Where Marketing All Falls Down

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February 21, 2014 by Colin Kelly

You’re either not good enough or you’re doing it wrong.

The result is the same: you get ignored.

The well-worn, tried and tested formula is ‘Awareness, Interest, Desire, Action’.

For many businesses what that means in practice is this:

– A piece of content on your site, that I discover through a Google search or social media.

– I’m interested in this content, so now there’s a box asking me to fill in my email address in order to access more of what I want.

– Now I get an automated email from you with a whole tonne of assumptions about what I really want and various calls to action and promises of what’s in store if I pay.

And it’s at this point you never hear from the majority of people ever again, and any future communication from you will go to spam.

So what went wrong?

You didn’t get to know me.

You assumed because I was interested enough to look at one bit of content, that I’d dive into the email you sent. You assumed I was a little Lemming blindly following stages in a marketing process and that having got me in, you could automate the rest.


We’re human beings, not stages in a marketing process.

The whole ‘AIDA’ model is a useful tool to help your thinking. That’s all. It was never intended to become an automated process, capturing email addresses, churning out spam then converting me into a sale. Here’s what the gurus don’t tell you: ‘AIDA’ existed YEARS before the internet.

You still have to do the hard work. Make me feel special, find out more about what I really want, treat me as an individual.

Just because you’ve got my email address doesn’t mean you have to send an automated, one size fits all email immediately.

Why not follow me on Twitter and RT something I say? What about you ask what I actually thought of the original bit of content I discovered? Or ask me what my plans are for the weekend?

‘AIDA’ isn’t a template for 4 steps YOU take.

It’s 4 signs a potential customer might give off.

How on earth do you know I’m exhibiting ‘Desire’ if you can’t see me?

You assume I’m desiring what you have because I entered my email address in a box.

Let me tell you – there’s a lot more to desire than that.

Think about what happens in the real world.

Every decent high street shop you’ve set foot in uses the ‘AIDA’ model, but it sure doesn’t feel like it at the time.

Think a little more and stop taking short cuts. Make people feel special and get smarter and less lazy.

If you insist on persisting with your automation strategy, try to learn from the leads that don’t convert.

Every time you don’t get a sale from your follow-up email it means YOU DID SOMETHING WRONG. It means you had me, and you lost me.

Try and figure out why.

Often, the answer is because you couldn’t be arsed treating me like an individual.

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