The Old “AIDA” Advertising Model is dead. It occurred to me as I mapped out a Content Strategy today. I was planning messaging for the next 4 months by Buyer Persona by stage in the Sales Process. And as I created an Editorial Calendar that focused on topic, keywords, and Offers by Buyer Stage by Persona, I realized that Content Marketing has officially ushered in an entirely new era of Marketing.
This Ain’t Your Father’s Old “AIDA” Advertising Model
In Advertising’s golden age from perhaps the 1950s through the 1970s, marketers tended to focus on “major media”, including television, radio, magazine, and newspaper. The model was “AIDA” — Awareness, Interest, Desire, Action.
The key element of the plan was Repetition. (Repetition of the message was supposed to move the prospect through this AIDA model . . . although Advertising’s primary objectives were to generate awareness and build image.) Marketers didn’t talk about tracking the specific results of Advertising — because they couldn’t.
I still hear marketers refer to AIDA like it has some meaning for today’s marketing. But I’m not sure it does . . .
Direct Marketing’s Testing, Tracking, and Analytics Now Mainstream
In Direct Marketing’s golden age, perhaps from the 1970s to the 1990s, direct mail was included in a group referred to as “below the line” media — media that drove trackable, measurable results. Direct marketing’s model always has been to mimic the steps in the Sales Process — because direct marketing is selling.
The key element of direct marketing is the trackable, measurable Offer. The Offer is designed to drive behavior — to get the prospect to act. Key Direct Marketing objectives are to drive traffic, generate leads, and generate sales. Direct Marketers run frequent tests and track results — and were looked down upon as “ugly stepchildren” by those in Advertising for decades.
Direct Marketers are now quite successful at crafting website copy and offers, and creating email conversion series — putting all that testing and tracking experience to good use.
The Web has Made Testing, Tracking and Analytics Cool
Enter the Internet as a marketing tool in the mid 1990s, followed by website analytics and social media. Consumers now research just about everything on the web, before ever having contact with a retail store or sales person. Analytics and social media give us insight into prospect and customer behavior, concerns, language, preferred social networks, preferred content formats, and more. Testing is in. Tracking is in. And the old Advertising model is dead.
A company’s website is the centerpiece of the marketing effort as most marketing tactics send traffic there. The company website is the new company showpiece (rather than a major media campaign).
Advertising never used to like the fact that Direct Marketers could test headlines and test copy approaches to determine which was best. Now, testing of landing pages, email messages, offers, call to action buttons, and page layouts is the norm.
Content Marketing is the new Black
We can now craft Content to address prospect needs at each stage of the Sales Process. Based on the actions prospects take, we can send appropriate Offers for additional Content that will move them through a Buying Stage.
We know more about each prospect than we ever have before. We can follow their actions through the Buying Stages, anticipate their needs, send more relevant content and offers, and speed up the sales cycle.
Content Marketing is the new Black — the piece of the Marketing puzzle that every marketer must have in their marketing arsenal. (I bet the old Advertising Guard is not happy . . .).
What do you think? Has Content Marketing ushered in an entirely new era of Marketing?