The idea of AIDA was immortalized by E. St. Elmo Lewis sometime in 1898. It first drew the world’s attention to the four fundamental mind-states that most buyers experience as they travel down marketing’s most sacrosanct path, progressively switching status from WHO? to WHOA! If everything goes according to plan. AIDA, of course, stands for Attention, Interest, Desire, Action.

Organizations and marketers have always followed some version of the AIDA funnel – certainly in spirit if not letter. The only trouble is, their customers have not. Because buyers simply follow one thing: Their heart. Their motivations.

You would argue that every marketer knows that. That the AIDA funnel is, implicitly, based on that very thing. It’s 2020.


The lens of motivation – and incentives that give it form and shape the legacy of AIDA. How can we arrest the goldfish ATTENTION (A) span in a sea of distraction for a second longer? Is it possible to INTEREST (I) potential customers with something that resonates with them at a deeper level? What will it take to evoke DESIRE (D) that’s irresistible? Finally, is there a clever-er way to stir ACTION (A). Let’s find out with a motivation-first reboot.


Let’s begin where we can assume that the market (potential customers) isn’t aware of you. This is a stage where searchers are trawling the universe with a rather wide torchlight. Sometimes, they are generally exploring and not even aware of a need. It can be made fruitful by being present where potential customers are with a helpful attitude and useful information. Let’s look at five ways to achieve this.

ONE: Conduct a poll or survey with customer databases and on open platforms like social media to get a pulse of what customers are going through. You can use various keyword research tools.

TWO: Find the right Subject Matter Experts – and inspire them into producing their finest work (be it TV ads, newspaper campaigns, PR exercises) with the power of incentive.

THREE: You can deliver real value at this stage. Leverage it by inviting them to opt into your weekly or monthly newsletter, or to subscribe to your YouTube channel. Sweeten the deal with a nice reward on-the-spot.

FOUR: Rope in domain leaders and host a webinar. VIPs need to be incentivized – perhaps more than others – because of their influencer stature in society. Offline exhibitions are apt at this, and is an area where incentives can play a big role for you.

FIVE: Set setting S.M.A.R.T (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-based) goals for your Sales, digital marketing (cold mailers), and SEO teams where you can game the funnel to your advantage by incentivizing outreach teams with digital rewards & incentive platform that lets you customize incentives for all the five cases we have covered, so that you can kick-off your buyer journey with a great start.


This is where you have to engineer a mindset change, demonstrate unique features and benefits, clarity, confidence (reviews) and trust (influencer opinions). This is a stage where you may end up creating a need.

So how do you maximize mileage from each of these nuts and bolts? Tap into the power of motivation. It is getting your content teams to amp up engagement by leveraging trending tactics to lay off remarketing gambits, attaching a nifty incentive works wonders with an online reward platform’s wide palette of gifts, benefits and accolades to accurately match your pat-on-the-back to the person and the achievement, and watch their jaws drop.


This is the dramatic part where your potential patron probably already knows what you offer but the OMG! (X) Factor – which can lift their interest to the next level with up-front real benefits that fit in their journey, share case studies and stories that show them exactly how the idea made a difference in someone else’s life by incentivizing your best storytellers to craft desire-first narratives with an online gifting platform equally desirable trove of gifts and experiences.


The Action phase is, not surprisingly, action-packed. Make the best use of tools like reminders via sms, whatsapp and emails, ad retargeting, special SALE activations, conversion optimized websites and landing pages and a well-greased sales process.

As you may have guessed, incentive plays a central role in this concluding phase – be it while devising targets for on-ground and digital teams, planning special ‘ACT NOW’ offers at the strategy table or deploying instant rewards for sales, call-centre and distributor channel rockstars. You can automate it all with a digital gifting platform with a digital catalog of customizable and easily redeemable rewards to crank up the EQ (experience quotient) and keep your brand top of mind.