Corporate Eye

7 Steps of Advertising Success Drive Word-of-Mouth Marketing

I’ve been talking over the past week about emotional involvement in brands and how that type of connection to a brand can lead to deep customer loyalty.  What comes from customer loyalty aside from repeat purchases?  Typically, loyal customers are also very vocal about the brands they love and generate a great deal of free word-of-mouth advertising for those brands. 

Earlier this week I wrote about the 3 S’s of Customer Loyalty and how to create an emotional involvement to your brand by focusing on those 3 S’s.  Today, I’d like to share my 7 Steps of Advertising Success to show you how your advertising efforts can lead prospective and existing customers down the path to loyalty and word-of-mouth marketing.  In other words, with each tactic executed as part of your overall branding and marketing plans, you’re moving people through the 7 Steps of Advertising Success as follows:

The 7 Steps of Advertising Success

  1. Awareness: Ads or marketing tactics first create awareness of a brand and move people from being unaware of that brand to having knowledge of its existence.
  2. Recognition: Next, customers move from simply being aware of a brand to actually remembering it and associating that brand when they see it somewhere else to a prior experience (such as the original ad).
  3. Interest: Customers begin to get curious about a brand and start to ask questions about it or research it to learn more about it.
  4. Purchase: At this point, customers understand enough about the brand to feel compelled to buy it and give it a try themselves thereby creating their own experience with that brand.
  5. Repurchase: After trying the brand, customers are satisfied with it enough to buy it again.
  6. Loyalty: After multiple purchases, some customers become so satisfied with the brand that they continue to buy it, choosing it over competing brands and going out of their way (if necessary) to find that brand.
  7. Influencer: At this point, customers enter the stage that brand managers covet, where they are so happy with a brand that they feel compelled to talk about it with other people to try to convince them to try it, too.  It’s the ultimate word-of-mouth marketing.

By focusing your advertising and marketing tactics on moving customers through the 7 Steps of Advertising Success, you’ll be investing in the long-term growth of your brand.  In other words, you’ll be investing in the strongest kind of word-of-mouth money that a brand can get – positive testimonials from your most loyal customers.  What more can you ask for?

Note: 7 Steps of Advertising Success originally published in Harry Potter: The Story of a Global Business Phenomenon (Plagrave Macmillan, June 2008).

Image: Flickr

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Susan Gunelius is the author of 10 marketing, social media, branding, copywriting, and technology books, and she is President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She also owns Women on Business, an award-wining blog for business women. She is a featured columnist for and, and her marketing-related articles have appeared on websites such as,,, and more. She has over 20 years of experience in the marketing field having spent the first decade of her career directing marketing programs for some of the largest companies in the world, including divisions of AT&T and HSBC. Today, her clients include large and small companies around the world and household brands like Citigroup, Cox Communications, Intuit, and more. Susan is frequently interviewed about marketing and branding by television, radio, print, and online media organizations, and she speaks about these topics at events around the world. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+.