Like anything else in life, the best way to learn something is by doing it.
I was tasked with writing an article about the AIDA model and how it ties in with the sales funnel. So, I segregated my research into two parts –
- Secondary research: Reading everything that I could to learn the concepts thoroughly
- Primary research: An interesting first-hand experiment that involved—wait for it—my dad
As part of my experiment, I decided to sell a fidget spinner to my dad. Boiling it down to the basics to build my knowledge from the ground up with “real” experience was the target and that’s exactly what I was going to chase.
Before we begin, let’s talk about what I learned about the AIDA model from my secondary research.
The AIDA Model: Starting from The Basics
The AIDA model is a blueprint that marketing and advertising functions use to target all touchpoints during a customer’s purchase journey I. e., from getting to know about the product to finally buying it.
The four stages of the AIDA model are:
- Awareness: For one to buy your product, they first must be aware of its existence. Pretty simple, right? In this stage, you will also identify your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) or ‘who’ your buyers are, and reach out to them via the right channels to make them aware of your product.
- Interest: Getting the product known is only half the battle, to move forward you must get the potential buyers wanting to know more about your product. The best way to do this is by aligning your product with your buyer’s problems.
- Desire: Sure, you’ve got the buyer’s interest but why should they buy your product? In this stage, you instill the desire within the buyer to purchase your product. By understanding and meeting the core needs of the buyer with your product, you can invoke the want.
- Action: Finally, the goal — getting the buyer to initiate action and make the purchase. This stage initiates with a call to action (CTA), persuading the buyer to take the action that you want them to take. The gravity of this stage is significant, and the success of your entire model is defined by the buyer’s action.
AIDA Model vs. Sales Funnel
Quite often, people use the AIDA model and the sales funnel interchangeably, and that’s wrong. The B2B sales funnel is not the same as the AIDA Funnel.
The AIDA model is uniquely a marketing funnel. It’s a visual representation of the various stages that sales leads go through before turning into customers.
A sales funnel comprises strictly the distinct stages of sales interactions involved in a buying journey.
Now, you may think that the AIDA model doesn’t provide any utility to the sales team. Hold on, let’s learn about the marketing qualified leads (MQLs).
Marketing qualified leads are potential buyers who have interacted with your marketing content in some capacity and can be nurtured to move them towards making a purchase. MQLs are known to express their interest and make themselves known to you voluntarily by filling out a contact form or downloading a resource.
This general interest in your marketing material can be considered an early indicator of their buying intent. Later, the lead can be handed over to the sales team when the buyer is deemed ready to make a purchase.
Your AIDA model can be set up in a way that feeds MQLs into the sales pipeline by qualifying them on the basis of set parameters such as downloading resources (eBooks, infographics, case studies, white papers, etc.) from your website, signing up for webinars, subscribing to your blog or newsletters, or participating in a survey.
The AIDA Model of Marketing in action. Once I was done with the theory part of my research, it was time for me to apply the AIDA model to sell one of mankind’s greatest inventions ever— a fidget spinner! And my ICP was my dad.
Why a fidget spinner…and why my dad, you ask?’ I’ve got two reasons:
#1: My dad, who’s 55 years young, has never seen or even heard about a fidget spinner, despite them being hugely popular back in 2017. This provided me with a great opportunity to start with a blank canvas and test all the AIDA stages.
#2: I could sense that this product had the potential of being of some value to him. My dad works in real estate. Often, there are long waiting periods where he’s idle and fidgeting with any item within his reach. His favorite thing is to keep clicking the button on the pen, much to my mom’s dismay. But that’s a story for my Instagram. Long story short, the fidget spinner was perfect for my dad (and my mom).
Mission ‘Sell fidget spinner’ is a go!
Step #1: Awareness
I started off by placing the fidget spinner in my dad’s home office, only for him to return it to me.
This yielded no real attention from him, but an impression was made. The fidget spinner acted as a billboard that he’d come across several times, strategically placed in an area he would frequent.
Steadily, I started keeping the fidget spinner on me the whole day. Spinning it in his presence, in the living room while watching the TV, and at the dinner table. He seemed mesmerized by the spinner’s movements. Subliminal marketing – check!
At this point, it was safe to say that he was aware of the fidget spinner’s existence, but not its purpose or functions.
Step #2: Interest
Next, to build his interest in the fidget spinner, I set out to generate some social proof about this product.
During breaks or after work hours, our family gets together to wind down and relax. Within this setting, I would show my mom a new fidget spinner every time and explain its features when dad was around. I’d talk about how long it can spin for, tricks you can do with it, what it helps with, and a brief story on the intention behind its invention.
From her initial response–this is fun– to hearing about the spinner intently and trying it out, I knew that my claims about the product now had been validated.
Seeing a third party vouch for the product piqued my dad’s interest further, and I was asked questions like “where did you get this from?” And he put forth an idea that I should put lights on the spinner as it would look cooler.
Step #3: Desire
While my dad’s interest was piqued, I could not see any sign of desire in him to have the spinner for himself. At this stage, relating with him on problems of being idle was key to invoking the desire in him for the spinner.
Every instance where I could find my dad waiting on a reply, idle due to the change of dates for his meetings, I handed him the spinner to fidget with.
Once enough time had passed and he’d warmed up to the prospect of using the spinner for himself, he eventually confessed, “This would be great to have when I’ve got idle time to kill.”
Step #4: Action
This was my cue to move immediately onto the next stage and persuade him to take action on his desire for the spinner. I replied, “If you’d like to have the spinner, we can talk.”
He responded with an enthusiastic “Yes”.
This tells me two things –
- That my dad has real intent towards making a purchase as he has displayed his buying intent.
- That my dad is cool.
Initiating the purchase marks the end of the AIDA marketing model.
I can conclude that this model was successful and now I had to kick start the process of moving my dad from being an MQL–who’s simply interested in the fidget spinner. – to an SQL (Sales Qualified Lead)–who’s ready to talk about making an actual purchase.
The Sales Journey
Now that my dad has shown clear intent in purchasing the spinner, the sales process can begin. My previous marketing efforts have successfully pushed him deeper through the funnel.
Here, I evaluate his buying power and zero in on the specificities of his need for a fidget spinner. As he’s an MQL, his buying journey can be fast-tracked to the negotiation stage.
I asked him for his budget, design, and color requirements. He responded, “I’m only going to pay up to $10 for a spinner and get me one in a metallic color so it looks less like a toy. Also, it shouldn’t take up much space in my pocket.”
I told him for that price, he could get the black one from my stash — a medium-quality fidget spinner that’s made with plastic and is black in color. If he was comfortable with increasing his budget, I could offer him a premium one made from metal.
Much to my amusement, my dad agreed to the upgrade.
I told you; my dad is cool.
I offered him a compact, classy-looking metal fidget spinner for $15. While there was some initial hesitation when it came to the price, my dad could not pass up on that spinner. I eventually managed to give him the spinner from my collection for a crisp $20 dollar bill.
“Keep the change, that’s your tip.” My dad is cool AND he’s cute.
Here’s What I learned
From this experiment, I could see the AIDA model in action, albeit at a minuscule scale.
Using the AIDA can be incredibly effective to tune and target your messaging, increasing its effectiveness. Segmenting the process into simple stages is remarkably useful in troubleshooting if there’s a certain stage where people could be dropping off from the funnel.
I wish my experiment was large enough for me to dive into the depths of firmographic, technographic, and psychographics insights that are offered by Slintel for Sales. Maybe, next time.
Now, with heightened confidence, I’m off to think about some upselling and cross-selling strategies to get some more of those dollars from dad’s wallet.