AIDA sales funnel and the buyer’s journey to purchase

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 its 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 and check out the history of this kind of thinking called Hierarchy of Effects in the article by Barry (1987).

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 Buyer’s’ Journey. We are delighted to update the original post on March 5, 2021. We hope that this will help all businesses come back after COVID as customers go through their AIDA process online.

Think of your first home purchase- to better understand your customer journey

Marketers of complex high value products and services have a hard time in grasping the learning process of the buyer. Here are some quotes we have heard from businesses about their prospects and customers over the years

Comparing the first date with the sales funnel stages

This is like saying that every first date from digital dating sites (eg. eHarmony) results in marriage. And the marriage analogy is huge in marketing theory. Our favorite is by Dwyer,Schurr and Oh (1987). They debunk the marketing myth of the”one night stand” in favor of the paradigm of”long term marriage.” Just as a marriage takes place after much due diligence on both sides, so does complex B2B and B2C purchases. Lisa Gevelber of Google explains how one customer searches 900 times, at different websites,before deciding to lease a particular car.Read: The Car-Buying Process: One Consumer’s 900+ Digital Interactions.

Conversion occurs when customers finally visit your website on their own

Conversion occurs when consumers start visiting your website on their own. Before that happens a common concern among online advertisers is that “we don’t see orders.” Part of the reason is that advertising and web analytics is not linked together as discussed
in a previous post. The bigger reason is the lack of understanding of the consumer journey.

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