makers can expect an increase in demand.
    • Digitization and services demand: As more and more activities have an increased digital component(more after COVID) , you hear of the need for programming skills to write and modify domain specific software programs. These are derived demand scenarios that can be useful to software providing firms, education and training providers as they try to map out the opportunities of the future.

    Historically, as Investopedia mentions, the California Gold Rush (1848-1855) was going on, you could  be sure that there was demand for picks and shovels used to prospect for gold. Upstream in the supply chain, picks and shovels should improve the demand for iron/steel for the metal part of picks and shovels. Some business entity would need to put the metal parts to some kind of wooden handle to make a tool. So if a business made wooden handles for a different application ( for example, as broom handles) they thought of broom making companies as their B2B customers. The news of  the California Gold Rush would have motivated a 19th century wooden broom handle maker to develop a  new product , ie the pick and shovel handle! Such an entrepreneur would mobilize the sales force to reach out to manufacturers who might need a better wooden handle for the gold prospector B2C market.

    So where do B2B businesses miss out? Here are some thoughts:

    • B2B Businesses think ex-factory not customer’s customer: Most organizations are so caught up in their production process ( yes software writing is a kind of production) that what they would like most is to sell “ex-factory,”  i.e. no concern what happens next in the value chain of their product or service. Instead B2B folks should really care about what the final consumer is going through. Thus, a component supplier to a machinery maker must at least be interested in where the machine  is used, what is produced and how consumers experience the final consumer product. For ultimately, there is a consumer who pays for everything.
    • Value Chain  Market Research : Ongoing value chain market research can help and this is simple to do today with the Internet. Just think of your customer’s customer and check how that industry is doing. For example, if you supply carpeting for new housing, some quick Internet searches gives you the formal new housing trends expected by economists and the kinds of carpets prefered  from the interior decorating industry. Armed with this information when you can get your next meeting with a major builder, you can get guidance that is very specific and difficult to find on the web.

    Focussing on providing value to your B2B customer by trying to understand your customer’s customer is a useful step in staying on top of derived demand in your industry.

    We wish our readers a Healthy,Happy and Safe 2021!

    About StratoServe.

    B2B 6: Do you like being judged? Marketer tips for Supplier Evaluation

    The sixth and final step in the B2B buying process is supplier evaluation by the Buyer Organization. And frankly, no one likes being judged! But evaluations are a must in every aspect of life – if we are to develop,improve and evolve.So too with supplier evaluation. As a B2B marketer it’s good to have a growth mindset. Because it keeps you and your organization nimble and agile no matter what the changes in technology and globalization.

    First let’s look at scenarios in both challenging and good times:

    • Challenging Times (eg. 2020) : Since the buyer business is paying you- you are a cost. Unless the economy is booming, all costs come under review. These include employees, indirect spend and direct spend. During the COVID-19 pandemic you know many friends who got laid off. Also how those with jobs had to cut all non-essential expenses. These non-essential expenses tend to be indirect spend like rent and electricity.(Why are we paying for rent and electricity when everyone is working from home?). The pandemic will be thankfully behind us by mid-2021 with the vaccine. However, just thinking back on the pandemic’s financial toll will remind us of how cost cutting works. Just because direct spend is on directly what the buyer organization produces does not guarantee that you’ll have orders in slow times tike 2020. There are two reasons:
      • There is a competitor product or solution that is more effective in doing the job.
      • There is a slowdown in the derived demand. Think of the institutional market for milk in schools and beer in bars. Producers had to drain huge quantities of both beer and milk during the pandemic.
    • Good times ( eg. mid 2021-hopefully): If you think back to 2019, the economy was doing great. Hopefully, things will be back after mid 2021 as the virus comes under control. As markets pick up and new products are launched, there will be need for agile,innovative,responsive suppliers. It is at these growth times that your past performance with a client becomes a predictor of future performance. Your great work starts paying off.

    Here are some tips for marketers to make the most of the supplier evaluation process that should work in both good and challenging times:

    Step 6 B2B Buying Process- Marketer Tips -StratoServe
    1. Above all look out for your client’s success: Your client has hired you for a purpose. Try to have your organization and delivery team understand that purpose. Ideally all should try to do their best to make the client succeed. Purchase orders mention product, quantity price and payment terms but do not explain what the buying organization wants to achieve with the purchase. It is the B2B Marketer’s job to explain to her/his internal organization what the goals of the client are and how they can help.
    2. Maintain the same account team: It’s your people who need to make your B2B relationship work at all levels. Think of the last time you saw a Coca Cola or Pepsi truck delivering product to a large cafeteria. It’s very likely over time the driver gets to know several people at the cafeteria including the receiving person, the shift manager and even the manager. Cafeteria workers may not be decision makers for the next contract. But they can provide positive evaluation feedback.
    3. Timely reporting systems from the field: Have a formal quick and easy reporting from the field. For example you supply a product to the factory floor of the customer or you are responsible for filling shelves at the store. Generally you delivery person has a hand held device that she/he fills in checkboxes for records. If your person learns about a trial going on of a brand that was not there last week then this information must flow back to your product manager. If you have the timely signal from the field, there is action you can take. Simply asking the customer “what’s going on” might reveal that there is a new technology based substitute that is being tried out. We believe that it is a lack of timely reporting from the field that contributed to entire industries being wiped out in Christensen’s Innovator’s Dilemma.
    4. Accounts Receivable Contact: If your accounts receivable person follows up with your client’s accounts payable person, they too have a marketing role. Remember that the accounts payable person is part of your client’s finance team and a good word will not hurt.
    5. The CMO should get the CEO to be involved: The Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) is likely to be involved in large accounts. However, if the CEO is a non-marketing person it’s very important to find a mechanism where the CEO has contact with the client’s CEO. Why? because talking to the CEO of the supplier for a few minutes gives great comfort to the client CEO and to the client organization. And virtual meetings should work.
    6. No shortcuts- rapid response: Performance does count and strong B2B relationships can give you some cushion. But not a lot in competitive markets. If there is a quality or performance issue with your product the first step is acknowledge failure. Next ensure that the problem does not repeat. Share your actions with the client so that you maintain trust.
    7. Be alert and flexible to opportunities: Just as many jobs are not advertised, so too with new B2B opportunities. Because you are there and dealing with the client organization on a daily basis it’s important to take up on opportunities. For example, whether you can create a prototype of something new. Try to say yes as big opportunities tend to start small.

    Most industries are well networked and good work gets noticed and shared. If your organization’s reputation and reliability is good your business will grow.

    We wish our dear readers a Very Happy, Healthy and Successful 2021!

    About StratoServe.

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