Many people who have never been formally trained in sales or marketing still have heard the acronym AIDA. E. K. Strong put it forth in his Journal of Applied Psychology article “Theories of Selling” in 1925. Alec Baldwin popularized it in the movie Glengarry Glen Ross.
AIDA is a basic sales framework that stands for: Attention (Awareness), Interest, Desire and Action. In our offices, we add an S to the acronym. For Satisfaction. If you fail to satisfy, all the other letters don’t net you much more than alphabet soup.
To make this easy to ‘grok,’ let me share a little story with you.
Once upon a time there was a bloodhound. He lived on a yellow (not brick) road in a cozy little dog house with a blue roof. He got his one square meal a day and spent a lot of time playing with his favorite red rubber ball. But dry kibble is a pale diet, and he was always on the lookout for something with greater culinary appeal.
Attention. With the 220 million smell receptors in his nose, he’d go sniffing. As he sniffed, he’d find grass, shrubberies, weeds. Maybe some crumpled paper or a crushed soda can. Not exactly the sort of stuff his stomach got excited about. But one day, out of the corner of his eye, he caught sight of something down the yellow (not brick) road.
Interest. There was a blue plate on the road. Something very interesting was on that blue plate. He lifted his nose into the air, catching the first tantalizing whiff of … could it be … it certainly smelled like it … MEAT!
Desire. Not only did it smell like meat, it looked like meat. Red and juicy. Very unlike crumpled paper. Very much like meat. Oh! I’ve always wanted meat! the bloodhound yearned, and he galumphed faster in anticipation toward the blue plate sitting on the yellow (not brick) road.
Action. The closer the bloodhound got to the blue plate, the more he was convinced this really was an exceptionally fine piece of meat. His enthusiasm grew by leaps and bounds, until, as certain as he could possibly be, he lept upon the object of his dreams.
Satisfaction. The first bite was better than he had ever imagined. By the third bite, he was feeling remarkably territorial about his piece of meat (he was of no mind about the blue plate). Everything that came before this sublime moment was nice and necessary, but pure delight was the payoff. This was one happy bloodhound. If you could have seen his tail, you’d know!
Business have always set out the equivalent of blue plates and then encouraged bloodhounds (prospects) to come along. It has been a numbers game. If enough bloodhounds come along (traffic), a few of them were sure to leap.
But suppose that meat is made of rubber. Suppose it tastes like battery acid. The modern bloodhound of today doesn’t just turn his nose up and walk away; he starts barking his twitter. He posts a review to your website and then one to his blog. He takes a video of the sorry mess and launches a youtube campaign. Soon those rubber meat images wind up featured on flickr.
The lesson for persuading today’s modern bloodhound is to serve up real meat and to keep providing the critical scent, from click to click and experience to experience, that keeps the bloodhound galumphing forward.
Doing business online – an environment in which taking action is the only tangible, measurable thing your visitors do – is only partly about capturing attention. You also have to be concerned with retention. Attention and retention. When you complete the momentum of AIDA with satisfaction, you complete the retention loop by making the process wholly customer-centered.
Satisfaction provides the critical closure for relevance.
How do you satisfy? It isn’t really very hard: you identify your central message of relevance, communicate it relevantly and remain true to it steadfastly in word and deed, in product and service.
Start thinking how you’re going to work at retaining all your bloodhounds, turning your yellow (not brick) road into the metaphorical equivalent of a Mobieus strip, by adding satisfaction into the equation. Satisfaction is the piece of the puzzle that allows you to truly integrate your branding efforts with your marketing efforts.
Bloodhounds remember where they found their satisfying, real, red, juicy meat. Their satisfaction makes it possible for you to capture their attention again and again!