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How Businesses Achieve Promotional Goals By Modeling the AIDA Concept

Updated on June 25, 2016

Promotional Objectives and AIDA

The ultimate goal of product or service marketing is getting a customer to make a purchase. The AIDA concept is a standard model for achieving promotional objectives. AIDA is an acronym for attention, interest, desire, and action which are the basic stages of customer involvement with an advertisement.

The concept assumes that customers/consumers respond to advertising messages through a sequence of thinking, feeling, and acting. Firstly, a marketer must gain a customer's attention. Next, the marketer attempts to create customer interest in the product/service based on features and benefits and instill consumer desire. Finally, marketers may use a special offer or strong sales pitch to push a customer into action of buying their product.

Using iPod as an example of AIDA

The AIDA concept assumes that promotions push customers into motion along the following steps of a purchase-decision process:

1.) Attention: The first thing an advertiser must do is gain the attention of his target consumer market. Businesses can't sell something to customers who aren't aware that a product or service exists. For example, when Apple presented the iPod, it was a brand new product. Apple had to create awareness through TV, internet, and magazine advertising. iPod was introduced as an innovative new product line so Apple's promotions had to be attention-grabbing.

2.) Interest: Basic awareness of a brand typically doesn't lead to a sale. The following step is to generate interest in the product or service. A print ad or TV commercial can't tell potential customers all the features and potential benefits of the iPod. Therefore, Apple had to setup demonstrations and specific messages to a target market of innovators and early adopters to create interest in the new line of portable music players.

3.) Desire: Possible customers for the iPod may have liked the portability of the music player, but it may not have seemed to be more valuable than another music player. Thus, Apple had to develop the iPod into a more desirable product. It did so through the iTunes Music Store, extended battery-life, photo storage, and other features. Apple worked to convince consumers that its product was more desirable than other digital music players.

4.) Action: Some potential target customers may have been convinced to an iPod but hadn't made the actual purchase yet. To motivate customer action, Apple continued advertising about their products features and benefits as well as offering promotions and discounts to drive sales.

iPod had initial success through AIDA

Apple's beginning success with iPod led to the introduction of new models like Nano and Shuffle. Later podcasting and video were added with access to thousands of network and cable shows, as well as interface with auto and home equipment. iPod became a portable media player rather than just a music player.

With each product innovation, the AIDA cycle of attention, interest, desire, and action began again. Due to product familiarity and earlier success the time frame for the cycle shortened. For example, during the 2005 Christmas season, Apple sold over 100 iPods per minute, and in 2007 it had sold over 100 million.

The majority of customers involved in high-involvement purchase situations move through the four stages of AIDA on the way to making a purchase. The marketer's task is to decide where on a purchase ladder the target customers are at, as well as design a promotional plan for their product to meet customer needs. For example, if Apple had completed market research and learned that possible customers were in the desire stage, but hadn't yet made a purchase, then Apple would have done further advertising online.

This concept doesn't explain how all advertising promotions influence purchase decisions, but it does suggest that effective promotions can be measured in terms of consumers progressing from one stage to the next within the model. AIDA model helps marketers plan an effective promotional mix


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