Nothing Much Has Changed Since 1898

by Gary E. Mince

Well, maybe a few things have changed. Take media choices, for example. There are, oh, a few more media choices today than in 1898. I believe the jargon is a bit different (see Bulls#%t bingo above; a great game by the way, if you are in an 8-hour corporate meeting).

If your job is to put roofs on houses, or to sell cars, or to treat patients (heck, just about anybody), marketing seems unduly complex. The choices, the jargon, the tactics, all of the vendors and agency people telling you which way to market your product. It can be maddening.

I’m convinced WC Fields could foresee the media and marketing landscape when he said: “If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit!”.

It needn’t be maddening.

Most people who have worked at reputable agencies and media companies have learned the concept of AIDA. Awareness, Interest, Desire, Action. It certainly isn’t new. In fact, the concept is attributed to an article in Printer’s Ink in 1898. They stated “The mission of an advertisement is to sell goods. To do this it must attract the attention of course, but attracting attention is only an auxiliary detail. The announcement should contain matter that will interest and convince after the interest has been attracted.”

I would maintain that your advertising plan is not working optimally if you don’t take your customer down the road of AIDA:

Awareness: does the customer know you or your company or product exist? If so, of what are they aware? How often have they heard or seen your message? What is your brand? What does it mean? Does your brand message create…

Interest: OK, they’ve heard of you, and perhaps they’ve heard of you a lot. From that awareness, is your product perceived as a quality product? If your product isn’t the only one in the marketplace, how do you stand out? When your customer tells his next-door neighbor he’s thinking about buying a couch, does the neighbor say “go see that furniture store that has their cute grandkids in their commercials” (there aren’t many of those) or do they say “I go to Smith Brothers. They have quality furniture, delivery is free and it’s in your house the next day”. OK, you’ve got me interested, do I …

Desire: Desire the product. Desire is a tricky thing. Certainly, it is created by a strong branding message, and perhaps a call to action because of price. But Desire is also created by the need. If I bought a couch last week, chances are I don’t even hear or see a furniture ad the next day…I tune you out. So to catch all of those in need, the advertiser needs to be there, top of mind, with great frequency (because customers of need come in and out of the market all the time). I need your product, I desire it. It’s time to take…

Action: This is where they buy. But hold on, before they buy, they need more info. This is where they click, or Google, or come into your showroom (both Smith Brothers’ and Lefty’s) to lay on the blue couch they desire, and hopefully whip out the Amex card. Good luck Lefty.

So, no need for confusion over choices and jargon! Just make sure your campaign is touching all of the A.I.D.A. bases!

By the way, in the illustration above are a few words I ran across in recent business articles. I looked them up and found that:

Disintermediation means “cut out the middle man” and Blockchain means, and I quote “Blockchains are secure by design and exemplify a distributed computing system with high Byzantine fault tolerance.” (Wikipedia) You’re on your own for that one!



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