Marketers have developed models to help when designing marketing communications and measuring their effectiveness. These models are applicable to any business, including yours. Two of the most prominent of these models are the DAGMAR and AIDA models. Both are based on the notion that there are stages of commitment that customers pass through before they purchase from you (See diagram).
When communicating with target clients, you are hoping that they will purchase from you. These models suggest that you cannot expect potential customers to jump straight to the ‘Action’ stage. Whichever model you prefer, it is clear that it takes time to move through these stages. The length of time is dependent on several characteristics of your offering, including complexity, tangibility and size of purchase. For example, it will typically take longer for customers of service offerings and technical products to reach the action stage than those buying simple tangible products.
DAGMAR The customers that you are aiming at with your marketing communications are somewhere in this process, but not all at the same point. The communication required to move from one step to the next is different depending on the starting point. Different messages and media might be necessary.
At each stage of the process there will be some dropout. You won’t get everyone’s attention, not everyone will comprehend and some will not desire what you are offering. At each successive stage there will be less and less people in the pipeline or funnel. Typical response rates for direct marketing are single digit percentages but that is enough for many campaigns. Being aware of the magnitude of dropout at each stage is helpful in determining how many targets you need to enter your pipeline to keep the number reaching the action stage healthy.
If we give credence to these models (and many do) we can see that it takes time to get customers to the action stage, different communications are appropriate at each stage and we need to consider the dropout at each stage. So, before you design your next marketing communication think about these models and ask yourself:
- Who am I targeting?
- Where are they in the communications process?
- What are the objectives?
- What message and media could achieve these objectives?