Awareness Ladder

Tool for sending the right message to the right audience

Alexander Sergeev avatar
Written by Alexander Sergeev
Updated over a week ago

Awareness Ladder in marketing and product management is a strategic tool that provides you with a clear understanding of where your target audience is in the buying process. It also helps to understand what questions and problems they have. 

The model includes 5 steps. Each step describes a different level of persona's understanding and awareness.

Awareness level is not a new concept in marketing and product management. Eugene Schwartz more than 50 years ago in his work "Breakthrough Advertising" described the levels of awareness that your potential consumers might find themselves.

How does it work?

The Awareness Ladder model can be applied to any business and any industry. 

  • If your product or service is already known widely, it is likely the majority of your customers is placed somewhere around 4 and 5 steps. It means that they are rather aware of your brand. 

  • If you are a new business, providing a new product or service, so your potential audience is likely placed somewhere towards the lower steps. 

The main objective for you is to understand where your target audience is and then to market to their current level of awareness.

For each level of a person's awareness, describe how you will attract this segment, what content will be given and how to send a persona to the next step. Also, specify metrics to track the effectiveness of each step.

So, let's consider every step.

Step 1. No problem. A persona does not define the problem.

This is the very bottom of the ladder. Actually, how do you intend to market to people who don't need your product? Seems like this is the hardest level. 

Every customer you have ever had has been at this level at one time. This is the step where personas live before they even realize they have a problem. These people do not even have a need and they are not even looking for anything yet, but we already know about them. 

The main idea here is to convince personas that they have a problem. The only way to do it is present it to them. How to do it? there are different ways. One of them is advertising on social media where your target audience maybe already be spending their time.

Step 2. Aware of the problem but unaware solutions

This step of Awareness Ladder is focussed on problems and where your product/ service becomes crucial. 

Think of your personas' problems and try to represent them. The idea is to lift them up the ladder. Up to the awareness that solutions to their problem do exist.

Step 3. Aware solutions exist but unaware of your solution 

On this stage, personas are already convinced they have a problem and they are now looking for particular solutions. Your efforts should be focussed purely on the solutions that you provide to their specific problem.

Step 4. Aware of your solution but not of the potential benefits

Now personas are aware of your particular solution. Your job is to convince them of the benefits of your product or service. It's time to demonstrate all the features that clearly states that your product or service can solve their problem.

Step 5. Aware of the benefits but not yet convinced

There are hesitations. Once personas understand the benefits of your product/ service, your objective is to show them how it will change their lives and what life will look like with the new solution.

You'll make people move up the ladder if you find in the answers to the following questions:

  • What is their current level of personas awareness?

  • What are they looking for?

  • What are they open to at this point?

  • What will attract their attention?

  • What next step can you propose them?

  • What do you need to convince them of for the next step?

How can it be implemented with

Kanban boards in Hygger allow you to create step-by-step awareness ladder, starting with the first stage when a problem is not defined:

Then you can create steps 2 and 3 of the ladder:

Finally, you can build step 4 with your product solution and step 5: 

What next?

After the step 5, your potential customer is convinced and ready to purchase.

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