Customer Awareness: What it is, Stages & Examples

Let’s start with the obvious. Not all people are ready to buy. We buy because we have a need that we want to solve, but on many occasions, we may not be aware that we have a problem. Customer Awareness is the first step in the Customer Journey and it needs to be paid special attention if you want to be successful in your strategies to propel business growth.

If you are in marketing, ask yourself: what’s the point of showing ads to people who don’t even know what they need? And if you are in sales, ponder why would you show a product/service update to somebody who still doesn’t know they need your product or even what it is for. 

The key is to understand the customer’s purchasing process and their different levels of awareness. And for this, it is essential to define your buyer persona with maximum detail and precision.

The latter is exactly what you are going to read and learn in this article, so if you want your campaigns and sales strategies to be profitable, pay attention.

What is Customer Awareness?

Customer Awareness refers to the degree your potential customer is aware of their problems, pain points, possible solutions, your product, and how you can solve their problems.

Put simply, If the customer doesn’t know they have a problem, they won’t buy your product.

Surely you have heard that one of the keys to selling is to send the right message, to the right person and at the right time. And it makes all the sense in the world.

To do this, the first step is to ask yourself a question. Does your potential customer really know that they have a problem? Are they aware?

A person can go through different steps until they are ready to buy. These phases are directly related to the sales/marketing conversion funnel of a company.

For example, when you start looking for information about different gyms, it is because you have a problem to solve. We don’t go to the gym for pure pleasure. Normally there is a reason behind it.

Whether it’s because you want to lose weight, get in shape, feel better about yourself, prepare for a competition, etc. There is always a reason behind a purchase.

Read about the consumer decision journey.

Overview of The 5 stages of customer awareness

  1. Completely Unaware: A person who doesn’t know they have a problem and therefore doesn’t know you or your solution.
  2. Problem Aware: A person who knows they have a problem, but doesn’t know there are solutions to that problem.
  3. Aware of the solution: The person who is aware of the problem knows that there are solutions but has not yet opted for one and also does not know your product.
  4. Product Aware: A person who already knows about your product but isn’t totally sure it will solve their problems. You have to work on objections.
  5. Fully aware: Finally, the person who knows a lot of information about your product is already about to buy but needs one last push.

We will go into detail in each of these stages so that you know what type of strategy your company has to implement, depending on the level of awareness of your customers.

Bottom line is that the more aware a customer is of their problem, the more direct you can be in your marketing/selling approaches.

Why it is so important to know the 5 stages of customer awareness?

You have to understand one thing. Not all people are equally prepared to make a purchase.

Some people may already be thinking about purchasing, but the vast majority are looking for solutions to their problems. They may not even know they have it yet.

That is, to transform cold traffic (a stranger), into warm traffic (they already know you) and into hot traffic (they know your solution).

For this reason, talking to all people with the same message is a big mistake. It must be adapted to the different levels of awareness your customers have. Adapting your strategy to each of the stages is one of the keys to making your business profitable.

Another thing you have to understand is that people don’t buy products, they buy solutions.

When I buy myself a coffee in the morning before going to work, it is not for pure pleasure.

It’s so that I don’t get sleepy, be alert and with it, be more productive.

Therefore, the first question you will have to constantly ask yourself is, what problem does your product solve?

The 5 stages of customer awareness 

Knowing the level of awareness of a customer is very important before launching a marketing campaign. Segmentation plays an important role in showing the right message to a potential customer. You have to be clear about what kind of people you are going to impact with your ads.

More than making an effort to sell, you should focus on getting to know you and understanding how your products or services can help them solve their problems.

Understanding the different levels of awareness that potential customer goes through until they buy will help you achieve the goals you have set for yourself. Focus on the following points:

  • Listen to your potential customers. Answer questions like What do you want? What are they afraid of? What are they wondering?
  • Be clear in your messages. You must go to the point, and be direct and concise. Don’t make them think too much.
  • Put your focus on the desire to buy, not the desire to sell.
  • Focus your efforts on highlighting the benefits of your product or service.
  • Make them feel that what you are selling is the best solution to their problems and will improve their well-being.

Now let’s dive in into each of the 5 stages of awareness of a potential client.

1. Unaware

Does your customer really know they have a problem? How is a customer going to buy from you who doesn’t even know that they have a problem?

At this stage the potential client has absolutely no knowledge of anything:

They don’t know they have a problem.

They don’t know you or your products/services.

And therefore, they are not aware at all that there is a solution to their problems.

They may even think that everything in their life or business is working fine.

This type of audience/cold traffic are the most difficult to convert, but it is where the money is because it is a large market. 

The key is to know how to reach this segment. If you notice, many ads start with a question focused on the main pain point of their target audience. Fear is one of the most powerful human emotions, so one option is to highlight the problem that this segment has.

Another way is to use social proof or statistical data to make people see there are many in that same situation and think:

“If so many people are in this situation, perhaps I should also seek more information about this”

Another way is to tell stories employing a narrative related to the main problem of your target audience so they can feel connected and evoke powerful emotions and insights. 

2. Aware of the problem

At this stage, the potential customer already knows that they have a problem, but does not know that there is a solution.

Their head has finally clicked. They recognize there is a need, but still don’t know of any product or service that can cover it.

The key to selling to this segment is letting them know that you too have been through it and know how they feel. For this, it is essential to go deeper into the pain points of your ideal client. At this stage, empathy plays an essential role.

Let’s think it through. What is the first thing you do when you have a problem? Find information, right? And where do you look for it? Most people will likely answer Google.

You could create educational content that solves those problems in order to build trust in your brand, for instance. 

3. Aware of the solution

At this level of awareness, the potential customer already knows what their problems are, they know there are solutions, but they don’t know your the absolute solution.

When a person knows that they have a problem, they need to solve it. For this reason, a research process begins to find out what is the product that can solve them better.

The fact that they are aware that they have an unmet need makes the temperature rise and the potential customer is closer to buying. 

If they’ve come along the journey with you, there’s most likely a deeper level of trust in your brand. Now that you’ve got their ear, you want to:

  • Demonstrate your potential buyer how their problem is solved with your product or service
  • Make your product shine when it comes to the competition

At this point, you’re showcasing your product/service and giving them reasons to choose yours, first and foremost.

Here are some types of content that could work well: 

  • Social evidence
  • Affirmations
  • Study cases
  • Testimonials

Imagine a person who is somewhat overweight and wants to lose 5 pounds. You know that there are many solutions, such as different diets, gym, running, abdominal vibration machines, etc. The problem is that they have so many solutions that they don’t know which one is best for them.

Your mission is to help them understand why your company’s offerings are better than the competition. Remember, we need to evoke to their emotions to really speak to their needs.

If you like reading about customer awareness you might find it interesting to learn how customers measure your brand.

4. Aware of the product

We already have a potential client about to take out the credit card and buy from us, but they need a push. Right now they are in a comparison process and therefore it’s time to demonstrate your business has the best solution.

In other words, you have to convince them, more than ever,  that your product better meets their needs compared to the rest.

To this end, you will have to create product-centric content and highlight the specific features or benefits that differentiate your product from the competition. The types of content you can use at this level of awareness are:

  • Free content.
  • Product Reviews.
  • Unboxing.
  • Product comparisons
  • Demos
  • Product walkthroughs.
  • How-to guides

Completing the customer growth journey is imperative, so you have to continue to build trust to educate your audience. Making your content valuable and engaging is something to keep in mind. 

Try the brand awareness survey template (CTA)

5. Most aware

Congratulations! You have taken your potential client from not even knowing they had a problem to the brink of becoming an actual customer.

At this stage they already know who you are, have information about your product, they are about to purchase but they need that last nudge to pull out the credit card.

Now, do not intoxicate them with content, because they already know and do not need more information.

They have already seen your sales page, they have even hit the buy button, but they have not finished the process.

The type of content they need is:

  • Guarantees to reduce objections.
  • Bonuses
  • Free shipping
  • Bundled offers
  • Discounts

Sometimes giving your audience a direct incentive to buy can be the best content.

Conclusion

Let’s do a quick walk-through of what we’ve learned:

  • To carry out any marketing strategy, you need to know the 5 levels of awareness of a potential client. Each of them corresponds to each of the 5 phases that make up a purchase process. 
  • The levels of awareness are the degrees of knowledge that a client has about their problems and the possible solutions that exist in the market. 
  • There will be people who do not know you and others who do, but all of them need to know more about you so that they trust you. 
  • Depending on the level of awareness that each client has, you will have to create the content that you are going to direct to them. 
  • Only by understanding the prospect’s behavior and level of awareness in each purchase phase will you be able to sell successfully.

Measure customer awareness with QuestionPro CX

At QuestionPro, we offer a lot of custom survey solutions to meet your needs. Before you begin creating surveys, you will need to keep in mind the following aspects:

  • Who is our target audience?
  • What products will be featured in the survey?
  • How will we use the data collected to increase customer awareness?
  • What questions will increase survey participation?
  • Do we need to offer an incentive for increased participation?

One of the best ways to know if your potential customer is aware of your product and your offerings is simply by asking them. QuestionPro CX is a customer experience management platform that can help you gain better insights of your customers. 

From creating the survey to closing the loop, keep a 360º tracking of your customer journey’s touchpoints. 

QuestionPro offers some of the most advanced customer experience tools available. Gain valuable insights into customers’ thoughts and feelings using QuestionPro CX today.