Alternatives to AIDA in Use Today
As with anything that has been around for a century, AIDA has been in and out of fashion several times and subject to numerous revisions. We talked about adding Loyalty and Advocacy to AIDA in “AIDA in New Media." The result is AIDALA. Wikipedia also notes the following modifications: AIDAS (satisfaction), AIDCAS (confidence and satisfaction), and most memorably, AISDALSLove (never mind!). The key point is that AIDA is still around, serving as the basis for numerous revisions.
That said, it’s worth knowing that several tech-savvy companies have developed entirely new models.
Forrester Research attempts to get away from what it considers the “transactional” approach of AIDA. Forrester calls its model “Marketing RaDaR.” As Nate Elliott explains on the Forrester website, “if you want to support this [customer] life cycle, you’ll need to start looking at the world the way your customers do: as an ongoing sequence of reach channels, depth channels, and relationship channels.”
In the Forrester model, Depth channels, such as your website or your salespeople, tell your product’s story. Relationship channels serve existing customers, via social media or email lists. And Reach channels generate initial interest; these include online search and TV ads.
The Consumer Decision Journey
McKinsey and Company performed qualitative and quantitative research in the automotive, skin care, insurance, consumer electronics, and mobile phone industries to develop a new model. They call it “the consumer decision journey,” which they compare to the marketing funnel as follows: “Actually, the decision-making process is a more circular journey, with four primary phases representing potential battlegrounds where marketers can win or lose: initial consideration; active evaluation, or the process of researching potential purchases; closure, when consumers buy brands; and post purchase, when consumers experience them.”
Basically, this model recognizes that prospects are always susceptible to considering new products, so the decision doesn’t necessarily narrow like a funnel, but loops around and back on itself. Some commentators have dubbed the diagram for this, “the Frankenfunnel.”
The Customer Journey to Online Purchase
Unlike McKinsey, the search-engine powerhouse, Google, remains happy with the funnel metaphor. Google uses its ability to track online movements to look at customers’ various interactions, or conversions, before making a purchase. Based on 130 million transactions, Google developed a tool that suggests what media strategies might work best during the different phases of the online journey. By the way, those four phases of the customer journey are Awareness, Consideration, Intent, and Decision—and that spells ACID.