Monthly Archives: November 2012

In Defense of AIDA (and other 1@1 concepts…)

— a modern e-tailer’s takeaways from early 20ieth century hardselling theory

Undoubtedly there are things that get better the more often you cook them up: e.g. sour kraut, bean stew or chili con carne. And then there are those whose state tremendeously degrades away from “desireable” with every re-heating, but that nonetheless are getting boiled-up over and over again. Deep-frozen pizza and marketing-paradigms obviously belong to the latter.

Salesology in the early 1900s

It was no sooner than in 1898 when one of the early experts of American sales theory, Elias St. Elmo Lewis, came up with the concept, that described the structure of a typical selling process as it may be encountered by a typical salesman of its time:

which needed to be grabbed, in order to spark the customers’
for which it was the salesman’s job to turn it into
for the customer to buy the product, and thus taking the necessary
to complete the deal.


This is the way A.I.D.A. has been taught ever since. Over the years, however, many people forwarded and developed the idea without any regard of its original intention: Some praised it as instructional guide, which it isn’t as it only shows the stages of a sale, rather than any advice on how to reach them. Others thought it to provide a universal structure for largely any kind marketing/sales process, which it cannot deliver as well, since it has been constructed for a mainly direct-selling audience with their particular requirements in mind.

So shouldn’t we finally put this thing to rest in our history books as a 19th/20ieth century legacy item? Hm. Not so fast…

It wasn’t until the advent of the internet and e-commerce, that for many industries the ability to deliver perfect direct-buying experiences has become essential to both their survival and everyday business. This comes to matter even more, since most online-experts and first-class web citizens like programmers, designers and writers have never encountered any type of selling education. Many of them are now trying to make up for it in rather expensive ways (notice the boom in web analysis and multivariate testing within recent years…!?), and a lot of people nowadays become ”experts“ on the run at challenges that had actually been believed to be solved for an entire century now.

Among the most impressive tools for modern-style product show-offs (probably beside video keynotes shot in front of large audiences… ;-)) is the pitchpage.

A forever-long/high-running webpage, that concentrates solely on selling a single product or service by deploying the entire arsenal of modern online technology, including (but in no way limited to) detailed imagery and packshots, video presentations, animated visuals, interactive 360°/panoramic images, customer credentials, along with fact sheet and demonstration downloads.

Crafting a working pitchpage is an art, which (as of now) only few have really mastered.

Different from other kinds os online presentation, pitchpages provide the necessary linearity required for a show to successfully build up suspense and momentum — which is hard to achieve otherwise and has for long been missing from non-linear interactive media.

Keeping that in mind, skilled authors finally have the means to make use of proven rhetoric concepts for their online promotions and sales. Just as they have aleady got used to offline e.g. by deploying the Heath brothers’ SUCCES(S) framework, Zig Ziglars long-running/going hardselling encounters or Cialdini’s ”50 Scientifically Proven Ways“ to get to ”Yes!“.