Every startup is different, but at my agency I’m seeing so many commonalities between the points of creative revelation, inception, research, development launch and success, regardless of industry, that I believe they all deserve a NEW process, designed to command:

  • Attention
  • Awareness
  • Need
  • Interest
  • Value
  • Decision
  • Action

Through establishing and Carrying Out:

  • Goals
  • Targets
  • Budget
  • Digital SWOT Analysis
  • Tactics
  • Execution
  • Measurement
  • Adjustment
  • Repetition

The process, and famous acronym known as AIDA – Awareness, Interest, Desire, Action, has it’s place in history, but with new technologies and the way people discover new information and make purchasing decisions, we need to start adding more components and steps to the mix.

So many more people, in both the B2C and B2B arenas – and remember, B2B is STILL people buying from people, not businesses selling to businesses – are self-educating online and have come such a long way in understanding their needs and options by the time they reach out to you!

So, how do we stand out in a cluttered, chaotic, multi-channel, always-on, always-changing marketing and media environment in which our potential customers know more about what they need than we do?

Before we can gain awareness, we need to get attention:


What’s the last thing that got your attention? Something someone told you? A cool video? An article? A news story? That’s where it all starts. How do we get ATTENTION directed at your startup’s launch?

My advice? Even if you’re the most conservative brand, business or startup on the planet. Go big or go home. Do something attention-grabbing, memorable, engaging and sharable.

That doesn’t mean it has to be out of line with your brand values or guidelines, but there are ways to be VERY FUNNY, VERY SHOCKING, VERY WTF and at the same time, VERY SMART.

Is it a video, a stunt, a crazy influencer, a media play… we don’t know yet!

But this garners attention and leads to awareness.


Now that we have their attention, how do we work in your startup story? They may be aware that there was this video, or a new event, or product or service out there that does this or that, but what is it? What’s it called? What are the details?


Now that we have their attention and awareness, are they interested – FOR THIER NEEDS. They may love your latest Instagram but does what you do fit their needs? If not. does it fit the needs of someone they know and may share with? If not, there’s something wrong.

This comes down to a combination of having established the correct goals and targets along with the appropriate creative tactics and execution to both hit the right people and interest them enough to look further, either self-educate – in which case you have to provide valuable online information and CTAs – or contact your company to see if there is VALUE.


By value, I mean specifically how does your product or service benefit the people we’re reaching? What are you offering that your competition isn’t, and at what price point to make theirw investment worthwhile?

They’ve already done their homework.

We have their attention, awareness and interest – now how do we show them the value. How do we show them we are uniquely and/or best qualified to help them with whatever it is they need, at a price they are happy to pay, and how do we move them towards a decision?


This is the hardest part, I think.

Being a rather picky shopper myself, I tend to be very prone to comparing options, pricing and my specific needs before making a decision, and I don’t prefer to be rushed, until I’m ready – and then I’ll seal the deal and rush the company I’m engaging like crazy!

You could factor DESIRE into this one, as in the AIDA model, but with the ability to look at everything online first and “mull things over,” I think even buying one candy bar over another – taste vs calories and other health benefits, much less one car over another – cool factor vs backup video cameras and other safety features, has become more of a decision than a desire.


This is the final phase – the ACTION in CTA / Calls to Action. Without this, everything is wasted. This is the part we’ve planned for, where the buyer has gone from having their attention won, to being aware of your startup’s products or services to being interested, to seeing value, to contacting you in one way or another and deciding they like you.

They take action – they make a purchase, a download, or maybe just a simple share on social media that eventually finds its way to a proper target.

These are achieved by the following process:


You HAVE to establish goals. This becomes the X on the pirate map, the place to dig for gold at the end of the road trip. Where do you want to be in one year that you aren’t now? Where do you want to be in 5 years that you aren’t in one year?

These can vary from hard goals like monetary projections, to soft goals like X amount of a certain market share.


Who are we going after? Nobody can sell to everybody. You have to know your audience. Call them “targets,” “buyer personas,” “ideal consumers,” – it doesn’t matter.

These are the people you’re selling to, and we’d better know them very well, including what they need, why they need it, what they consider to be valuable, what they are willing to pay and how they like, or can best be reached!

In the old days, a salesperson showed up at your door and tried to assess your need for a vacuum cleaner. They weren’t sure who you were, if you were in the market for one, or if you even had carpets.

They knocked on the door, spilled some stuff on your floor, took some abuse, sucked it up, did a quick tap dance and tried to sell you one.

Maybe you were in the middle of dinner.

Maybe you hated them.

Maybe some of them were killed this way.

Maybe some of them made sales based on their charm.

Thanks to the online internets, now people just Google “vacuum cleaner” along with some other fun words like “best,” “most useful,” “cheapest.” or “reviews.”

They read this information, they ask friends and they CHATTER ON SOCIAL MEDIA.

CONVERSELY – We have the ability to know who they are, what they’re looking for and when. We don’t have to go door-to-door to everyone, anymore.


This is the part none of like to consider, but before we can move on to tactics, we ave to know the resources we’re working with.

Some top influencers alone command upwards of $200k per video/Facebook/Instagram burst.

That’s the brand world but it gives you a sobering reference point for success, especially if your startup is challenging a well entrenched, well-funded brand.

In that case, we get more targeted, selective and value-driven as far as who we approach in the influencer space.

Online video / video ad creative and production can run between 20k and 100k per video in brand land. For smaller social media videos and video content it can be much lower.

In this case, even in startup land, video costs are going to depend on, and be dictated by, the creative. They may be more and they may be less, depending again, upon goals and budget.

Outsourcing PR/media outreach an social media management can range from 5k – over 20k per month depending on the amount of content being generated, the level of audience engagement and the number of hours being invested in sharing, connecting and making engagements and CTAs happen.

These are just examples, and every agency, production company and influencer has different pricing structures and they are ALL negotiable, depending on both the strength of your startups’s product or services, your internal organization structure and a number of other considerations.


A commonly overlooked factor in the startup inception, creation and marketing phases is the digital marketing SWOT, or Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats analysis.

Likely, if you’ve put together and/or pitched a business plan, you’ve done at least a cursory SWOT analysis, but have you looked at what’s online?

Have you done a proper evaluation of the direct and indirect competition that’s out there, in all countries, at all angles?

A digital SWOT involves where you’re strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats lay online, at the granular level.

Strengths / What are we offering that is so strong that it can crush the competition via a simple social narrative?

Weaknesses / Who has more followers, more conversation, more online conversions and why?

Where are we lacking online and is there even a social media presence to begin with?

Opportunities / LISTENING: Where are the opportunities to jump in and grab attention (the start of everything)

Threats / Which current competitors or launching startups threaten our business?

Go into detail. Don’t hold back and be honest with yourselves.


So, how do we reach them? This is the fun part – tactical. There are so many great options, and this is why knowing your audience / buyer persona via a well-researched and thought out overall digital marketing strategy is so important, so you can minimize marketing budget waste and maximize conversions.

Tactics can include any or ALL of:

  • Online video production and video marketing to sow what you’re all about via online or conventional ads, social videos, explainers, tutorials, branded entertainment, video series…
  • PR / Media outreach to get press mentions in top tier and niche blogs and publications
  • Influencer engagement – paid and organic – outreach to engage their fan bases
  • Social media management / engagement on a daily and even hourly basis to connect directly with your audience
  • Paid media across one or multiple platforms – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest, SnapChat, Emerging – to reach new audiences and attract new attention, awareness and click-throughs.
  • Content marketing including blogging, videos, memes, graphics, information, education, re-targeting
  • Email marketing
  • Search / SEO

What makes it all so tactical is how everything works together to hit your target audience and achieve your goals within your budget.


OK, I lied. Execution is actually the funnest part. This is where we launch everything. This is where PR pitches go out, press releases go live, videos are released, the social media frenzy begins, we see how influencers are performing and amplify EVERYONE’S efforts via the startup’s own social media channels, build an audience and push towards CTAs.


After a certain period of time, determined by the overall digital marketing strategy, we begin to measure success on a variety of levels, with the bottom line typically always pointing to sales.

For example:

  • Engagement
  • Sharing
  • Visits
  • Click Throughs
  • Downloads
  • Purchases


Adjust on the fly. This is where we look at goals, targets, tactics and execution, look at the metrics and determine which measurables require adjusted tactics, if any.


Based on metrics and looking at the initial goals vs outcomes, let’s repeat what’s working and lose whatever’s not working, make sense?

We’ve grabbed their attention and taken them to the point of action / sales, we’ve adjusted to account for those targets we missed, now let’s keep moving and repeat our newly-invented recipe for success.


Grab that attention by ANY MEANS. Don’t be shy. Don’t hold back. It’s a tough, competitive world out there and he, she or it with the most eyeballs, and clicks, and money wins.

This article was originally published on The Supercool Creative Blog.