A Fundamental Concept in Marketing: Product Awareness Stages
When you talk to any marketer who’s worth their salt, chances are that they’ve heard of some of the concepts from the legendary book Breakthrough Advertising. Written in 1966 by the godly marketer Eugene Schwartz, this book is commonly considered a genuine masterpiece in the marketing world.
I’ll explain one of its most fundamental concepts to you today quickly. If you digest it properly, you’ll really understand something that is core to understanding how to make your own marketing successful, whether that’s paid or free traffic or otherwise.
The five phases of awareness
Target your marketing messaging keeping this in mind: people have different amounts of knowledge. Eugene broke it down into these five phases (quoted):
1. The Most Aware: Your prospect knows your product, and only needs to know “the deal.”
2. Product-Aware: Your prospect knows what you sell, but isn’t sure it’s right for him.
3. Solution-Aware: Your prospect knows the result he wants, but not that your product provides it.
4. Problem-Aware: Your prospect senses he has a problem, but doesn’t know there’s a solution.
5. Completely Unaware: No knowledge of anything except, perhaps, his own identity or opinion.
Once you’re aware of these five phases, it actually completes changes the game, because you now know exactly what messages you should be articulating to these groups.
In the real world, for example, you would create a 15% discount to push people from ‘The Most Aware’ group into buying your product. For the Problem-Aware group, you would instead create a blog post detailing solutions to this customer’s problem.
This is the basis for the concept of the funnel. In marketing terms, the top of the funnel (TOFU) is considered the most unaware customer. The bottom of the funnel (BOFU) is considered the customer most likely to purchase, since they only need to take a step more. You practically have to drive customers through these stages in order. Digital marketer Ryan Deiss compared it to like a romantic relationship – you can’t ask someone to marry you upon the first day of meeting them.
I’ll mention that in mine and many other marketers’ experiences, you’ll find that targeting your initial marketing towards people who are closer to the bottom of the funnel (‘warm’ audiences) are likely to get you more immediate sales/a higher return on investment than targeting people at the top of the funnel. It’s a given – if you find one person who doesn’t get more money from BOFU than from TOFU, then you’ve found something seriously rare.
In terms of numbers, you’ll see this play out when you do e.g. Facebook advertising and then look at your Return on Ad Spend (ROAS). I hit 3.00 ROAS when I target people who already know me. This is compared to an 0.71 ROAS where I’m losing money by advertising to people who have no idea who I am.
That said, obviously you will need to prospect (find more customers by targeting people who are near the top of the funnel) in order to scale and find new people. You can’t have BOFU customers if you never found TOFU customers in the first place. Ultimately a lot of the money you make from advertising should come from retargeting people near the bottom of the funnel and giving them one final push towards purchasing your product.
The framework above is possibly one of the most important things you’ll ever learn about knowing how to push people closer and closer towards purchasing your stuff.
In a future article, if you like, I can document exactly how to use the 5 step framework in the context of Facebook Ads, so you can see precisely how it plays out in real life. When you combine fundamental principles with available technologies, you’ll be one step closer to making a tonne of money. At the very least, by knowing this concept, you’ll officially know something that every marketer should know.