AIDA Model, Innovation Adoption Model, Marketing Funnel, Sales Funnel, Hierarchy-of-Effects Model, Information Processing Model or Customer Journey. What these conceptual models all have in common is that they are attempts to map out the cognitive and behavioral process that customers go through when searching for a certain product or service that would fulfill their needs. The theory behind it states that customers go through several stages or phases before making the final call to purchase a company’s product. By mapping out these stages and by stepping into your customer’s shoes, you can see your company from the customer’s point of view and improve where needed. This article will go specifically into the AIDA model, which is also the most concise model given the fact that it only has 4 steps: Attention, Interest, Desire and Action.
Figure 1: AIDA Model
The first level of response is the cognitive stage of customers. This is the act of thinking about the product. At this stage, customers are becoming aware of the product and start to develop some knowledge of the product’s attributes and benefits. The Attention stage is usually triggered through advertising. All products or brands that customers are aware of, are part of the so called ‘awareness set‘. This is a smaller portion of the ‘total set‘ of products and brand that are available within a certain product category.
After the congnitive stage, customers enter the affective stage. At this level customers have gone beyond mere knowledge of the product and have actually begun to develop attitudes, preferences and perhaps even interest in the product. All products or brands that customers have interest in, are likely to become part of the so called ‘consideration set‘. This means that customers are seriously considering purchasing the product eventually. However before taking action, customers will need to go through two more stages.
The Desire step of the AIDA Model is still part of the cognitive stage of customers. However, the interest customers initially had, has developed even more into an actual need. Customers are already imagining themselves with the product.
The final stage is the behavioral stage. This is where the customers take action. This could vary from visiting a retailer to see a product demonstration or writing an email to a shop owner for more information on the product. Of course, ultimately these actions should hopefully lead to the purchase of the product. Consequently, products or brands that made it to this stage are part of the ‘choice set‘ or ‘purchase set‘.
Figure 2: Consumer Decision Making Proces: Awareness set, Consideration set and Purchase set example for laptop and computer brands
Example: Laptop and computer brands
Imagine you are looking for a new laptop or computer. There are probably a few computer brands that pop up in your head instantly like: Apple, Samsung, Microsoft and ASUS. These are all brands that are part of the ‘awareness set‘. However, the ‘total set‘ of computer brands is much larger. Have you for example ever heard of MSI or Razor? If not, these brands are not in your awareness set yet. From all computer brands that you know, you might have a few that you prefer already. Depending on what smartphone brand you have, you might for example already exclude a Samsung or an Apple computer laptop. Only the brands that you are seriously considering buying, are part of the ‘consideration set‘. Whether this is the case, has everything to do with the attitudes you have developed towards the brand from the moment you came into contact with it. If your interest in a brand grows into an actual desire, chances are big that the brand will end up in the ‘purchase set‘.
AIDA Model In Sum
The AIDA Model is a great marketing tool to help base advertising decisions on for customers in different stages of the decision-making process. In every stage marketeers will have to adapt their marketing campaigns in order to help customers move from one stage to the next. The AIDA Model is short and simple and might therefore overlook other important aspects of the consumer decision-making process. For a more complete process, we have written an article on the Marketing Funnel consisting of not 4 but 9 stages customers go through.