Swiped from a $279 book

Today, I’m going to start a series for this week talking about some core marketing concepts. While I’ve seen this concept in a few different places, it comes out of one of the most valuable books in the copywriting arsenal…

The book is called Breakthrough Advertising, from Eugene Schwartz. This book was written in 1966 and is no longer in print. The book is damn near a bible to marketers and copywriters. So, couple that with the fact that it is no longer in print, the price has skyrocketed.

Basic economics, I guess. When demand goes up and supply is low, price rockets.

And right now, this book sells for $279 on Amazon. I’ve seen it go for much higher.

But, sitting here on my desk right now is a copy of this exact book. It truly is one of the more valuable books I own, both literally and figuratively.

Now, I could go on for quite some time on various marketing strategies from this book. And perhaps I will share more as time goes on. But, today, I want to start off with what he discusses in Chapter 2:

Your Prospect’s State of Awareness- How To Capitalize On It When You Write Your Headline

In this chapter, he discusses the prospect’s state of awareness. This concept is simple. And while he is discussing it in the context of crafting a headline, the concept extends out to form the “big picture” of the entirety of content marketing.

It applies to all content marketing. It applies to your ads and paid traffic. This is stuff that you need to understand if you’re going to market anything at all.

It is 5 simple stages of awareness:


Let’s reverse these 5 stages and start out with #5. It is where we want everybody to be. It is the goal.

MOST AWARE means they know about you, know what you offer, and they know they want it. In other words, they’re ready to buy it they just haven’t gotten around to it yet.

PRODUCT AWARE is when they are aware of your product, but they simply don’t want it yet. They’re not yet at the point where they are ready to purchase what you’re selling.

SOLUTION AWARE is when the person is very aware of the problem they face and know full well what they need and want to solve it. However, they don’t yet know that your product can solve it for them.

PROBLEM AWARE is when the person is aware of the problem that needs solving (even if only on a general basis), but they don’t know anything exists to solve it. There’s not yet any connection in their mind between that problem and what you offer.

UNAWARE is most of the market, and the most difficult. Here, the person isn’t aware of you. Not only that, they might not even be aware of the need or desire they have. The needs might be really general and they can’t really verbalize it.

Those are the 5 stages. And, I compiled them in my training as something I just call the Customer Awareness Scale.


Now, the big ideas on this are these:

  1. Our job as marketers is to move people from level 1 to level 5. In other words, to move them from unaware to most aware.
  2. People need to be reached and talked to differently depending on where they’re at.

Schwartz talks about this in terms of your ad. He is talking in terms of typical direct response copywriting you might have seen in a magazine, a newspaper, or some other written medium. He talks a lot about headlines as a result, but more in the traditional sense.

Us? We have the internet. And we can reach people in a number of different ways.

The concept is the same, though.

Where I often see people bomb their marketing is when they cross-up the stages. They’ll talk to an unaware person as if they’re most aware. Like, they’ll start talking prices and discounts and deadlines to a person who is barely even aware of the problem being solved. The message totally fails to communicate as a result.

Talking price to a person who doesn’t know or want your product makes no sense. Quite frankly, in the beginning phases (unaware, problem aware)… even talking about your product at all is rather stupid and jumping the gun.

With our blogs and the other content we produce, we need to always create it based on the awareness of the intended recipient.

The content, in other words, serves as the bridge between your market (wherever they may be)… and you and your product.


We’ll continue with this in the next issue.

Because I want to talk more about how to do this in real life. And when to use a blog – and what to do with it depending on where people are at.

– David