The 5 Levels of Customer Awareness


As a business owner, what’s the most important question to ask yourself when selling to potential customers?

You might reply with, “What am I really selling?” or “Who is my customer?” or “Who am I selling to?” And of course, these are perfectly legitimate questions.

However, there is one key question to ask before approaching a potential customer or formulating any marketing campaign. The question is:

“What does your potential customer already know?”

In other words:

  • What does the potential customer know about your product/service/company?
  • How much does the potential customer really know about the problems your product or service solves?
  • And what do they know about other solutions that exist and are available from your competitors?

In answering these questions; having some knowledge about something called the “levels of customer awareness” becomes crucial because it then informs how we approach potential customers and how we market to them

This graphic helps explain:

Level 1 – Unaware

  • This is the level at which your potential customer doesn’t even know they have a problem. They simply don’t know that a better way exists, and they will certainly have no knowledge about your company or the product or service you offer.

Level 2 – Problem Aware

  • Problem aware prospects know they have a problem, and have some idea of what that problem is. But they may not completely understand the problem and will certainly not be familiar with possible solutions.

Level 3 – Solution Aware

  • Solution aware prospects know the results they want and know that solutions like yours exist. However, they may not have heard of you or your company and they won’t know about your specific product or service.

Level 4 – Product Aware

  • These prospects know about you and know about your product or service. They’re also familiar with your competitors’ offerings. They’re just not sure if your solution is best for them.

Level 5 – Most Aware

  • These are your best customers – they are aware of the problem and the solution that you have available. They are ready to buy and will often become your most loyal customers who refer friends and colleagues.

These five levels form a continuum that breaks up your prospect base into five distinct segments.

Prospects at different awareness levels have different needs and desires. In general, the less aware a prospect is:

  • The more education they require before you can “sell” to them
  • The less open they will be to a sales pitch
  • The more indirect you must be in talking to them about your product or service

Thus, knowing the customer awareness levels can be a handy tool for determining what type of marketing or promotion will work best for different segments of your target audience. All you have to do is determine which awareness levels your audience falls into.

Take-away points

  • Determine your prospects ‘Awareness Levels’ – do this by asking questions:

  • Ask about the problem your product or service solves:

    1. How well known is the issue or problem?
    2. How likely are your prospects to realize they have this issue or problem?
    3. Besides ours, what other solutions are available
  • Ask questions about your company:

    1. How well known are we?
    2. What is our reputation?
    3. How do prospects view our product or service?
  • Ask questions about your solution:

    1. How good is the solution we offer?
    2. How does it compare with our competitors?
    3. Is it the best option for our prospects?

Drilling down and answering these questions honestly, will strengthen your understanding of your prospects’ overall awareness level.

Once you’ve determined what your potential customers already know about their problem and your solution, it makes it much easier to figure out what you need to say to them to take them along the awareness continuum towards a solution for them and a sale