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Marketing Meditations: Stages of Awareness

This is a choose your own adventure newsletter.


Enjoy (from shortest to longest)

  1. Something to think about
  2. A “how-to” resource
  3. A marketing topic deep dive.

You choose how much you want to read. Along the way, I’ll do my best to translate any “marketing speak.”

Something to Think About


From his book Pitch Anything, Oren Klaff makes the case that Watson and Crick presented their findings on the double-helix structure of DNA, the “building blocks of life” in a presentation that takes five minutes to read aloud. This won them the Nobel Prize.

“Introducing the secret of life, explaining it in detail, and showing how it works.”

Is what you’re pitching more important, more complex, or more difficult than that? Are you taking too long to present it? 

One "How To" Resource


One of my favorite follows for his digital marketing breakdowns is Jared Richards at Grizzly Digital Media. He’s constantly sharing exactly how he gets BIG marketing gains for his clients. 

Another GREAT follow!

Invisible or Fly?

A Marketing Deep Dive

Would you rather fly or be invisible?

Did you ever play that game as a kid?

Startups often play it without realizing it.

Here’s the deal.

It’s not really a choice. 

By default, new companies ARE invisible.

Nobody knows who they are, what they do, or why they should care.

What’s the opposite of invisible? Awareness.

Awareness is almost always the key marketing problem for startups. 

And it’s not like EVERYBODY needs to be aware of them.

Just the target customer.

In fact lots of models and plenty of marketing jargon is focused on how we describe a customer’s journey as they become aware.

Each stage of the journey means the company is getting a little less invisible.

Invisible or Fly2

Using a model of awareness helps identify where prospects are, which ones are the most valuable, and who is most likely to buy.

In the 1961 Robert J. Lavidge and Gary A. Steiner published an article titled A Model for Predictive Measurements of Advertising Effectiveness in the Journal of Marketing. The model went on to be called the Lavidge-Steiner Hierarchy of Effects Model, an academic paper showing six stages a buyer moves through from naive to purchase.

In 1966, Eugene Schwartz published Five Stages of Market Sophistication in his book, Breakthrough Advertising, building on and refining the work pioneered by Lavidge and Steiner. These have come to be known as the Five Stages of Awareness

They are:

  1. Unaware
  2. Problem Aware
  3. Solution Aware
  4. Product Aware
  5. Most Aware

Here’s a PDF cheat sheet on stages of awareness.

And even as the modern marketing conversation has shifted to include the “Dark Funnel,” which is decidedly better branding than the jargony and academic “Stages of Awareness” we’re talking about the same thing.

Buyers cannot buy if they don’t know you exist.

Getting them from naive to aware is the first hurdle.

After that, educating them on the extent of the problem, the best way to solve it, and positioning your solution as the best choice are all much easier.

Faced with the choice of invisibility or flying… you should always want to fly.

The first step down that road for a startup is to learn NOT to be invisible.

Until next time… namaste.

Chad Jardine, CEO


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AI notice: This newsletter is human-written. Images however may be AI-generated.

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